Starting the New Year Off Right – First Bullet Post of 2014

I had really hoped to write at least one or two more blog posts before the conclusion of 2013, but a confluence of events, beginning with a sinus infection for me, morphing into a really rough illness for G, and then a stomach virus (me), combined with family visiting from afar, meant that many things had to take a back seat at the end of the year. For the first time in my life as a grown-up, my Christmas decorations are still up (I usually take them down on New Year’s Eve), many Christmas cards are scattered about the the house, unsent, and we aren’t as prepared for this baby boy as I would ideally prefer although, certainly, if he were to be born today he’d have everything he needs. My brain feels rather cluttered, but there is nothing like a bullet blog post to organize my thoughts!

* Despite concerns I presented in this blog weeks ago, our Christmas was absolutely lovely. I could say it didn’t “go” as smoothly as I had hoped, but by that I mean such *small* things – like, we didn’t make it to Christmas Eve service because family members faced such travel struggles simply getting to us that by the time everyone was under one roof, we didn’t want to leave each other. I got to step back and watch G begin to really form relationships with her grandparents and her aunts and uncles, and I loved every minute of it. Our holiday was full of cooking and relaxing togethers and a little lighter on traditional Christmas activities than usual, but I know it is one I will remember positively for the rest of my life, which, after our last few family holidays, is really such a joyous statement to be able to make.

* Last year, my main New Year’s resolution was significantly improved fiscal responsibility. I did fairly well in this area for several months but things sort of fell apart in October during my mother in law’s stay with us when my purse was stolen and I had to put a fraud alert on my account and our bills got messed up, only to be quickly followed by my account being screwed up thanks to the Target breach as well. On the plus side, we paid off a couple of bills, one of my student loans will be paid off this month, we made significant improvement on our house, and paid for most minor crises (car troubles, house troubles) with cash. We also saved money for Christmas and even had a small bit leftover! On the negative side we still carry credit card balances and I don’t feel like I have good sense of budget – I also feel like the bill-related paper work in our house is ludicrous, so this is an area I plan to concentrate on again in 2014 with renewed vigor.

*For a long time, I beat myself over the state of our finances. I felt this was one area we should constantly be doing better than we were and I wrapped up parts of my identity in in the way other people wrap up their identity with their weight. Ian has helped me settle down about this somewhat, pointing out that we paid for most of our educations ourselves and we chose to have kids – two separate choices many of our friends and family haven’t made. We prioritized education and are still paying for that priority, but I have absolutely no regrets about it – and I wouldn’t change motherhood for anything in the world. To that end, instead of constantly choosing to look at our financial situation and think we don’t have enough, I’m instead working on changing my attitude and offering thanks when I handle our finances – thanks that we can afford a home and children and our bills. Coach bags, diamond earrings and extravagant vacations might not be a part of our lives, but our lives are infinitely rich and blessed and gorgeous. Changing the way I look at money has actually made me quite a bit better with it – a skill I hope to build on in 2014!

*Other than that, my only resolution for this year is more of a mantra than anything else: day by day. I intend, quite simply, to take this year day by day. Knowing what kind of chaos a newborn can bring, I really want to focus this year on establishing, in the words of our pediatrician, our family’s “new normal.” I’ve given myself permission to cease worrying about postpartum weight loss or my writing or my career for one full year and instead concentrate on the growth of our family from three members to four. If we rebound particularly well and I have the focus and energy to move outside of this mantra then I absolutely will, but if I don’t that’s okay too.

*Which brings me to this blog. When I started this space this time last year, I did so needing a more anonymous space from which to write. I shared my old blog with too many friends and family members over the years and gradually began writing from a place of fear (what will my mother think if I reference my past smoking? What will my cousin think of my interpretation of our uncle’s death? Etc) I posted 34 times over the course of the year and while it was difficult in a way to leave my previous, somewhat established blog and watch much of my readership collapse, it’s been a wonderful decision overall. My readership here is steadily, quietly growing, I am able to experiment with subjects I want to write about (some succeed, some fail) and I’m able to use the blog to write around the edges of my life. It is tempting to create some lofty ambitions for this space in 2014 – I have so many ideas – but whenever I start ruminating on those ideas I remind myself day by day. There will be time enough for a loftier blog in the future.

* I started the year off reading Game of Thrones.Initially I thought it might end up being too complex in terms of number of characters and plots happening at once for this pregnant lady’s brain to handle but I decided to go forward anyway and I’m glad I did – parts of it are the tiniest bit campy but otherwise it’s the perfect January read – I enjoy starting the year off reading a “chunkster” and this book completely transports the reader to a different world -I’m glad I finally decided to tackle it.

*My television watching has slowed to a crawl in recent months which is never a bad thing, but I thought I’d give a quick shout out to two programs I enjoyed in the fall – The Black List on NBC and the Crazy Ones on CBS – both excellent shows that continue to uphold my theory you can never have too much James Spader or Robin Williams in your life.

I hope your 2014 is off to a wonderful start, whether you are taking it day by day, like I am, or whether you have larger ambitions for the year. I am looking forward to another year of blogging in this space – thanks so much for reading, commenting, liking and all the other sundry internetish actions we take to show we like one another – we really LIKE one another!

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6 thoughts on “Starting the New Year Off Right – First Bullet Post of 2014

  1. I am so glad to hear you had a wonderful Christmas! You also have some fine resolutions and the year seems to be off to a good start. And yay for Game of Thrones! All the best to you in 2014!

  2. Your Christmas sounds absolutely lovely. Mine was quiet, but perfectly acceptable, and involved both travel and time with friends. Perfect.

    Day by day seems reasonable to me as an approach to the year unfolding before us. I have more it’s-a-new-year energy than usual, but it still has to be harnessed to all the routines and challenges of individual days.

    I think I have seven resolutions for 2014. I wrote them down, but just now I can’t put my hands on the list. I think that may be a good thing!

  3. Happy, happy New Year, dear Courtney! I have every possible faith in you to work through this transition with all your trademark gentleness and wisdom. Going day by day sounds the perfect approach, and what I remember from having a newborn is that you don’t go anywhere or do anything for a while and so you end up spending less money than normal! I’m so glad Christmas went off well – ours was surprisingly all right, too, and it was such a relief. Family are very dear, but don’t always feel they have to hide or manage the difficult parts of themselves, the way loving friends will do. Which just makes them a bit… unpredictable, which is the last thing you need with small children who redefine unpredictability! 🙂

  4. Belated happy new year! One day at a time is an excellent goal. I decided not to make any new year resolutions this year as I feel as if I already put too much pressure on myself to constantly strive after one thing or another- but a friend said to me (about something else) “do what you can, when you can” and I thought that made quite a lot of sense.

  5. Stefani – and to you as well!
    Shoreacres – losing your resolutions is probably the best thing you could do! You internalized them, now you can forget them! I love it!
    Litlove – so happy to hear you had an enjoyable holiday – you earned it after the year you’ve had! I’m looking forward to following all you tackle in 2014!
    Ms. Make Tea – I think I’ll incorporate that into my worldview for the year – it goes beautifully …do what you can, when you can, day by day! Happy 2014 to you!

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