Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Road to 2016: Goals, Aspirations, New Year's Resolutions, Oh MY!

So as I've watched everyone else post their 2016 goals and New Year's Resolutions I've of course pondered what I want to be my own goals for 2016. And I've really been kind of stuck on this as I asked myself what more do I want for myself in 2016. What goals do I have that I want to achieve? I kept coming back to this word: nothing. Impressive, right? I can be a goal oriented, dreamer type person too so why no die hard goal to work towards at least for the typical first month, right? Maybe it's because there's nothing really big or new on my radar, and I'm completely okay with that. Honestly right where I'm at right now in life is enough, and it's kind of been a long road to get where we are right now so I guess rather than have a set goal I'd rather follow a recent trend I've seen with choosing a word for 2016. That  word for me is going to be peace.

Peace with where we've been , where we are, where we're going. Social media if we let it can convince us we're never doing enough or are enough.  I just read this article today about busyness being a sickness and it states how "In America, we are defined by what we do. Our careers. What we produce. It's the first question asked at parties, and often the first tidbit of information we share with strangers. The implication is that if I am not busy doing something, I am somehow less than. Not worthy. Or at least worth less than those who are producing something." We don't have to attend parties anymore to feel like; we just need to get on social media. Then we fall into that trap of believing what we're doing with our life, how we're living our life, or what we're accomplishing isn't enough, and that we must be more, need more, or have more.  I'm not going to lie and say I'm not guilty of falling into this trap at times, but at some point we have to see that what we have and who we are is enough. We have to have peace with ourselves and the life we've made for our self.

My word for myself for 2016 is embracing peace and contentment at this point in my life.  Does that mean I have no goals?  No that's not what it means; I have goals and aspirations for the future still but there's no big rush to start checking them off the master list. For 2016 I want to enjoy the peace and contentment (live on cruise control so to speak) in this life we've built for ourselves with our soon to be three young children. I want to embrace where we are right now; not obsess with what I need to be working towards next.

The years past have been full of checking goals and aspirations off the list so my New Year's Resolution for 2016 is to just slow down and enjoy a little. We can continue to work towards our goals at whatever pace suits us at the moment, but none of them are my top priority. There was a lot goal checking as it was on the road to 2016. Here's an honest look back.

In 2004 I graduated college and was beginning a relationship with my future husband who at the time was probably in one of the roughest spots of his life. My ambitions and goals were high- start a career I enjoyed in teaching, help this boy straighten out his life, and build a meaningful relationship. So began the dream of teaching and finding forever love.

In 2005 I decided to chase a dream to move not only out of state but closer to the coast. I did it; it really was not pretty at points that year, and when what I'll call incident #1 happened I considered saying screw it, tucking my tail between my legs, and going back home. So began the dream of really testing my wings of  independency and love for this man I came across the country with.

In 2006 we decided to embark on the dream of ownership and marriage with an engagement to be married in 2007. After two broken down cars and a stolen vehicle I signed for what would later become my/our first completely owned vehicle (that first thing that you own that your parent didn't cosign for and the bank doesn't hold the note to is a big milestone when you're in your 20s!) . We also became homeowners to a rundown rowhome in the city that my husband wanted to fix up in hopes of having as an investment rental property later. So began the dream of buying and fixing a house and planning a wedding.

In 2007 after a tough start with what I'll call incident #2 we were married, and it was also the year I went back to graduate school.  Luckily because we already spent two years fighting our way through the growing pains of living together and even though we were still working on home improvements for the house after the stress of the wedding it was the year of the honeymoon period. So began the dream of married life and graduate school.

In 2008 while still working on my goal of completing my Masters we found out we were expecting our first daughter. This was one of the few early years on cruise control. We were settled in married life, settled in our careers as teachers,  making decent progress on what we had accepted at that point was a never ending list of home improvements, balancing grad school with work was good, and we enjoyed the anticipation of the arrival of our first daughter in 2009. So lived the dream of teaching career, homeownership, and marriage.

In 2009 we began the dream of parenthood. As any parent knows there's the envisioned dream and then there's the reality, but even with the growing pains of beginning the journey of parenthood it was definitely a blessed year. So began the dream of parenthood.

In 2010 as I balanced motherhood with a career I would reach my goal of finishing my Masters degree. It was also the year Nate would achieve his goal of leaving the city school systems' classrooms to move into a position out of the classroom in the county school system. So lived my dream of finishing grad school.

In 2011 we would see another dream come true: growing our family and giving our oldest daughter a sister. But it would also be the year Nate was t boned in an auto accident and have to go through over a year's worth of doctor appointments, injections, and physical therapy to fix his back from the accident. It also the year that I say bitch #1 of 2 came out, and caused tension and stress in my marriage and life, leaving me in a highly irritated state. So began the dream of raising sisters and being a working mom to multiple children.

In 2012 the year started with Nate's dream of going to grad school to begin his Masters program for educational leadership. It was also a big financial year for us as it was the year after six years of being in the city house and afraid we'd never escape in the downed economy with a daughter quickly approaching kindergarten that we got the approval to rent the house (not as an investment at first that Nate originally dreamed but we could keep it) and buy another in a small town community to raise our growing family. So began living the "American" dream of small town home ownership, family and marriage, and career with even an additional house.

In 2013 the dream became to financially survive the "American" dream. As if I didn't learn the first time around, reaching goals and dreams don't just fall in your lap. Even though the bank said "yes", the true numbers with two houses, two kids, now two car payments again because we sold the one vehicle we owned for a down payment didn't quite add up right! And bitch #2 in me came to visit for the long haul. We were barely financially surviving with the new house, my marriage was strained, I had my worst year in teaching and for the first time didn't want to be a teacher anymore, and after multiple people noticing my behavior and pushing me to see a doctor it was discovered that I was experiencing depression but more as a severe symptom to a thyroid disorder I didn't know I had. On the plus side of all that crazy because we were financially struggling I got a semester part time job teaching a college class at the community college which I found to be a wonderful and obviously financially beneficial decision.  So lived the dream of just faking it until you make it.

In 2014 Nate reached his dream of graduating with his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, and I made a much desired job change after eight years in the same school.  2014 was the year my thyroid disorder was treated and that bitch hopefully left for good (not saying she doesn't visit for a day every once in awhile but she is NOT moving back in). It was the year our oldest started kindergarten, and even though we suffered an early pregnancy miscarriage that year,  so lived the dream of making it rather than faking it.

In 2015 the year started in what is possibly the worst January to date with our second miscarriage in the late first trimester. However, aside from saying good bye to our beloved Bettis the rest of the year after that wasn't just about making it but finally finding our balance and rhythm with it all (marriage, kids, careers, two houses, money). Nate's goal of changing jobs for more leadership experience happened and is in his most enjoyable position to date, as well as me getting a more permanent position at the school from the year before that was also my most enjoyable position to date. We were approved for a refinance that put our finances in my desired little neat boxes (hopefully for the long haul). Nate and our oldest were so involved in activities in the community our new hometown started to feel like the forever home we originally imaged. We started college savings funds, after ten years had reached the point of being vested in the retirement system, finally after ten years had a little bit of an emergency fund savings, the rental house value to what we owed was finally to a point of it being an investment rather than an obligation, and we were pregnant again with a little boy this time.  So even though 2015 would end with a concern for the baby's heart and a few other setbacks in other minor things so lived the dream of  living the dream but knowing there's no cumulative moment of reached perfection for life, just moments of perfection to get us through the rough moments of life.

Is there more we want in life for ourselves? Sure, who doesn't? But looking back at these years with their struggles and triumphs reminds me that there also needs to be time to just slow down and embrace it all. So to my husband who knows these ups and downs well and who I know continues to be the dreamer he's always been but sometimes lets the setbacks discourage him and bring him down I say this,  "I know there's been a few set backs lately but I want you to know I never forget the big picture. Only you and I truly know and understand where we were and how far we've come. I think it's our struggles and the obstacles we encountered, even though yes some we brought upon ourselves, that make us together great in our own way.  We got this far with nothing but our faith in each other, ourselves, and God, and a great group of people cheering us on. We built this life and it is ours. The good, the bad, the comical, the right choices, the wrong choices, the highs and the lows, the triumphs and the struggles.  Just as I believed in you, believed in me, and more importantly believed in us so long ago when we had nothing (literally nothing but our precious Bettis, your broken Jeep, and few personal belongings) to this day I still do. Together let's make 2016 our best year yet."


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