This was a year of great transition

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2003

What a year 2003 has been. I know so many people take this time - this day in particular - to reflect back on the year that was.

At the newspaper, we've done that - taken what we believe to be the top stories of 2003 and compiled them into a four-page special edition that we hope you'll enjoy.

On a personal level, 2003 has been a year of great transition for me.

To begin with, I was named as the editor of the Star-News.

This is a great personal accomplishment, as the Star-News is my hometown newspaper. It's a paper I grew up reading from cover to cover with my grandfather sitting on the couch in his living room.

To be 27-years-old (at the time), and named editor of a daily newspaper is quite an accomplishment - regardless of where it is.

The year also saw me truly make that final break from my parents. I bought a house.

Quite an undertaking for anyone single and under the age of 30.

The excitement that goes along with having a house of my own was unexpected.

I've been a big fan of the home improvement shows, so buying a house that needed some new paint and some updates was the challenge I was looking for.

Little did I know just how much work would be involved with all of that.

It's been fun though. Deciding what color to paint this room Š keeping the carpet Š knocking a wall down.

It can be a little hairy at times too. Actually, a little overwhelming.

This year I also saw my life take an unexpected twist when several of my friends were shipped off to war in Iraq.

I was a freshman in high school the first time around. This time, I actually knew some of the soldiers Š many of them were my age or younger.

I made it a point to support the soldiers publicly, whether I agreed with the war or not. I also made sure people knew that these men and women needed our support.

As the summer rolled around, I looked forward to the prospect of taking a vacation.

That didn't happen, but I did take a long weekend and head to Six Flags in New Orleans.

That was a lot of fun Š but it was really, really hot.

I think they use the term, "It's the humidity, not the heat."

Yeah, whatever.

The summer could also be described as a time when taxes took center stage.

Governor Bob Riley developed a plan for tax reform that he believed would solve a lot of the problems in education funding and other state agencies.

I supported the plan - despite the fact it would raise my taxes. I also remember what it was like in school during the winter months when we didn't run the heater because it was expensive. Instead, we bundled up in blankets in my English class and continued with our work.

The tax plan failed, but life goes on.

As the fall approached, my nephew started kindergarten. It was a big deal not just for his parents, but for me as well.

I can't imagine what it will be like when my niece starts school in two years.

Although the year is now coming to a close, I look forward to 2004.

It should be a great year. It's a new beginning on new things.

At least that's my belief. I'm going to stay optimistic and work hard to make it a good year.