Thursday, December 20, 2012

Final Review Before the End of the World

Well, I know I have a month left, but I think I've done about as much as I can this year with Christmas just around the corner.

So, one last time for old time's sake....

#1 - Quit Smoking = BAM. Quitted. Pwned. Bitchslapped into insignificance. I am now 111 days smoke free, and adding in 50 days from earlier this year, the grand stretch total is about 161, meaning that on New Year's Eve I'll be going into 2013 having half a year of not smoking under my belt (and more importantly, in my lungs). I feel great, and going forward I just don't see it being an issue. One of my largest triggers is of course going to be going home for the holidays, a stressful time of the year but nothing new. And I've lately gotten through Thanksgiving without smoking, and one of my friends came down for the weekend and despite her smoking, I never caved in and bummed one. And now that I'm home (woo!) for Christmas, I'm slowly but surely checking off a whole shit ton of triggers that I don't deal with on a regular basis, something that I've learned is more dangerous than the usual ones I deal with all the time, such as: drinking with my best friend, driving around doing nothing for hours, sleeping on a twin size bed, being in a ski area with no slopes that are open, and just the usual holiday madness such as finishing shopping that used to call for a long, long drag of a cigarette. (Also, since the beginning of this post, I've reached 126 days.

#2 - Positive networth = SOUND EFFECT. I paid the shit out of student loanage this year, and with the stock market finally starting to expand and stabilize, I'm pretty stoked to say that I now have zero credit card debt, a small emergency fund, and my assets are worth more than my liabilities. I also bought a house at a time when loans and home prices were rock bottom, so the odds of that investment losing any value are slim to none, and the mortgage payment is so low its barely even worth mentioning. I'm on track to have my student loans and car loan paid off by my target date of September 2014, and that is a very good thing.

#3 - Travel more = I traveled! This was always going to be a hard one to quantify, but I've gone to a few different local cities, hiked more than I have any other year, and have just generally been more apt to say "fuck it, I'm going on a road trip" than years past. Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, the Whitewater Center near Charlotte, different restaurants in between, train rides, I have definitely been out and about a lot more than I ever have, and I believe this is going to go on as long  as its fiscally feasible.

#4 - Write More = RIGHT! I came, I typed, I conquered. So what do I have? Mostly just a few papers, this blog, and oh yeah, half a fucking novel I wrote in a month. Which admittedly sounds a lot less impressive than an entire novel, but seeing as how I went in with absolutely no plan or outline, hammering out 23,000 words in a month (okay, I was lazy for chunks of that month, but regardless) was actually not as difficult a feat as I thought it would be, mostly since I haven't written any sort of fiction for at least a decade. One thing I found really awesome was that it encouraged me to turn to other creative outlets I had been neglecting for a while, such as playing the guitar.

#5 - Run a marathon - SHIT! I can come up with a dozen excuses for not getting this done, but seeing as how I started off the year by running a half marathon in February, I have absolutely no GOOD excuses for not having accomplished this. A lot of people I've talked to have kind of scoffed at the idea of me seeing not completing a marathon as a bad thing, but this is something I had figured on doing in the beginning of the year, and instead of building off the half marathon, I slacked, and I slacked, until a month before my corrective eye surgery, and then got even more off track after two weeks of taking pain killers and drinking scotch. And watching Breaking Bad in its (near) entirety, but I digress. I think this puppy is gonna get recycled for next year, like most of the Eagles' coaching staff.

So, what have I learned?

Mostly, that the difference between wanting to do something and getting it done means actually doing something, not a foreign idea to me at all but one that the constant drive to complete these things (or in the case of the novel, make a pretty good dent in). And I do think that writing down goals and working to achieve them caused me to focus on them WAY more than I would have otherwise.

All that being said, these are now things that are a part of my life. Not using my credit card sounds like an easy thing to do, but when I went to get off that train entirely, it means that I need to have my own savings, and more importantly, NOT use that savings to get those sweet Sonos speakers I've always wanted. It means not charging any Christmas or presents, or car repairs, or even home improvements/updates. In fact, the only time I used my credit card in the past four months has been when I accidentally used it to buy aspirin and to avoid having a $100 held off my debit card at a hotel in Savannah. And what that means is that I don't owe people more money, and that the money I take in can go to old debts, not trying to keep myself from being dug in deeper. And I wouldn't have been at that hotel in Savannah if I had a shit ton of debt and hadn't saved for it. And I probably wouldn't have had that extra money if I hadn't quit smoking for 3 months prior to that. And I'm pretty sure that if I had managed to run that marathon, I would have been crediting quitting smoking for that. Really, the only thing on this list that I can't chalk up as some of intertwined bit is the write/create more one, but hell, maybe this actually did help.

Anyway, to everyone that actually read this, thank you. I'm still thinking of one more resolution to add for next year, but before the clock strikes midnight, I'll detail how I plan to achieve each of the ones I have already written for next year.

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