Gifts and Reflections

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The year is almost over and it feels like a time for reflection.

My first reflection is – this year sucked balls. And not in the good way. :/

My youngest was cheated out of his final year of competing in track and had his graduation repeatedly postponed. My oldest and I were out of work when schools closed. The pandemic has hit hard and everything has changed.

But not every change was bad.

Yes, my youngest missed competing. I think that bothered me more than it did him. His graduation was postponed several times, but it did eventually happen. Though my oldest and I were out of work, we were lucky that my husband is an essential worker and we avoided much of the financial hardship that many others experienced (and may still be experiencing).

Personally, though the reason was terrible, the ability to slow down and spend more time with my family was a gift. We spend so much time rushing here, there, and everywhere that often what is really important gets shoved to the back burner. This year I have spent more time than ever with my children – and it has been wonderful. No games to rush off to, no practices, nothing to distract us from each other. We have always eaten dinner together, but when the whole world slowed down, it seemed like we suddenly had time (and permission) to slow down and just take a breath.

That was another gift for me this year – I have seen how different my life can be when I am not constantly rushing around, worrying about ‘living my best life’ and trying to be ‘successful.’ I was free to just enjoy whatever made me happy – doing jigsaws, painting minis, and spending time with my loved ones. I imagine it’s somewhat how retirement feels – knowing that you can live without having to kill yourself working.

After this year, my views on how I want to live my life have changed. I have wanted to downsize and minimize for years. But now I have seen how much better my life could be if we weren’t spending all of our time working to afford the house we are rarely in, driving cars we have to work to afford, etc. If having less ‘stuff’ means I can relax and focus on things that mean something to me, that’s what I want to do.

It has given me even greater incentive to become debt-free. My husband and I sat down last night and discussed our financial goals for the new year. Paying off our last few debts is top of the list, of course. We also discussed smaller goals – like saving up for things. We both want new phones – his has a broken screen and mine is his hand-me-down from 4 phones ago. I have been putting money aside for just such things and we are able to outright purchase the phone he wants. That felt really good – being able to say, yes, okay, get the thing – and to pay for it in cash, with no payment plan and all the bs that goes along with them.

So I have set some goals for myself, both long and short term. I am not someone who makes New Year’s Resolutions, but I do have specific goals that I want to achieve in the coming year.

Here’s hoping that 2021 is waaaaaaaay better than 2020. 😀

Changes

The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Lots of changes for me now and in the future. The pandemic has made everything very fluid, so it’s hard to plan ahead without knowing what will change.

I have an interview for a new job next week. I’m less nervous than I thought I would be, but I’m afraid that will make it hurt more if I don’t get it. :/ My youngest has now had 3 tentative dates to reschedule graduation, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve decided to go ahead and send out the announcements with a note that explains we don’t know when/if it will happen. Even if it doesn’t, or people can’t attend, I at least want them to know how proud we are of his accomplishments.

The university that both children will attend in the fall has said they intend to hold in-person classes, but they will end those early right before Thanksgiving. Everything after that (the final two weeks of classes), will be done remotely. I have to wonder, then, why bother? Everyone has been doing remote classes for most of the year, so why go back just for 2 1/2 months? My oldest has all online classes anyway, and we can probably arrange my youngest’s classes to be all online as well, so we’ll see how it all shakes out. We still aren’t sure whether my job will reopen in August, but we are planning as if we will. The new health regulations are sure making things interesting.

In the meantime, I am continuing on with my own plans. I’ve opened my Etsy shop, I’m adding additional items this week, and I am taking steps to get back on track with what I want to do for my business. I’m trying to improve my health and fitness, and I’m continuing to work on various projects, like painting more minis. 😀