Accessibility (#A11y), Advocacy, Health, Political, Sports

Hello 2017, Goodbye 2016

At midnight, my graduation year honestly couldn’t end quickly enough. If you wanted the top five in my year, you’re in luck because it was mostly good. Here are the top five I will cherish.


  • Coming in at number five, graduating high school. I had twelve years of education and the saying that “these are the best years of your life” was not entirely true for me. My favorite year was my freshman year because I had friends at school. Oftentimes, I felt isolated and not very included with other students. Also, it was complicated to figure out how to make learning accessible for me. But, I did it. I graduated and was ready to move on to my future. I have always loved learning and for the most part loved school. I had so many awesome helpers along the way.
  • Number four is the World Series because of the Chicago Cubs. It was my dad’s childhood team so that made my dad and other people proud. If they had won the previous year, this would have made the Back to the Future II fans happy.
  • As number three, advocacy has never been a bigger part of my life until now. Because Republicans have control of our MN House and Senate, I will be advocating however I can for issues impacting me and other people with disabilities in 2017.
  • Coming in at number two, my family has been amazing supporters of me this past year as I try to figure out what I want to do with my life.  Thanks to my friends for your friendship.  And, to the awesome readers of this blog – thank you for taking the time to read about life as I know it.
  • Lastly, I gave one of the graduation speeches at my high school graduation and nailed it. You can see it on my YouTube channel.

Justin in graduation gown near podium 4 adults standing and applauding

Here are some things I’m looking forward to in 2017:

  • I will be taking my first class, US History to 1877, at Century College this spring.
  • I want to go to more concerts this year. I’m starting off with seeing the Lumineers in January.
  • I want to have more opportunities to get out there and be an advocate for disability rights and inclusion. I loved presenting at Closing the Gap last fall and to elementary students. I’m learning so much at Partners in Policymaking and excited to go meet my legislators and share my ideas!
  • I almost had an uneventful, boring medical year last year after my two rough deep brain stimulation surgery years in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, I only had one broken ankle and one weird cyst that had to be surgically removed from my earlobe. So, 2017 – please for the sake of my parents’ well-being, be an uneventful, boring medical year!

Wishing you all peace and hope in the New Year!

Originally published on January 4, 2017

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