Try, Try Again

Wow, I knew I hadn’t blogged in a long time, but I didn’t realize it has been just about a year! How can that be? Apparently my last post was my resolutions for 2016, so it’s kind of interesting to see how those worked out, a year later.

My diet and weight have fluctuated. I actually got below 120 for like 5 minutes, and have been hovering around 124 recently. I’m not hating that. I all but stopped running; I was having some nagging hip/glute issues, and then I got a little elective surgery in June, so I was out of commission for a few months afterwards. I’ve been working with a trainer since September, and I am loving the challenge and the results. It’s so much more fun than running!

We’ve done an OK job with organizing things around the house. Jack started a new job last spring, and now when we’re not on the road, we both work from home. We have our separate home offices up and running, which is super nice. It’s especially nice since we used to both work at the dining room table, which has been in garage for a month now as we’re having our kitchen redone. We still have a lot of work to finish up for this reno, and I feel like it’s going to beget a whole slew of new projects once complete.

Finance-wise, we have spent a lot of $$$, but I’m happy to report that I paid off my personal student loan (let’s not talk about the government subsized ones just yet) and some credit card debt we built up. One of our goals for 2017 is to really cut back on all the superfluous spending (I’m looking at you, Amazon!) and be much more mindful about where our money is going. It’s way past time to get serious about saving for retirement.

What else, what else… Jack became a grandpa for the first time! His daughter had a baby girl this summer. His other daughter moved to San Diego with her mom, and his son and daughter-in-law moved to Amsterdam. Suddenly, his family is so scattered. We are planning some fun trips at least 🙂

We were lucky enough to take several vacations: Cancun, San Diego, Hilton Head, Amelia Island, the Blue Ridge mountains. We now have two Chihuahuas in congestive heart failure (one of whom also has two torn ACLs!), so that has hampered our travel plans to say the least. We’ve taken them with us on our last three trips, which means going to places that aren’t too much of a drive. Still, we’re hoping to get to Europe this spring if we can work it out.

Thinking back over the year, it has been 95% good. Maybe 97%. The main dark cloud is my job, which I just can’t make up my mind about. I kind of hate it, and I don’t trust the company I work for, but there is so much flexibility, and they just switched to unlimited vacation, and my boss is great… Thinking about having to sit in horrible Atlanta traffic and then be in an office in front of a computer ALL DAMN DAY, only to sit in even worse traffic on the way home – I remember why I left a company that I loved to take a chance on my current role. But it is just not where I see myself in the future (partially because I don’t know how much of a future this company has). So there will be decisions to be made there.

But for now, I’m thinking about 2017, and how I want that to look. I’ve been reminded all year about important good health is, and how much I take it for granted. I want to be more devoted to my health holistically, mind/body/spirit. And financially! That’s what keeps me up the most in the middle of the night.

My goals for January:

  • No Facebook (except for the nonprofit work I help with)
  • No Amazon (if I really need it I can drive to the damn store)
  • No white carbs (I can still have honey though, right?)
  • No gin on weeknights (whomp, whomp)

 

How has your year been? Are you happy with your progress? Have you thought about what you want 2017 to look like? Are you relieved that I didn’t even mention how many awesome celebrities we lost in 2016 (RIP George Michael) and how miserable the presidential election was?

 

 

2015 Goals vs. Reality

I did turn 40 this year. It actually happened. And I must admit, I’m not dealing with it all that well. I’m more vain and shallow than I realized! I spend entirely too much time focusing on new wrinkles and saggy skin. I’m thinking about trying some kind of dermal filler or Botox or something. Just a little something to perk up my skin. Part of it is that I work in a very young industry, and I don’t want to show my age. Part of it too is just pure vanity.

But enough of that!

Last year was the first year that I truly made a set of New Year’s resolutions and then followed through with them. I have never been a goal setter, but this past year has been a game changer for sure. I never realized how vocalizing a goal would help me to really think about what I needed to do to actually make it happen. Yes, it took me til 40 to understand this!

I was far from perfect in reaching my goals this year. Some of that was my fault and some of it wasn’t. Here’s how things ended up:

  1. Learn to do a handstand. FAIL. Not necessarily from lack of effort though. I worked pretty hard to build up my upper body strength, but there wasn’t much I could do about my wrist. They are weak, slightly arthritic, and leaning towards carpal tunnel syndrome. I have pretty lousy joints overall. Thus, no handstand for me, but I have peace about that.
  2. Pay off our credit card debt and personal loans. SUCCESS. I also paid off my car! We were lucky enough to both make good bonuses this year, along with nice salary increases, and we made some money when we sold our house. I’m very happy to say we knocked out all of our consumer debt other than my husband’s car, and that’s just because we’re waiting to see what VW is going to do about the “clean” diesel debacle.
  3. Be less anal. I’m calling this a SUCCESS. I think I’m little bit more go-with-the-flow. I can’t change who I am inside, but I am committed to continually finding compromise with other people and their ways of doing things.
  4. Run a half marathon. SUCCESS. Boom.
  5. Downsize. SUCCESS. Man, I was all over the place with this one over the year. We went from looking at one bedroom condos and vacation cabins, to almost buying a five bedroom house, to ending up in a perfect-sized three bedroom with almost an acre. We’re sort of turning it into that cabin we also wanted too 🙂
  6. Meditate. FAIL. I tried. I don’t like it. I know it’s something that you get better at, and the couple of times I did it, I did feel more relaxed and clear headed. But making it into an obligation sort of took away the benefit. Maybe one day…
  7. Drink less. FAIL. I’m trying not to beat myself up about this one. I did a few alcohol-free weeks, and I’ve cut back recently as I’ve been losing weight, but this summer, I relied on our end of day cocktails to help with the stress of my new job and our move (mostly during our two month hotel stay).
  8. Go to marriage counseling. FAIL. We never went, not once. We talked about it. We talked about us, our relationship. I think we don’t have as much motivation to go to therapy together because we’re crazy in love and really do like and enjoy each other 95% of the time. It’s not like our marriage is in trouble or anything. We’re totally committed to each other and plan on spending our lives together. But I know there are old hurts we need to resolve eventually, things that always seem to bubble back up when you least expect them. To be continued.
  9. Write. SUCCESS. This will be my 117th blog post, according to WordPress. This is undoubtedly the most I’ve ever written in a year. I’m also doing social media posts for two non-profits, so I’m writing some there as well. I would still like to learn to write essays, so hopefully I’ll have some time and energy to devote to that in 2016.
  10. Continue to evolve my relationship with food. I think I can call this a SUCCESS. This summer was eye-opening, as I experienced stress-eating (and the accompanying weight gain) for the first time. Not good! I also had to pretty much admit defeat when it came to controlling what I was eating during that time. My self-discipline was stretched thin during the first few months of my new job. I thought I could use this blog as motivation to lose weight, but instead I just added on a few more pounds. In hindsight, I was just barely keeping everything together, so it was a bad time to diet. Over the year, I think I tried every kind of fad diet or gimmick I could find. NONE of it worked (shocking, I know). But now that things are settled, I’ve been able to lose 9 pounds since Thanksgiving. And this was during the holidays and a trip to Chicago that had the express pupose of eating! I’m feeling good about that. I’m understanding what works for me. For example, I am do not have success with low carb. Or Paleo. For me, I need to eat tons of vegetables and fruit, and add in protein when I’m craving it. I need to be very restrictive about the types of food I eat, especially fat. The more fat I eat, the more I crave it. It’s worse than sugar for me. And if I’m restricting what I eat all day, then dammit, it’s totally fine to have a glass of wine or a martini at night. I can’t be good all the time 🙂
  11. Try some minimalism projects. This is sort of a toss up, but I’m calling it a SUCCESS. Mostly, I realized I’m not a true minimalist, so while it’s not what I was expecting, it’s a great lesson. I like to keep the clutter very low and to stay organized, but I like to have stuff too. I prefer to have things just-so, rather than make-do. If I have things that are as perfect as they can be, I won’t want more things. So I’m going through my life and our home and working on that that now.
  12. Practice empathy, be more compassionate and stop being so judgy. SUCCESS. Now, being compassionate and empathetic is a life-long project and something I will always be working towards. But what I realize now, here at the end of the year, that most of what I meant by this was directed towards my co-workers. We were all way too close and they were driving me crazy. Getting away from them helped me stop being so judgy. Other people’s life choices are none of my business.
  13. Do a volunteer activity once a month. MIXED. I did not volunteer for most of the year. I did donate a fair amount of money, but it’s not until the last couple of months that I’ve been actively volunteering. But I would say I made up for lost time! As a social media volunteer, I’ve been posting for my two charities several times a week, and daily around Thanksgiving during the shopping madness. Moving into 2016, we’re working on an agreed-upon posting schedule so I can better organize my time.
  14. Travel less often, but more memorably. SUCCESS. We started the year at the beach, and then made trips to Asheville, Jekyll Island, Louisville, and Chicago. I also traveled for work, to Portland, New York, and Dallas. It was not as much travel as 2014, but we were able to stay in nicer places and do more while were there. This is a trend we’ll continue.
  15. Find a new job. SUCCESS. I knew it would be tough, but it’s been tougher than I imagined. But all these hard things are absolutely helping me grow, and I have learned so much. I miss my old company and my friends there, and I have the feeling I’ll go back there one day. I definitely needed to leave though, so I don’t regret that.

Of my 15 original goals, I had success with 10 & 1/2. The importance of each of these waxed and waned throughout the year. I really struggled over the summer and early fall to accomplish much besides working, running, and keeping my head above water. I’ve also struggled to find a true focus for this blog, but since I’m enjoying writing here, it’s not something I’m too concerned with 🙂

In all honestly, I’m pretty damn pleased with myself for setting these goals and following through with them. Even the ones I failed at, I truly did make attempts to follow through. Mostly they just became less of a priority as the year went on. I added in some goals here and there, with varying degrees of success. I’m excited for a new beginning and have lots of great ideas for 2016. See you then!

How was your 2015? Are you happy with your progress? And what are your thoughts on resolutions? Will you be setting any this year?

 

October in Review

Wow, I have had just total writers’ block lately. I have logged on so many times and just stared at this blank screen for a few minutes, only to realize I had nothing to say. At last, here’s an easy topic: last month’s progress!

I have been dabbling with Project 445. It’s been pretty great, to be honest. I love having so much time in the mornings. I’m not doing it every day, not yet, at least. But for the majority of the weekdays over the past two week, I’m up at 4:45 and won’t let myself look at work email until after 6:00. It’s been good to take that time to enjoy my coffee and read what I want to read online. It hasn’t translated into many workouts, but I’ve been reasonably active.

October was a flash, that’s for sure. I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I’d hoped, but a lot of that was due to all the rain we’ve had down here lately. It also wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, as work has been ridiculous and we’re still unpacking. We did get a new deck built (or should I say, we hired someone to get that new deck built, lol). We ran a fun 5k race and I was really happy with my time. Not a PR, but close. We went to Nashville for an amazing concert and stayed at a perfect Airbnb. We did a food truck night with family in our new little town, and also hit up the farmers market for local apples and burrata. Halloween was a bit of a dud, but whatcha gonna do…

We’re enjoying our new house. We’re loving the neighborhood and all the restaurants that are so close by. I’m also loving the proximity to my family, and Jack doesn’t seem to mind that at all. We went hot tub shopping yesterday. Hello, sticker shock! But I think it will be well worth it, especially after cold morning runs this winter. We’re basking in the glow of being moved in, so our marriage is doing wonderfully 🙂

In terms of goals, I have to be honest: I’m not really thinking of them. I continue to just try to keep my head above water at work. By the end of the work day, I mostly just want to drink wine and be brain dead. I’m not running as much as I was, but I think it was time for a little break and I don’t feel too guilty about it. There’s no point in forcing it.

The two biggest things I want to focus on for the fall are being healthier and finally volunteering. The being healthy part is both my diet and my workouts. I need to find another long-ish race to train for, since that really keeps me on track. As for volunteering, I’ve made a lot of excuses about it all year, which is pretty gross. I’m going to look for something now!

Did you enjoy your October? What are you goals for the rest of the fall?

It’s Moving Week!

Well, it seems to be official: we are closing on our new home on Thursday and moving out of this hotel on Friday. Finally! It will be a full six weeks since we left the townhouse, and six MONTHS since we started the whole buying/selling/moving process. Along the way, we’ve changed our minds a few times and learned a lot about what we really want. Or at least what we think we want right now 🙂

Since we’ve been under contract and I don’t have any chores (one good thing about hotel living!), I’ve had a lot of time to think about life in our new home. The house is 40 years old and mostly renovated, but there are many projects we’re considering for further updates. We’ll have about half an acre, so that means we can add yard projects too.

I have my goals for 2015, my goals for the second half of the year, my goals for the fall, but I want to add some goals for life in our new home:

  1. Grow stuff. The yard needs a lot of clearing and planning, but I really want to try to get some fall/winter crops planted before it’s too late. It might just be some container gardening a la The Barefoot Budget, but I’m hoping we can grow some lettuces at the very least.
  2. Bake bread. Yes, I’ve been mostly low-carb, and I want to continue that, but I also want to try some new bread recipes and really understand the nuances of bread. I’m excited to try this low carb recipe, as well as this hearty, seedy braided bread on a rainy Sunday morning 🙂
  3. Prep meals. I loooove seeing other people’s posts about meal prep/planning. I’ve dabbled in it a bit in the past, but I want to really commit to it now. It’s just so appealing to think about spending a few hours on the weekend getting myself ready to eat healthfully during the week. Also I really want an excuse to buy these.
  4. Stick to a budget. We’re going to try something different this time. We are quite committed to earning travel rewards via our credit cards (which, yes, we pay off in full each month, like the grown-ups we are try to be), and I don’t want to give up the free flights and hotel stays. Instead, we’re going to use those credit cards to buy gift cards each month. We’ll get them for our usual grocery stores, gas stations, Starbucks, etc, as well as our favorite clothing stores (anyone else obsessed with TJ Maxx/Marshall’s?). Once the gift cards are used up, that’s the end of our ability to spend in that category for the month. I’ll keep y’all updated on our success/failure here 🙂
  5. DIY. Jack and I are the worst about doing-it-ourselves. We will pay anyone for anything. (The one thing I refuse to pay for is house cleaning; it just makes me feel super lazy to not clean up after myself.) But this time around, we’re going to force ourselves to in-source. There’s no reason we can’t learn to tile our own backsplash and fix up our own yard. We’ve done much harder things together and love the sense of accomplishment.

Here’s hoping my motivation and excitement will continue once we’ve actually moved it 🙂