2014 In Review

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I think that 2014 was as close to a complete about-face of a year as I've ever had.  I imagine there will be years to come that will make this one look small in comparison, but while reflecting back on the year, I feel like I've never had so many pivotal moments in such a quick succession.

For one, I start the year at a job that I hated.  I was bored, unchallenged, and very very unhappy.  By February I had found my current job and oh how different it is.  Not only do I feel busy, challenged, and happy, but I would even venture to say that I love what I'm doing.  I never thought I'd say that about ANY job, but I definitely didn't think I'd be saying it saying it at any point in 2014.

I also entered 2014 fresh off another round of online dating.  I think it was around January that I decided not to renew my membership because I had found someone that I really connected with and hoped would stick around.  Now, a year later, we are still happily together.  I guess he didn't quite "stick around" in the traditional sense, but over the past year our relationship has grown into something that I don't think I could have anticipated at the end of 2013.

I also started off 2014 in a fairly depressed state.  The aforementioned job, the multiple not so great Match dates I went on before I met my boyfriend, and the general feeling of stalling in life was not the best combo for a successful new year.  Today however all of that has change and I'm not sure if I've ever been happier. 

There were of course some other changes that weren't as fun or exciting, but I think they've contributed just as much to get me to where I am today.  There was the deployment to deal with and also moving back home for the millionth time.  Luckily the END of the deployment is going to make for an amazing 2015, and the year of basement living will allow me to get a good jump start on savings for the next year.

With so many big things happening in this past year it's hard to imagine what could come in 2015, but at least I know that whatever it may bring I've got a great year behind me and can hopefully keep that momentum going!

Filling The Time

Monday, December 29, 2014

One of the most important things that has gotten me through this long distance relationship/deployment is by filling as much downtime as possible.  I am the type of person that loves nothing more than to spend my weekends lounging on the couch reading a good book or binge watching a new tv show.  When it's nicer out, I could easily spend an entire day on my hammock simply relaxing. I, for the most part, enjoy the slow passage of time.  I like see everything going on around me and being able to soak it in every day.

The past 7 months, however, have been the complete opposite.  I have tried to say yes to every opportunity that has arisen.  My friends will call bullshit on this because I still refuse to go out on Friday nights after a week of work, but other than that I've made a conscious effort to get out and do things as often as possible.  

I joined a gym and signed up for 3 months with a trainer.  Sure, it's great to get in shape and have someone hold me accountable, but more importantly for me, it makes Tuesday and Thursday fly by.  I signed up for weekly classes with my dog, not because he's terribly disobedient, but because it gets me up and out of the house on a Saturday.  I've taken on every piece of work that was offered to me and even added a few projects onto my own workload to make sure I didn't have any down time in the office.  Even simple tasks like getting oil changes, returning things to Target, and doing my grocery shopping have gotten done more efficiently than ever before.  Having the control to set a simple task and cross it off my list has just made this whole time more manageable. 

I even went to one of Josh's friend's weddings.  His friend was in the Navy and deployed the entire time we were dating so I had never met him and had only met the bride once before the wedding.  My coworkers kind of thought I was crazy for being so ok with it, but I knew I'd have fun despite it being out of my comfort zone so I just did it.  Added bonus - it took up an entire day in getting ready and attending!

So how do I feel after 7 months of this?  Productive.  Everything I've done has been positive and I know that I'll look back and be glad I've done all of those things.  More importantly though?  I can't wait to have those long lazy quite afternoons back and I know I'm going to appreciate and enjoy them one hundred times more when he's back.  

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

As usual, this has been a wonderful Christmas season.  It really is my favorite time of year.  The lights, the music, the movies and tv specials, spending time with family, lots of food and general relaxation.   Of course there are always those moments of hectic craziness thrown in, but overall I think there is no better time of year.

None of that has changed this year, but at the same time it is all quite different.  With my boyfriend so far away, those happy feelings have a slightly somber shadow now.  I've never celebrated Christmas with a significant other, but that was always by choice and not by circumstance.  Now, when I would love to do so, I can't.  We were able to skype this morning to open presents, but as nice as that was I still found myself tearing up multiple times.

It's funny that although I'm not doing anything different than I have in years past, it all feels so... wrong.  Not having him here to celebrate, to open gifts, to sit down to dinner... it just makes something that has been so normal for 27 years suddenly feel incomplete.

Of course I have to keep reminding myself that although it is miserable to be apart at this time a year, I am so lucky to feel as strongly as I do and to know that he feels the same.  There are hundreds of reasons why I wish this deployment didn't happen, but I cannot forget the fact that, without this, I may not have realized how much I truly want this person in my life.  I also know that every moment we spend together when he is home again will be appreciated a hundred times more because of all the moments we spent apart.

All of that being said, I still had a great Christmas.  I'm so grateful for everyone and everything I have in my life today.  Plus, It's really hard not to love Christmas when you get to watch a two year old open a million Frozen gifts and squeal with joy with every single one.

MacDonald Family Christmas Party

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My father's side of the family is pretty huge.  He was one of 8, with each of his siblings marrying and having 2-4 kids each.  It's next to impossible to see them all on Christmas itself, so we rotate hosting a family party each year.  Since my parent's house has been under constant construction over pretty much the last 10 years, it's been a while since we've hosted.

Now, with our basement (aka my bedroom) finished, and actual finished floors upstairs, we finally felt like we could have people over.

Of course we had to use my bedroom for the party so the bed was banished to an office and all the furniture was moved around so you could hardly tell I lived there :)

It was a great night over all.  Lots of food, a fun yankee swap, and my dad had a great idea of having everyone pitch in for a family donation. Everyone was invited to put in a charity of their choice and we pulled one at the end of the night.  We ended up raising $375 for the American Cancer Society.  I think that'll definitely be a tradition that will stick around.

One Year

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's hard to believe that my boyfriend and I have been together for one year today.  That's probably partly because we've actually been apart for 6 month of that, but also partly because that time has just flown by.

It's funny thinking back to the earliest days of our relationship.  He instantly impressed me with his coherent, non-creepy Match e-mail.  Those are (maybe not surprisingly) few and far between.  He mentioned Lost, my dog, and the Patriots all in a few sentences and he instantly caught my attention. We would talk via text for almost two weeks straight until we finally got to meet in person.  The rest was basically history.

Here we are a year later and 6000 miles apart, but I get no less giddy when I wake up to a message from him.  I get just as excited when I get to see him "in person" (aka skype).  I still roll my eyes just as much at his terrible jokes.

We still have a ways to go (131 days... not that I'm counting), but I'm eagerly looking forward to a time where we can actually celebrate something together instead of half way across the world from each other.

Anniversary date while eating lunch in my car

$60,000 in Debt: Month 7

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I SWEAR I'm going to blog about something other than this debt reduction, these are just such easy posts to do and actually thinking of something to write is much harder.  Things are finally quieting down around work though so I should have some time in the upcoming weeks to write.

Anyway, here's my November recap.  I am so so close to paying off my Discover Card.  Of course they have a 5% cash back deal for online shopping at the moment, so I've used that for all of my Christmas shopping this year.  It'll be a big payment at the end, but I just wanted that balance gone.  Luckily that will be done before the one year mark of having the card (February), so I won't have to worry about interest at any point on this card.

Although it still seems like so much debt, it's great to know that I've paid off almost $13k since May.  Also, this doesn't show the massive amounts of debt I paid off before May.  I'm not sure what that amount is, but I know that in 2013 I paid $6k ALONE in interest... of course my loans switched companies so I can't look back at my history, but I know I've made great progress in the last two years.