This year has been one of significant change.

A big positive change I’ve experienced, but haven’t talked—or blogged—about is my new relationship.

Lisa, my partner, is an impressive woman who has made her way in life with strength and conviction. Her life has had challenges and events that have shaped her, and those events could easily have destroyed her if not for her own strength of character. Through it all, Lisa has navigated a path that has ensured she is a bright, happy and joyful person. She is raising two kids and both of them are absolute delights. They are a credit to her as a mother.

In episode 101 of Hemispheric Views I talk about how I’ve become a beach guy. For whatever reason, I didn’t explain how or why I’ve become a beach guy.

I’m into going to the beach now because Lisa introduced me to it. It was her that taught me the 20 minute splash. It’s her smarts that brought forth the “get in, swim, get out, wash feet” process. I should have given Lisa credit in that episode, but I didn’t. When I’m with Lisa, there’s another bonus that may occur, and that’s a coffee after the swim. Even my coffee order has been changed by Lisa. My flat white is now made with almond milk. My guts thank me, and I in turn thank Lisa for pulling me out of my coffee ordering comfort zone, even though it caused stomach discomfort.

My comfort zone. That’s where I feel safe and tend to return all too often. I am naturally risk and conflict averse. Lisa has a way of extracting me from that zone, and challenging me to grow and change. When I leave my comfort zone I’m a better person. Lisa makes me a better person through her encouragement and support.

Yet it’s my comfort zone that has prevented me from coming out and saying these things. From speaking openly about now being in a new and special relationship. It was my fear of judgment from others, of having to explain and answer questions, that has prevented me from being upfront about the fact that I am in a positive and wonderful relationship, and that it makes me feel happy and valued.

Lisa’s presence in my life makes me a better person. She makes my life better. This past year has been a doozy in so many ways, but upon reflection, I am not sure where I’d be if I hadn’t benefited from the steadfast care, attention, and honest love that Lisa has bestowed upon me.

There’s been enough of me prevaricating about how to express my relationship situation. It is thus. I am in a relationship. I am in love. I love Lisa.

I’m excited to head into 2024 with this clarity of thought. I’m excited to share the news with whomever might read my blog.

I’m a beach guy, and I am that because Lisa made it so.

I’m a better person, because Lisa inspires me to be my best self.

I love Lisa.