Monday, January 7, 2013

Resolutions, New Start, New Beginnings...

Okay, it is January, and it doesn't take much effort to find articles or posts with some or all of the above in their title.  For some reason, this year, I have found it annoying.  I usually make one or more resolutions, but not this go round.  My new year is not going to be much different than my old year.  This year, I just prefer to stay the course, and continue on the same path.  Just now, writing this, I feel like maybe I have grown up a little.

Huh, who would have thought?

Instead of finishing my year with a list of things that I want to be better at, I finished with a list of things that I have managed to get under control, and a pretty clear view of where I am headed.  Before you send me nasty emails, you should know that I am not bragging.  The last year was rough.  You should also know that just because I see a clear path to where I want to go, the between here and there is not a paved road.  In some areas, the road hasn't even been built yet.  Still, from where I sit, I am not bothered by that.  Before, it would have driven me crazy.  You see, I like to have a plan.  A list.  A set of goals to get me from A to B.  I am mental like that.

Maybe my new-found outlook is because my year ended with a lesson in making practical decisions.  Or, making impractical decisions?  At a minimum, defining what is practical and what is not practical.  I did focus in on the things that are important to me, and armed with that information, tailored my life and finances to take care of those things.  Pondering all these aspects of my life, cleared up some of the fog and confusion surrounding other parts of my life.  It was hard, but in January, so worth it.


Most of you know the details, but for the rest of you that are thinking, "Awful early to be drinking..."
I'll give you the brief rundown.  Last year started with an illness to my horse and an injury to my dog.  Not to mention a drought and another swarm of grasshoppers, and mosquitoes, and bees.  Quite busy last year.  The horse progressed nicely, and is actually about to get her last round of x-rays this month.  The dog improved and managed to compensate for her injury.  The weather prevented any crops from being planted. The rest was...a lot.  We managed to survive to fall, and at the first freeze, the dog didn't do so well.  She had made it with the warmth, but the cold really got her and she suffered the final blow to the injured leg.  I took her to the vet and was faced with leg surgery now and leg surgery later (now the other leg is going) or medicating her until she couldn't make it any longer and putting her down.  This would be the practical decision, but...well.  Do I have to say more?

If I wasn't looking at her, my head would make the practical decision.  To be around her, my heart made the other one.  So much so, that I deferred the decision to the Man in Charge.  Just pick, and I won't hold it against you.  After discussing it, we all agreed that it was not practical to do surgery.  We could agree on that, but putting her down was not an option we liked either.  So, if you make impractical decisions, what happens?  We are practical people.  We have tried to teach our kids that if you make bad decisions, you have to suffer the consequences, what ever they are.  What are the consequences of investing a nice chunk of change into the dog?  

Serious tightening of the financial belt.

We spent about a week talking about it, and once we decided to go ahead and do it, I really started reevaluating things in my life.  First, I started looking at all the things I have, that I don't use.  Sold most of them.  Then I went through my closet and looked at all the things that don't fit any longer.  Sold.  Then I took a hard look at my budget and got very realistic about need and want.  By the time she had her surgery, I had almost half of the money from sold items.  With that and budgeting, she had her surgery on November 7th and we had covered it by December 23rd.  Now this made it a lean Christmas, but going in, we all agreed it was worth it.  We were able to avoid the marketing hype of the retail industry and look at what we valued.  Which was more than a little refreshing.

I never stepped foot in a mall.

I also had to reevaluate my time.  I was very worried about Flower going into surgery.  I was worried about her pain and her recovery.  I spent the first month very close to home.  By the way, lot easier to save money if you don't go anywhere.  The month of December was better as far as my concern for how she was feeling, but worse as far as the time I spent managing her.  She was feeling too good, and the risk of injury went up.  I am now in January, and we have about one more month to go before we are out of the woods as far as injuring what we have repaired.  Then we will move into a phase of increased mobility.  The time part is what I really misjudged.  My days have revolved around medication schedules, walking the dog, feeding the dog, taking the dog out to do her business, etc.  A lot about the dog.  Plus, I have two other dogs that have been acting like dogs act if they feel someone is getting something they aren't.  We have had hunger strikes, and all of them show up for medicine now.  It must be a treat, right?  The latest progression is that I now have two dogs fighting each other to nap in the kennel, and Flower doing everything she can to stay out of the kennel.  At a minimum they are keeping me entertained.

So, you see, I am just going to keep doing what I have been.  No need for the financial resolutions, already made those changes.  No need for the spending quality time with the family resolutions, already doing that.  No need for the diet change or more exercise, already doing that.  Where I want my life to go hasn't changed in years, but how exactly I will get be determined.  I have a couple of ideas, now just have to put in the work.  Nothing scary about that.  Maybe this post should be titled How to never make another New Year's Resolution.  I like it, and I want it to stay this way.

Before you think, "how boring".  You should know that my new year is starting out with a little twist.  You see, my labor force is growing up and moving on.  My Part-Part Timer never shows up for work anymore.  She visits, but doesn't bring her coveralls or work gloves.  Who does she think she's kidding?  My Full-Timer is going to start another job.  Actually this is her first week of training, and she will be gone all week.  She is moving on to the city life, and I know she is excited about her future.  I too, am excited about her future, but this has left a lot of my friends asking me what am I going to do now?

Well, let me tell you.  Probably not going to produce another employee.  If I could come up with one an easier way, I may consider it.  A boy preferably.  I have worked girls, and it would be fun to see the other side.  This is probably out of the question though.  Unless I can find some to borrow?  This leaves me going it alone.  Of course I have the Man in Charge to bug for the big jobs, and don't forget my favorite brother lives close by.  That should cover the really big chores.  The rest will just be up to me.

I have friends and family that are really concerned about me now.  They think I will fall apart all alone.  You know, the empty nest syndrome.  Then there are those that are sure that I will injure myself and be left laying out somewhere until someone comes looking for me...which is possible.  What they don't realize is something that has crossed my mind more than once in the last few months.  The last 25 years I have been raising my labor force.  Not complaining.  Wouldn't change it for the world.  I know there are still going to be times that they need me, and I will be there in a heart-beat, but 25 years is over half my life.  More than half people!!!  I was too young and way too stupid the last time I was at this stage in life to put it to good use.  Now is completely different, and not to sound rude or calloused, but....


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