2017 has been challenging to say the least. I won't go into detail here, but I'll just say it's been real, and I'm not sad to see the year go. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been all bad. Caleb and I have had a lot of fun this year, but I just feel like most of the year was stress. I don't know how I have hair left, to be honest. Here are some things I learned. (These are lessons I learned, but the examples do not reflect my own experiences this year.
1) Don't settle.
2) Don't go into debt.
3) Being generous is great. Just make sure you aren't screwing yourself over when you decide to be.
4) Adventure. Adventure. Adventure!
1) Don't settle. Not for your job. Not for the car you drive. Not for anything. And when I say don't settle for your job, I don't mean don't settle for a starting position when you think you could be a manager. If you find a starting position at the company you want to work at, take it. But don't settle for staying in that starting position. There is always room for improvement. Also, when I say not to settle for the car you drive, I don't mean go buy a Porsche you're going to default on within a month because you've always wanted a Porsche. I mean do what is going to be best for you in the long term. Which leads right into number 2..
2) Don't go into debt. If you're very good at managing your money and creating a budget, you could probably get away with this one. I did for a long time. You can put your car insurance or your utility bill on your credit card and just pay it off every month. It boosts your credit score, you can get a lot of miles on it, and it can benefit you a lot. BUT, if you let it get out of control - not just credit cards - it can eat you alive. You'll wind up like one of the millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck just trying to stay afloat with $.37 left to their name after they've paid their bills. Just because there's $200 leftover in your budget every month doesn't mean it needs to be going towards a payment on something. Save it. Pay off debt. Get out of debt. Have 75% of your paycheck available to save and spend on whatever it is you want to buy.
3) Being generous is great. Just make sure you aren't screwing yourself over when you decide to be. If you have some extra crap laying around you don't need and won't use, you can sell it. If it's not worth selling, or would take too much effort, you can give it to goodwill or a church. But when your friend calls and says they need $100. Make damn sure you aren't just giving them $100 because they decided to blow their grocery money on a new pair of shoes. Let them learn their lesson. Also, if you're going to buy or sell something from a friend or family member on payments - write up a contract and get it notarized. It seems petty, especially for family, but it can wind up saving you a lot of headache and resentment. Besides, if they aren't willing to sign a contract, it's either because they were planning to screw you over, or because they were planning to screw you over. Either way, they probably don't really need what you're selling, and you can probably sell it to someone else who is willing to sign for it. Don't let saving someone's feelings come back to bite you in the butt.
4) Adventure. Adventure. Adventure! This one might just be me and some of you like me. Adventure is what keeps me sane. I need a little bit of adventure in my life. I need to go camping, or go on a road trip that's just for fun. I need some "me" time. "Me" time at home taking a bath with no one talking to me is pretty great. But "me" time on a kayak in a river several hours from home is even better - even if I'm with someone. Hike a 14er. Go camping. Go on a road trip to see friends in the next state for the weekend. Get a cheap plane ticket to Las Vegas for the weekend. Take a break from work and go somewhere.
I don't usually do the whole New Years Resolution New Year New Me thing. Instead, I have a list of outlandish tasks to accomplish. In 2015 one of my goals was to fist fight a shark. It was a joke, but it just so happened that I went swimming with nurse sharks in Belize. I tapped one with my fist and claimed it as a win. Kick a pigeon was also on my list. I made contact with one in Venice, Italy. Score. Get launched from a trebuchet was also on my list for the year. Thankfully, I didn't manage that one. But those were two of my most proud moments for the year. I'm pathetic, I know.
As exciting as it was for me to kick a pigeon and kinda punch a shark, I think I'll set some goals that are a little more realistic this year.
1) Renew my passport. - Honestly, I've been meaning to do this since Caleb and I got married. I just haven't done it yet. It's only $100, but since we don't have any international trips coming up, there hasn't been a reason to do it. I want to renew my passport so I'm one step closer to crossing a border.
2) Get. Out. Of. Debt. - I feel like this one is self-explanatory.
3) Find a profitable side hustle. - We all want some extra money. I'd like to find a side hustle good enough that I can turn it into a job after Caleb and I have kids. I don't want to be stuck doing shift work the rest of my life. I want to home school my kids, make my own schedule, and take vacations when I want. How glorious would that be?
4) Go on more adventures. - Caleb and I went camping and we did some road trips for no apparent reason other than why not. But not nearly enough for my tastes. I want to fill our summer up with random adventures and road trips.
5) Buy a house. - I've never wanted so badly to own a house as when I'm sitting at work, scrolling through pinterest, saying, "Oh, that would be great to do in our backyard!" only to remember I don't have a backyard. Once we get some debt taken care of, I'm sure we'll be finding a house to buy.
That's about all I have for now. I wish everyone luck in achieving their own goals or new years resolutions this year. I'll be posting more throughout the year to let everyone know what goals I've met!