I feel like we say this every year at the end of December…but where did this year go? Suddenly I looked up and it’s December. A lot of big changes happened for us personally this year, mostly for the better. As with the close of any year, I’ve been spending some time reflecting on the year that’s closed. I’ve also been looking ahead to the bright shiny blank slate of a year that we are about to step into.
The last few years I have not participated in the tradition of choosing a word that I hope will define the year ahead. Nothing felt like it fit and I didn’t want to pick something just to pick it. I also wasn’t writing as much so the desire wasn’t there. Even though I’ve been writing again (and it feels so good to be back!) I didn’t plan on picking one for this new year either.
Then on the plane ride home from a wonderful Christmas in Ireland I used that 11 hours to do some thinking. I thought about how just because seats recline all the way back on airlines doesn’t mean we should. (I spent about 8 hours with a stranger’s head who apparently needed to be completely vertical to enjoy the flight in my lap. Don’t be that person y’all. Haha!) While I was cradling this stranger’s head, I also thought about what I wanted out of the upcoming year. Then the word came to me like one of those old school flashing motel vacancy signs. In 2019 I want to finish what I started in 2018. I got on a road I had been searching for for years and I want to see the journey through. My word is:
The Road to Financial Security
At the end of 2017 we realized how much of a mess we had made of our finances. Correction. We always knew the way we managed money was a mess. We just finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired and decided to do something about it. In 2018 we graduated from a financial course that has helped us turn our lives around and has given us hope. This is our graduation photo. You can see I was quite bit heavier and also just getting started on another journey. More on that later in the post. You can see the kids were thrilled to be in the photo. Sarcasm. Mama sees you, kids.
In 2018 we paid off my van, two student loans, and our phones. We also established a savings which is something we had not had in over a decade of marriage. We hit some financial road blocks like a gall bladder surgery for me, an expensive surgery for a cat who can’t say no to eating sparkly things that he shouldn’t. (Insert eye roll here. I’m looking at you Pete.) We had to adjust our finances as we enrolled our special needs son into a gifted school for children with ADHD and autism. We also just flat out messed up sometimes.
You can’t fix years of bad habits overnight but we dusted ourselves off and started again. That’s been the difference this time. We were/are committed to the process and because we are, we are so much better off at the end of 2018 than we were at 2017.
The Road to Reclaiming My Health
I call the photo below Christmas past and Christmas present. At the end of 2017 I was the heaviest I had ever been. I loved myself and knew I was a good person, but I didn’t feel good about myself. I actually I just didn’t feel good period. After not being able to walk around my son’s Scout camp without having to repeatedly find a place to sit down earlier this year, I again got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I loved myself and it was time to finally start acting like it. It wasn’t about some jean size, it was about being able to physically enjoy life and be around for my kids.
At the beginning of May of this year, I began a journey to reclaim my health. On that road I’ve logged a lot of miles on my treadmill and I’ve counted a lot of Weight Watchers points. I’ve had to reteach myself to eat, to cook, and what moderation looks like. It’s not easy but one thing I tell myself when it gets hard is that you know what happens when you quit. Why not find out what happens when you don’t? The second photo was taken last week on our Christmas trip to Ireland. With 52 pounds gone, it’s been decades since I’ve felt more beautiful and confident. Healthy is pretty. I’m not done but I know I’m on the right road. I can’t wait to see Christmas future.
Welcome 2019….Going Further Down the Road
I have specific financial and health milestones I want to reach in 2019 but the truth is neither of these goals should ever be considered “done”. Done means complacent and years of complacency is how I got where I was in terms of finances and health. In 2019 though, we can continue on the road we started in 2018, the one that took us so long to find, and work to get where we want to be. Then the lifelong work begins to stay there. Now that I have found my writing voice and my way again I have some posts planned with specific tips on how I was able to turn things around with my health and finances in case anyone out there wants to do the same. Here’s to being a finisher in 2019.
Happy New Year! Do you have a word of the year or any resolutions for 2019?