Fun: I had a lot of fun last year, even without The J, so this year, I hope to have fun with him, and I hope that, even with the way our economic situation is going to change, I hope that we can still do a wee bit of travel this year. We have our trip in February planned (but no tickets bought yet) for the marathon, and I hope this summer we can both go to ALA, and from Home City see the grandparents again this summer.
Family: I spent more time visiting folks out of town than I have in recent years because I have felt like I’m not very good at staying connected with them, especially since starting my Ph.D. program. I’m hoping to be able to keep doing that. I’d like, as I said above, to be able to visit my grandparents again this summer since they are only a 9 hour drive from Home City, and I hope that next year we are able to get to my mom’s side of the family’s pre Thanksgiving dinner again. And I guess we’ll probably go to Home City again for Christmas since we can drive and take the dogs with us, and maybe we can actually get the parents to come see us. Honestly, I won’t hold my breath on that one. Or maybe we can drive to my parents or something. I don’t know. Christmas is a bit trickier these days. But I’m glad that I’ve made it to NOLA five times in the last 13 months (including the trip in about two days) to see my peoples there because I really miss being "home." I’d like to, as we are able, to keep visiting family and staying connected.
Finances: Well, I did not get as much of our money into savings this year as I had hoped, nor did I get everything paid off as I had hoped while the J was gone, but we were able to get about 8% of last year’s income into savings–actually we probably got about 15% in there, but we had to dip in a couple of times, but our biggest success was that we were able to do what we wanted to do without going into debt over it, so that says something. And we spent a lot of time and money doing what we wanted but still were able to save a decent amount and pay off all but three credit card debts. I still owe my parents $ for the wedding, but at least that is interest free. So at least we are going into the new year in much better shape than last year since all we will have for the J is his guard check and his housing allowance and stipend for the GI bill while he’s in school. Or rather we are going to go as long as we can without him having to get a part time job so he can focus on getting through school. But at least we are in good shape going into our new situation. So the goal for this year is to get the other three credit cards paid off and continue saving money. One thing that will help is that we seriously need to cut back on our eating out. We could, quite literally, save about $300 a month (even the cheap places where we live are still expensive). And we need to think more carefully about what we need vs. what we want. Achieving my fitness and weight goals will help too as I can stop paying for my trainer which will help save some money, too. I love her dearly, but I need to work on getting myself disciplined so that I don’t need to keep paying for her, which is the ultimate goal of all of this having a trainer business. I’ve spent three years already working out with a trainer. It’s time for me to get my shit together and be responsible for myself.
I do have academic/scholarship/teaching goals, too. But I’ll table those for a later date. I still have some thinking to do about that.
Overall, with the ups and downs, it’s been a good year I think, on the whole. There are new people in my life whom I am thankful for; there are people who are no longer in my life, which while it initially saddened me, I have come to realize that they are people who though they seemed to have had my best interest at heart, were truly not good for me at all in the last years of our relationships. And while it’s always sad to see friendships end, even ones that become toxic, I find that life is easier without the stress of maintaining these relationships. There are relationships that I’m still trying to mend and for which I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to mend, but it’s important to me to do so, so I see that as a positive.
I wish you all the best in the new year. I am thankful for you all, for your support, and for listening to my crap all these years. Take care everyone and have a happy new year!!