Last year I started a zero-sum budget. I bought envelopes and we started using cash only for restaurants, each of our spending (gas, my manicures, etc), groceries. I started buying cashiers checks each payday toward our rent because we kept having to pay a late fee, so this way a chunk came out of each payday.
Last year we paid off two loans - one personal loan and our debt to The State of California. PAID IN FULL. We haven't ever again paid a late fee on any bill, ever.
Last year we managed to save over $5,000.
|Our actual envelopes! Also, I need a manicure. Hmmm.|
Last year I paid attention to my Ebay sales with renewed interest and managed to save, in a baby savings account all my own, over $500. That doesn't include the money I would withdraw now and again to buy Mike some random groceries or buy some new pants or whatever.
Last year we went to 5 concerts! We went to Vienna for a week! We budgeted for it and it was awesome.
Last year I felt like I got a good, firm grip on my life. Finally. At 54 years old. I started living my life from inside of it, rather than feeling like I was looking at my own life through a window.
Last year I forgave myself for having disabilities. I started celebrating the fact that I have learned how to move through life even with those disabilities: debilitating social anxiety, OCD, dyslexia, possibly somewhere low on the aspergers scale. I stopped apologizing and calling myself weird and broken. I stopped acknowledging my disabilities at all - they have LONG been incorporated into my life and personality, I didn't need to remind myself at every turn. I'm FINE, I'm functioning, I've been taking care of myself since I was a baby. Everybody has 'stuff'. *shrug*
Last year I learned that my body hates certain foods and it's ok if I never eat them again. Like fruit. and lettuce. I learned I could lose 30 pounds by giving up grains. I ALSO LEARNED I COULD GAIN BACK 20 OF THOSE POUNDS because life is stupid without cookies and what not. I learned I could use some of that Ebay money and buy back some jeans in a bigger size since I got all high and mighty and tossed my 'fat' clothes. yeah.
Last year I learned that my depression is going to be with me forever. I beat it back by taking wellbutrin - by getting enough sleep and by getting a LOT of exercise because endorphins/dopamine/serotonin keep my brain happy - sadly exercise alone does not smaller my ass, but whatevs. I need a happy brain. Last year Jeff started asking me 'have you walked today?' because he can tell when I haven't. It finally registered that while I will have the depression beast to consider for the rest of my life, I can take responsibility for what I CAN control and that? felling of being in control? SO HELPFUL. I learned to recognize the signs and do what I need to do to keep myself sane(er) - walk? alone time? sit in the sun? all three? Whatever it is, I can handle it.
Last year I learned SO MUCH about narcissism, and dysfunction. And how letting it all go, dropping the rope - best decision I ever made. And with that, all the fear left me. I'm not scared anymore. It's easier to leave the house, easier to talk to people. The tape loop of negativity playing in my head? gone. Those ghosts don't exist anymore. I had the power all along. I dropped the rope and it went away.
Last year I started learning, and I'm continuing it through this year, that even though I am still absolutely convinced something woo-woo surrounds me, I don't have to give it any headspace. It has no power over me. I started thinking about it like 'the earth turns, I don't know how that happens. The interwebz is not a bunch of computers in a big room somewhere, so I don't really know how THAT works. Planes fly, I seriously can't explain THAT. So the woo-woo surrounding me? meh" and with that, a huge burden also lifted off me. I don't really care anymore. I don't look for it. I don't question every dream, every hairpin. <--I do NOT pick those up anymore. It's as much a part of my life as my brown eyes and so I quit stressing over it. I just accept it. And wonder of wonders, it seriously doesn't bother me anymore. *shrug*
|Photograph of alleged Man In Black taken in October, 1986, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Credit: James W. Moseley|
Last year I started focusing on the future. Saving money, sorting out our various retirement accounts, paying off bills. We have goals now - some huge (we're going to Ireland! for two weeks! OH EM GEE) and some sort of wacky (I'm seriously considering buying a double-wide in a 55 & over trailer park and owning it for the rest of our lives) and some goals seem so very out of reach (be completely absolutely debt free, able to live on paychecks and savings and NEVER using credit or having a loan again).
But if you don't have a goal, what are you aiming for? Where will you be in a year? I like having a goal these days. It's part of letting go of fear. I'm a groan-up (wink to TW!) and I'm fully capable of owning a home OR renting forever and taking trips and all that, and deciding this stuff with just conversations between Jeff and I - not me and the million ghosts who used to live in my head telling me I can't/I'll fail/I'm stupid. Bye, ghosts!
Last year. Man, last year was sorta crowded. But I still feel like this year will be huge. Change is coming. For me anyway. Could be internal change, could be external (face lift!) could be both. This next year may just be the wind-up to the huge *POW* of the year after.
But suddenly life is SO EXCITING! It's actually FUN - not in the fits and starts of my previous lives, but I'm INSIDE MY LIFE NOW! I'm invested in it, I'm INTERESTED in it, I'm living right here, right now. Not running in fear from me, or bills, or what I said/did while drunk - there is no fear. And that freed up SO MUCH SPACE.