Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: How did we do?

A year ago today, this blog didn't exist.  I was getting settled into Houston, and had recovered from -- but was still bitter about -- the canceled marathon.  I was beginning to strike a balance between living close to my family and boyfriend, and having me time, something that had been strangely difficult in my first few months back.  But I was getting there.

Today I write this from a lived-in apartment.  I just had breakfast with Holly, and tonight I'll ring in the new year with my Big Bend crew, the we-have-no-shame-we're-a-band-of-couples couples friends.  A lot happened this year -- the marathon, a baller Lights in the Heights party, Michael's MS150 ride, a million weddings including Israel, San Francisco, and upstate New York… and without sounding like a giant jerk (because let's face it, this was a self indulgent year, to say the least), it all makes me want to take a deep breath and sigh in exhausted relief.

Before I greet 2014, I want to revisit how 2013 wrapped up: How about those resolutions? ...you know, the ones that started this blog?  How did I make out?

Resolution #1: I resolved to spend less than my budget this year.  Yes, and no.  
Yes -- I spent less money than I made overall, and saved a whopping 16% of my income!  
No -- I did not come under my budget in every category.  Here's a final look:

These percentages represent the money I've spent this year in each category as compared to its allocation.  (For example, I allocated $800 to "home," but ended up spending $1,066 over the course of the year.  1,066 is 133% of 800.)   As you can see, I went over my budget in several categories -- vacation, food, transportation, alcohol & entertainment, clothes, miscellaneous, and home -- and per these categories, I did not come in under my budget. Fortunately (per planning and monitoring), the total of my over-spending wasn't enough to push me over my total income, thanks to a little extra money I earned over the year.

I learned a lot from my budget this year -- reflections that could make a post of their own -- but mostly I learned that it's possible to live the way I want, when I consciously think about my priorities, and more than that, I enjoy the stuff in my life a lot more when there's less of it. 
Resolution #2: I resolved to become a "qualitarian." I did!  This was the year of the farmer's market, the year of consciously choosing my meats and veggies.  I didn't go the whole year without junk food (or even fast food -- Dairy Queen and McDonald's both made their way into my diet more than once), but I definitely moved to making quality food my baseline, my everyday.

Resolution #3: I resolved to get in shape.  I didn't specify the marathon when I wrote this resolution a year ago, but… check.

Resolution #4: I resolved to keep my eyes up!  The sad part about this resolution is that, though I swear I remember making it, there's no written trace.  While every other resolution got its own post last year, this one -- which by the way is referring to keeping my eyes UP away from my phone -- was sadly cast aside.  A resolute failure.  (I guess this failure really supports the idea that writing down resolutions is the key to achieving them.)

Resolution #5: I resolved to start a blog.  Yep!

I hope you have a happy wrap-up tonight.  I hope you take a little time to reflect, in whatever way makes meaning for you.  I hope, whether you're sipping on champagne or watching the ball drop or going to bed early, that you feel the fresh start of the New Year creeping in.

Happy New Year!

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