A New Year, New Adventures…..and Challenges

I had big plans for this blog post that included posting it New Year’s Day. I planned to reminisce about the year and the great things that happened and the promise of a new year.  However my year started with a neighbor letting me know that someone had broken into my truck over night, which greatly challenged my optimism. Not just the destruction of property but it happening on my property is very discouraging. After spending the day on the phone with police and insurance companies I was just spent and did not want to post.

After a good nights sleep and getting some things taken care of today, I am getting my motivation back and I refuse to let this be an indicator of how 2018 will go. Two good points were that there was nothing to steal because I never leave anything of value in my vehicle and I have good insurance. The only thing in it was paper towels, sunblock and dog treats, all of which they left. I am already set up to drop it off for repairs and a rental car setup, so the stress of figuring out what to do was taken care of.

Honestly 2017 did not start off great but I was determined to make it a good year and I did. There is no reason this year can’t be the same. At the end of 2017 I was in an unhappy place for a lot of reasons.  Mainly from feeling like I was working hard all the time at something that made no difference in the world and never enjoying life. I was also having side effects from a medication that I realize now was contributing to extreme anxiety and bordering on depression. If this had happened to me this time last year I probably would have had a nervous breakdown.

Because of everything going on the end of 2016 I made my New Year’s resolution last year to make a point to enjoy life more.  I didn’t just make a broad, general goal in the hopes it would happen, I knew ways to make it happen.  First, I was going to allow myself to spend money on things that would make my life easier and enjoy it more, within reason of course.  I am cheap to a fault and it causes a lot of stress.  I choose to do things myself or the hard way with the justification that I am saving money.  I also try to always cook at home and had a huge guilt complex eating out, even with friends. The problem then is that I spend all my time fixing things, cleaning, cooking at home and other things that I really don’t have to do and have no time for anything else. I also didn’t go out and do much because I was always in “saver mode” and could not let myself spend the money.  But the realization is that I work hard, pay all my bills, have a good retirement plan and have the money to enjoy life and I have no reason to feel guilty spending it.

Although this all easy to say (and type) the reality is hard when you have spend 36 years being cheap.  I started by re budgeting for money to spend weekly on food, eating out and entertainment. I have been budgeting for the bare minimum since grad school and have never increased it to enjoy life.  The first thing I bought that was a splurge was small but ending up making a huge difference, an automated vacuum. With Bella I was vacuuming 2-3 times a week to not have a fur coating on my floors and all my furniture. She has short hair, but she still sheds bad. I love her but it was just getting to be too much.  At first I still had a hard time relaxing while it ran, I still felt like I needed to do something, but over time I have gotten over it. It sounds small and cheesy but it really changed the course of my year.

The next thing I did was start classes to work towards getting Bella certified as a therapy pet.  Once we worked through her trust issues she was such a friendly little people person and loved greeting the elderly people in out neighborhood on walks.  Through my sister and a friend I found out what a therapy pet is and what I needed to do to make it happen.  It was not easy and took about 6 months, but it was totally worth it.  Bella is much happier having a job and a purpose and I feel like I am making some difference in the world sharing her, even if it is small.

The big thing I did for 2017 that has made the biggest difference in my life was of course was the Southwest road trip.  It led to my looking at campers, more travel and this blog. Although there have been challenges and ups and downs with the camper it has given me something to work on and look forward to. The general sense of happiness I have found this year has made me more motivated at work and relives the stress of spending money.

All in all the year ended well.  I had a good Christmas and got a lot of great new stuff for the camper, including a map to track where I have been in the US. I will do some future posts with all the other stuff once I get it all set up. I have started making plans for next year, including a Southeast road trip and a few other local trips. I am excited for all the adventures I am planning to take and even some possible adventures through work.  So, while 2018 did not start great, I refuse to let it ruin the rest of my year. On to bigger and better things.

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