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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Kowal

A Year in Review

It’s the last day of the year and it is a day of honesty. It’s a day to look back at the year and ask yourself, “Did I accomplish what I said I was going to accomplish?”

In many ways, 2019 was the hardest year I’ve ever experienced, with the exception of 2016, of course but this was different. This wasn’t heartbreaking and soul crushing but we were tested to the very limit in many ways, both personally and professionally. We had difficult decisions to make and demanding and tiresome situations to take care of. We were thrown into unexpected and unforeseen situations and had to learn as we went along many times. At the same time, looking back, I can already see how we have learnt from hard times and mistakes we made.

But most importantly, it all seems very bleak in comparison to the ups we had and the milestones we set.

Luna Kyra Kowal was born on March 6th. To bring a little sister (I say “we” because I did most of the work, don’t let Mishel tell you anything else) to Nico and Liam into the world makes everything else seem so unimportant. She cried for four months straight but hasn’t stopped smiling since. I’m scared that I won’t be able to say no to her when she grows up.

To have a bill introduced to have the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) lowered to 0.05 and to have it introduced as “Liam’s Law” was a huge milestone for the non profit, Liam's Life Foundation. For you not familiar with the story, please click the link above. Even if the Chair of the Public Safety Committee Reggie Jones-Sawyer (feel free to call him and ask what's going on with the bill; +1-916-319-2059) lets the bill AB1713 die, we still have started something huge: We have started a debate and debates lead to education and as we know and can prove why the U.S., like the more than 100 countries that have adopted a 0.05 BAC, we know we are in for a long fight. But we also know that we don’t give up and we will see this through, on a federal level.

Running rim to rim to rim of the Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful, yet hardest things I've ever done in my life. Albeit very different from fighting, it was mentally one of the toughest tests I've ever taken on. The 50 miles (80 km) I was ok with. Even the 22,000 feet elevation was doable. It was the 125 degrees Fahrenheit (52 degrees Celsius) that almost broke us. The experience is something that will be forever shared with the extraordinary group of men that ran with us that day.

One of the biggest accomplishments of 2019 was that we came back. What I mean by that is that we found our passion again. Our passion for our gyms Systems Training Center and even though we knew we were in for a testing year (we even named it “Feast of Famine”!), we were ready to fight for what we love and we truly love our gyms, our staff, our instructors and our members. We are so passionate about it and having the honour of being able to change people’s lives and call that work, that we have had to set cut out times for not being allowed to talk about work, because at times we can sit into the early morning hours, just talking about it.

To be completely honest, up until this year, we have had a lot to do, focusing on ourselves and healing, since losing Liam. So to all of our loyal members, staff and instructors, thank you for sticking with us, it means the world to us. We are very excited about what we are going to offer in 2020 and what we have been working very hard on over the past year to develop!

I also want to take a moment to thank our amazing team behind Liam’s Life Foundation and all of you who volunteered, donated, stopped friends and family from driving drunk and shared the message: Thank you for being part of the fight. Thank you for showing that there are still those who fight for what is right. I wish I could give you all a hug!

So have I accomplished? Yes. Is there more work to do? Always. And as tough of a year as it was, we are still here. Stronger and more determined than ever.

What was your biggest accomplishment and lesson learnt in 2019?

Thank you for the lessons 2019, let’s go 2020!

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