Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 In the Rearview Mirror and the Road Ahead to 2017 and Beyond

Many in social media were ready to kick 2016 to the curb with all the celebrity lives it took. Though many of those were great people that deserve to be remembered and missed I did not know them personally. But 2016 was a year that took a lot of lives it seemed. My family lost the head of our family- my grandfather on my 35th birthday, and unfortunately I watched too many friends lose parents, cousins, and even nephews and grandsons unexpectedly. 2016 also gave me and many friends our third babies, and some their first and their seconds. The circle of life was very apparent this past year. It was a year of great joy and great sadness.

If there's anything we take from this I guess it's to remember how very fleeting and precious our time is with the ones we love and for ourselves in living the life we hope to live. So what do I hope for in 2017? When I looked back at my goal and aspirations for 2016, it was pretty simple- to find peace and contentment with where I'm at. Some days I succeeded at that goal; some days not so much. Some days I still get anxious worrying about this or that for the future or am too hard on myself for the things I didn't succeed at the way I planned. As always I'm a never ending work in progress. But as time does go on I get better at accepting my failures and imperfections with my successes. I know the tough moments are followed by great moments and everything is just a continued cycle of ups and downs in this life we live.

My dream of our completed family with baby Lincoln came true in 2016. We started our journey the summer of 2005 and 11 years later in 2016 so much that we envisioned was finally a reality. After so many years of being in transition as last year's post pointed out this past year in 2016, particularly the summer, did have its moments of peace and contentment with feeling like we finally arrived to the destination we were headed to so long ago.

Though I've found a place of contentment and satisfaction we can still have that and reach for more, can't we? On one hand we hear to always keep dreaming and pushing for new goals as we conquer old ones, but on the other hand we hear to find happiness and contentment with where we are and with what we have. Can we do both???

I do have goals and hopes for 2017. I am 10 pounds away from the initial 35 lb weight loss goal I made before I became pregnant with Lincoln so I will be pushing to say good bye to those 10 pounds and just keep the healthier habits of working out and eating better. There were only four weeks I didn't get in my 3-5 workouts a week in the past 8.5 months. I'm hoping for six or less weeks missed in the whole twelve month period of 2017.

It is looking like we will be taking that 10 year anniversary trip to Hawaii this summer though I'm a little anxious about leaving my babies for a whole week and flying so far away. My husband wants to take us on a long weekend getaway to either Vegas or New Orleans in the Fall for his 40th birthday too, so between these two trips with our annual camping and beach trips and trips to MO (4 planned!) and PA/NY (4 planned as well) we're traveling every month in 2017 but Feb and Sept and some months like June include two trips. So my continued dream of traveling and seeing new places looks hopeful with two new destinations. Of course I love keeping the family traditions of the beach, camping, and trips to grandparents going year after year for our kids, and it looks like we'll be carrying that over into 2017.

I  have paid writing opportunities in 2017 which I haven't had since all the $$ I've pretty much made from my writing came in 2014. I have my first book signing scheduled for the spring, I've received a promising email from the Huffington Post though I haven't received my login info to actually proceeded with publishing there so that's a bit discouraging at the moment, and I have a charity idea I'm hoping to pitch later this month as one of my initial goals with my writing income was for 20% of it to go to children's charities, primarily pediatric cancer. I have another book idea I'd like to make some progress on and maybe with a ten week summer vacation I will, but otherwise I'm very content to do my own thing at my own pace with my writing. It's always been a hobby I love and I don't want to ruin it by making it feel like work.

As for other things. My second starts kindergarten in 2017! Which I am super excited for and sad for all at the same time. I'm sad that she's so big already. I swear the second grew faster than the first. I can't imagine how fast the third is going to grow. She's so ready and excited to go to school with her sissy. She's a smart little girl like her big sister so I know academically she'll do well. She might be a little like her momma though and be my one to get in trouble every now and then for talking or being out of line, but overall I look for her to do really well and am excited for her school years to come for her. Two in school all day also frees up our pocketbook so after our weird shuffling of vehicles for the past ten years now that my husband got his ideal truck two years ago the plan is to get my mom SUV back later this summer. We should be able to start the second's college savings account too and we're doing okay so far with the first's, and hopefully build up our other savings accounts. Then my last hopeful financial goal for 2017 is to get new floors in my kitchen and bathrooms (with a new vanity).

As for goals when it comes to work? It's probably the interesting thing for 2017. I'll be finishing year 13 and beginning year 14 here in 2017. But I'm burnt out in so many ways. I've been in my current school system for 11 years now though. Though I doubt more and more every day that I can do this for 30 years I'd like in 2017 to attempt to switch school districts to the one here where we live; however, because they keep making cuts I'm not too hopeful on that actually happening and I'm unsure how much of an actual pay cut it is. Eliminating 2.5 hours of my day commuting would help some of my burn out probably. At least temporarily.  I think working in a different area may help for a bit too. But there are aspects of the job that will follow me no matter where I go so I'll apply but we'll have to see what comes of it.  I don't look for any drastic job and/or relocation changes in 2017, but the wheels of possibility have been turning in both our heads. Right now 2017 is another year towards our pensions, another year to build up more equity in both of our houses, and another year to save up money. However, in 2018 or 2019 we're going to reach the fork in the road though. One path will be to stay the course for the next 15 years to collect our full MD teaching pension in our 50s, raise our kids to adulthood in this small Maryland town that we do love, and find or build our dream home on some land here. The other path at the fork in the road is the unknown one. The one where we take a huge leap of faith. We leave our professions with our job security and financial stability and possibly the home and life we've built here to recreate our life as business owners with the restuarant my husband always wanted someday.

We've faced the challenges of change and the unknown before. We are no stranger to taking the risks- moving out here away from anyone and everything we had known to build our own life, becoming landlords and turning our home into a rental property, adding babies to our family (that's a scary unknown challenge of change for everyone, right????) with no family nearby for help. Here's the thing I've learned. It's always hard, incredibly stressful, almost always involves some tough moments of failure, but in the long run in the bigger picture it's always made our life better and been completely worth the scary moments and growing pains of change.

Knowing we are getting closer to that fork in the road excites and scares me all at the same time. Which would you do? Take the safe path or the riskier one? We are so blessed; we have so much and even though we've reached a point of contentment and conquered so much that we had hoped for do we stop? Do you accept and settle with the one area of your life lacking complete fulfillment because you have everything else you ever dreamed? Or do you look at your life and say I want it all- everything I envision, even as the vision changes and evolves, and I won't settle until I get it? Life is short. We only have so much time to do all the things we want to do, live all the lives we want to live.  Can we have contentment in the present yet look ahead to the future to the next dream to conquer?


1 comment:

  1. Angela, Happy New Year! :) Can't wait to read more of your posts this year.