My Year in Review (2012)

When looking back at the past year there is plenty to be proud of and to build on in the future. It wasn't too long ago that I sat down in front of a computer, jaded by my career in information technology, and began detailing my plan to go back to college for an aviation degree. With only a semester to go, it appears that I will have made that four year degree goal a reality in just three years. This is something that I am very happy to announce considering that, at 27 years old, I sometimes feel a bit too old to be in college. So, it is with great pride that next month I will be applying for graduation with a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Security and an Aviation Administration Minor.

Another source of pride for me, as mentioned in my previous article, was obtaining my private pilot license. This means that next semester I will begin an accelerated program to obtain my commercial license and instrument rating. That also means that I will be moving up from the Cessna 172N model to our 172SP (with G1000 glass cockpit) and 182 models. I hope to hit the ground running with that and be able to take the two written exams in the next month and a half. I've taken a good portion of my winter break studying the material, so I hope it puts me in a good position when I return from my final semester.

Second is the success of my son Joey's speech process. I'm so proud to be the father of such an amazing boy and to see him come so far has been an awesome experience. Just the other day, when I went to go pick him up, he was rambling on about his favorite Xbox game and how he was so much better than me. This might actually be true too, considering his ability to learn and adapt to playing certain games is already far beyond mine. He is doing really well in school, too. He seems to be getting along with all of his classmates and the problems that he was having in the beginning of the year, like talking back and not following instructions, have disappeared for the most part. I cannot wait until he finishes the rest of this year and moves into first grade. He's come such a long way in such a short amount of time, and oh boy, has he grown up so fast!

Lastly and more importantly, with the amazing accomplishments that this year has brought me, it has also brought me tremendous sadness with the loss of my grandfather, Joseph Earl Burlas Jr. In August, I was told that his fight with emphysema was coming to an end and that I needed to be on a plane down to Atlanta to say goodbye that weekend. Saying goodbye to one of your heroes and a person who you have always come to rely on to be there is one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. I was able to take that weekend and see him off and I let him know that I was very proud to carry on the lineage of his name and that I would make him very proud in the future. Two weeks after that weekend he ended up passing away and it is with a tear in my eye I'd like to say thank you, Papa, for the life lessons given to me and more importantly for being the rock our family needed to lean on in times of trouble. I love you dearly and I miss you more than I can articulate.

I am blessed to have such an incredible family, and this year we were able to get together in Hawaii for New Years to spread his ashes just off the Honolulu shore. The ceremony was beautiful, and a lot of what my family got to say about Papa was remarkable and brought closure to a lot of us. I can only hope to raise the next generations of Burlas' to be half as wonderful as those that Papa raised. We will always miss you Grand Sire, and I will always be proud to have been your first grandchild.

Overall, 2012 has been an amazing year for me. Its been a year, like most years, filled with ups and downs but in the end I'm one step closer to where I want to be. This year has tested my skills as a father, a student, a pilot, a family member, and as a person striving to live out his dreams. I want to thank everyone who was involved in helping me and supporting me throw everything that I've done and out with this year. A special thanks to my family, who has been amazing during everything and who's continual support I take with me in whatever I do.

This New Years is a bit different that the other's that I've had in the past. Normally I get together with a select group of friends and we all smoke cigars prior to the new year countdown. As we smoke cigars we recount our last year and whether or not we met the goals we set out to meet in the beginning. We also establish new goals for the upcoming year. However this year, in an effort to be closer with my family and to say my final farewell to my grandfather, I have come out to Hawaii to spend a week with them. Despite it being almost over at this point, it has been an amazing adventure and I love my family more than anything. I also want to mention that Hawaii is gorgeous. I don't know if I could actually live out here but it is a dreamer's vacation spot.

So what's instore for me and the future? Well we all know that life happens while we're busy making over plans, but in an ideal world I would like to think that I'll get a good amount accomplished. I plan on getting my instrument rating and my commercial license by the end of this year and maybe pick up a low paying flight job where I can build hours. I also plan on seeing my son a lot more than I did last year. And lastly, I plan on being the first of my parents for children to graduate with a college degree. We will see how that all turns out the next time I write 1 of these, but until then I hope that everyone enjoys their new year! Play Me off Dropkick Murphys...

"There is an art . . . to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss." - Douglas Adams
My Year in Review (2012) My Year in Review (2012) Reviewed by Joe Burlas on December 31, 2012 Rating: 5

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