Monday, December 31, 2012

Be It Resolved...

Usually, I don't make my resolutions until my birthday (on the 6th), but since I took a look at the week ahead of me, I realized that I wouldn't have time. Since I'm procrastinating cleaning (yes, Mom, again. I know, you're so ashamed, yet not in the least bit surprised), what better time than now to think about what I want from the new year?!?! This year, I'm going to keep it simple... by resolving one thing that encompasses EVERYTHING.

Stay On Top of Things

While not the most eloquent resolution, I really believe we are in a place where we can confidently approach each obstacle and challenge in the coming year in a proactive rather than reactive manner. Sure, there will still be things that can knock us off course, but having certain safety nets and plans already in place either to combat the problem, or at least keep the rest of our life together as we face it should ensure that we aren't continuously reduced to wailing on the couch from under the safety of a blanket, refusing to come out, even for food... acting like an adult might be on slate for next year's resolutions!

Some of my ideas for staying ahead in the new year include:
  • Rebuilding our financial safety net to help weather the financial implications of any obstacles we're likely to face, including enough money to cover our income for 3 months for both of us, or 6 months for one of us (will be completed: February 22nd)
  • Create a budget binder to reduce the number of middle-of-the-night "Did you pay the phone bill" incidents (will be completed: January 2nd)
  • Continue using a joint Google calendar (synced with phone) to keep track of important dates that can be referenced anywhere (already implemented)
  • Make healthy options more accessible by prepping salads, snacks, etc., as part of the "putting groceries away" routine (to be implemented after grocery shopping January 2nd)
  • Plan out outfits ahead of time, and set them out the night before to avoid the "where is my black tank top? No, not that one, the other one! Get out of my way!" morning fights (to be implemented: in time for first day of work, January 3rd)
  • Create "Summer Wish List" so we don't spend beautiful days researching what to do, rather than actually doing them (will be completed: by the May Long Weekend)
  • Start shopping for Christmas strategically. IE: get Brother-in-law's camping supplies at the end of summer, etc. (will be completed: by mid-November)
  • Purge regularly to avoid too full storage spaces spewing out into living areas (to be implemented January 1st, as we put Christmas presents away)
  • And yes, Mom, put away things as soon as we're done with them, so when "cleaning day" rolls around, it means scrubbing toilets, not stumbling over last weeks hamper of clean laundry, still not folded an put away (implemented: by the end of today)
Even if we aren't able to get 100% on this one, surely we'll be able to have some success with it! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Moments to reflect

I'm in a nice quiet limbo... we've finished most of our Christmas celebrations (4 Christmas dinners down, 1 to go), but we're not yet at the rapid dash from new year, through returning to work and ending at my and my sister's birthdays. It's a nice time to reflect.

And of course, procrastinate on the cleaning and undecorating I should be doing.

It's really hard for me to look back on 2012. The year started in such a dark place for me, and while leaving a job that was not only soul crushing but that didn't even cover our bills was probably the moment I should be most proud of, and the catalyst for our life actually moving forward, it seems so far removed from how we will be ending this year that I can barely recognize it as something I went through.

2012 was a building year for us. We started the year un(der)employed, exhausting our savings, and crossing our fingers every time we booted our computer or started our car. We are ending it in stable careers we both love, within a couple weeks of rebuilding our financial safety net, and with new cameras, computers and cars.

My largest complaint all year was that we were in a holding pattern, and now our life is moving forward with such purpose, it's dizzying.

And that's why I'm enjoying my nice quiet limbo, reflecting on our progress instead of the cleaning and undecorating I should be doing. We have a lot to be proud of, and a lot of blessing to count. 


Friday, December 21, 2012

A Week of Red

I love the week leading up to Christmas. I get far too excited, to the point where I make myself sick. Grade 4 Christmas pageant? Spent that in a feverish daze. Grade 7 Family Gathering? High on pain killers post-oral surgery. First Christmas as a Grad Student? H1N1. It's not surprising that currently, I'm head to toe in hives (an overdose of hot chocolate and Christmas oranges likely to blame). But it takes a lot to get me down.

I'm decreeing this week as the week of RED, wearing red every work day to keep some holiday cheer as we scramble to wrap up loose ends before campus closes down for the holiday season.

Monday:

Christmas outing:
Last trip to the grocery store before heading out to family gatherings.

Tuesday:

Christmas outing:
Christmas Lunch for our office

Wednesday:

Christmas outing:
Gift exchange for our department and Christmas party for Scott's workplace

Yes, I was dressed Thursday for my last day of work, but a very adorable baby projectile vomited on me repeatedly at a Christmas party before I could take pictures.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Early Christmas break

There's been a bit of radio silence here in my "closet." Scott asked me the other day why I make Christmas such a to-do, and while it's because I really LOVE Christmas, I also recognize that between my crazy festive plans and schedules and the general stress of our latest purchase (we just bought our first car... An important step in cutting the apron strings from our parents that is long overdue but an important step to take nonetheless.) I've probably contributed to the fact Scott just doesn't get all crazy over Christmas like I do. Rather than waiting for Scott to sit me down and teach me the word "no" like he has to every year, I'm scaling back on my obligations. While I hope to have time to read (but maybe not comment) and perhaps stop in once or twice (and show you the new car -- once I stop stressing over it long enough to sleep through the night), if I don't get a chance, have the merriest of Christmas and happier of new year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Embracing the Christmas spirit

Being the bigger person is something many of us pride ourselves for being. I'd hazard to guess if we are truly honest with ourselves, we are really only the bigger person some of the time.  I'm not immune from the cries of martyrdom when I let someone walk all over me, despite how I might have acted, or what I might have said to someone else only minutes before.

It's not a trend I'm proud of, but it is a trend I'm aware of. And because I find I'm more and more coming under fire in these situations, and lauding myself for being the "bigger person" by not, essentially, standing up for myself, only to turn around and resort of passive aggressive behaviours, I want to stop the cycle of these catty attacks. For the month of December, I'm going to try to focus only on the good in people.

December is a good month for this exercise -- while I identify with the Christian leanings of the yuletide season, a belief system which is increasingly less popular and increasingly mocked within my work and social circles, the message of peace, joy and love that are plastered on civic street decorations, lingering in the lyrics to Christmas carols blared through malls and smacking us in the face at the end of made-for-tv holiday movies know no religious bounds. Rather than waiting until the arbitrary flipping of the calendar to make my new year's resolutions, why not embrace the root of the Christmas season?

Being the bigger person is not about letting someone walk all over you, it's about not walking all over others. It's about spending less time licking your own wounds and more time ensuring you aren't inflicting wounds on others. It's not just about standing tall when other's tear you down, it's about building other people up.