Monday, December 31, 2012

My Life in a Nutshell: 2012 in Review

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” – Bill Keane

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When I think about the past year, the adjectives that first pop to mind are ones like “unpleasant”, “difficult”, “unhealthy”, and other generally negative descriptions. It has not been a fun year for us. It has been chock full of “opportunities for personal growth” and trying to discover silver linings and make the most of what we have. It was our sickest year to date, hands down… we endured coughs, colds, fevers, asthma, allergic reactions, ear and eye  infections, tear duct surgery, croup, strep throat, suspected pneumonia, migraines, and 3 separate bouts of stomach flu, including our worst ever episode this past Christmas week. It has been a year full of creative solutions, of choosing to live without some of life’s luxuries, and of enjoying our people rather than our things. This is good, and I am so glad for it.

2011 had already been a challenging year for us, and my New Year’s mantra for 2012 was “Less is More.” This was a truly providential revelation for the year, unbeknownst to me at the time. Not only did we experience financial and emotional turmoil with an unexpected job transition for my husband but, in retrospect, I would have had very little “free time” to dedicate to specific goals. I’m grateful that I hadn’t given myself rigid expectations that would quickly have become unrealistic, and made me feel like a failure. We had decided to cut back our budgets and, by July of the year we had shaved our grocery spending by about 50-35%, switched from cable to Netflix, paid off a new car and thrown money at our mortgage principal in anticipation of a 2013 move. It was undeniably successful in terms of monetary responsibility, and the changes we made really enabled the job transition to be a phase rather than a catastrophic rethinking of our lifestyle. I am grateful that we were prepared for the worst, and that the worst didn’t happen.

We may not have had a ton of “fun” in the secular entertainment sense, but we are in a much better place, and we haven’t lost our sense of humor. I feel really prepared for 2013, come what may, and am ready to embrace the changes it will undoubtedly bring. I am planning to set some concrete goals, both personal and professional, but I also plan to be flexible with myself and realistic about what I will be able to accomplish knowing that this year will not be without its complications as well. So…

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Happy New Year!

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier'...” – Lord Tennyson

5 comments:

Reenie said...

Fabulous recap of a challenging and yet growing season. God is good!! Here's to a great 2013 (and maybe a new house with a garage over the barn?)

Emily said...

how did you cut so much off your grocery bill?! would love to steal your secrets :) happy new year - emma :)

Karen said...

Secrets? Meal planning, price matching, and sacrificing :)

Karen said...

We ate well, and I didn't drink so much Diet Coke... A worthwhile pursuit all around!

Cristina C said...

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:) Take care!