Words that describe the last few months:

whirlwind, awesome, exhausting, non-stop, mile a minute, laughter, travel, holidays, fortunate, finances, love

Lauren and I have been going non-stop since August of 2012.  It dawned on me this morning just how much we have done when I finally got around to changing my age to 26 on our corporate website.  We’re grounded and level and the last few months is a culmination of 27 months of absolute Hell.  We’ve had fun, we’ve laughed, we’ve been able to share our love for one another with a love of travel and a visit to both the west and east coasts for pleasure.  What do I consider a whirlwind?

  • August 21- deck started
  • August 31- trip to Arizona
  • September 13- birthday
  • October 5- Lauren ran Chicago Marathon
  • October 9- trip to Fort Lauderdale
  • November 3- trip to Seattle, Portland and Eugene
  • November 5- remodel started
  • November 20- Thanksgiving in Chicago
  • December 5- trip to New York and Washington D.C.
  • December 21-trip to Ohio for Christmas
  • Today–the remodel is almost done (another week or so)

in the midst of all this we’ve been working full time, using vacation time, juggling our three dogs, I’ve had a huge business deal in the works for Nine13, developing our media path forward as a family, working on legislative efforts behind the scenes for vehicular manslaughter in Indiana and everything else that goes into living a busy life.

Pleasure wasn’t something we had much of from June of 2010-August of 2012 for so many reasons; and while a change in finances doesn’t bring pleasure in itself–the real fortune is being able to experience things we dreamed and discussed to help us get through our darkest days.

When we rolled out the Hanley Family Philanthropic Challenge in August of 2012 it became apparent in both my professional circles and occasionally in our personal circles that select individuals wanted to connect with us only because of  “the story”.  I had several corporate dinners that seemed to be more themed on the inappropriate details of our personal lives compared to the needed discussions of the huge impact we’re making as a non-profit for thousands of Central Indiana youth.

At the same time we heard comments that range from “are you serious?”, to “where in the world did you learn your manners?”; comments based upon our family finances, our media involvement, buying two new cars or gutting our home down to the studs in many spots and remodeling.  Lauren and I have always believed in the rule of “if you have to talk about it, you don’t really have it” and this theme has helped us weed through many things in life.  We developed a new rule in our family in the weeks after our public announcement of a legal settlement, “you get one rude comment about our life if you’re a friend of ours, and if you make another we’re done with any relationship with you”.  We’ve only had to cut ties with a few people fortunately, which further highlights that we had truly good friends to begin with and the last two+ years solidified those relationships.  We don’t make excuses or apologies for our lives because it is what it is.

People seem to forget the behind the scenes of two years of our lives that we had stolen.  Grief, pain, injury, selling my Subaru WRX to cover medical bills, paying thousands of dollars we didn’t have towards medical costs caused by the actions of John Mavris and Jerry Lowery, not being able to travel, cashing in our coin jar to pay a cell phone bill, spending $1,000 a month on medication and doctors, repairing things in the house with duct tape are just a few examples of what we had to do to survive.

We find ourselves multiple times a day standing in our new kitchen, bathroom or bar and looking around asking “is this our house, really?”;  in the corner of our bar, one of the most prominent view points of our house is a reminder of the good and the love and the loss 2.5 years ago that is part of why we’re here today.

miss you JBD

My Aunt Cathy often says “you and Lauren are so rich with love and compassion, something that is priceless and irreplaceable”–and that is the true fortune Lauren and I enjoy every single day.  We’re fortunate to share that wealth of love with our families, our extended families out in Brownsburg and Morgantown and our true friends whom love us for us and have been by our sides in thick and thin.

Life is calming down a bit; the remodel is almost done, I’ve gotten to the point with work where I can disengage usually when not in my office, we’ve got a trip to DC in April for Lauren to run a half-marathon and are currently looking at making plans for a long weekend trip to London to get a little across-the-pond travel.  But for the most part, we’re at our house in the evenings after our workouts and work responsibilities, cooking meals in our awesome kitchen and sitting on our couch relaxing with a fire going and a movie on the television.  We’re really just waiting for the spring to arrive so we can finally throw a party on the new deck!

This isn’t the most politically correct piece of writing (though by no means anywhere close to some of my other pieces), but it’s all sides of the truth–something I always have tried to deliver as we talk about the highs and lows of The Hanley Happenings.

The point? Love is the most valuable commodity ever, and the only one that isn’t for sale.