Friday, January 2, 2015

The Last 10 Years

A friend of mine posted on facebook that he was glad to see a year with a 5 in it. The last time we had a year with a 5 in it was 10 years ago.

I began to think back 10 years.


It was 3 years before I started to blog.

The husband and I took an official honeymoon in March on a shoestring budget to Niagara Falls and Toronto. We left the 2 year old in the care of my parents and brother. We stayed in the cheapest hotel and only spent money on food. It was cold and the Maid of the Mist wasn't running. There was ice on the falls. We enjoyed being tourists, but the only attraction we could afford was one of the arcades. This was the highlight of my year. It was the first thing that popped into my head when I thought of the year '05.

I graduated from college in May. This was not the first thing that popped into my head, because I didn't attend my college graduation. I didn't want to sit through the speeches alone. My family would not be attending. It wasn't a big deal.

How you do homework with a toddler

We moved back to our home city to be near family. It was an old house we rented near a big college football stadium. It was okay except for fall homecoming. Band music, cheering, lights, drunken college kids; not my thing. I'd just left that behind. In fact, I never went to any homecoming in high school or college. Sports are not my thing.

I worked that summer taking care of adults with special needs in a group home, driving for an hour to the location. Later, I would switch companies to be closer to home.

I missed the window for interviewing in this county's school system and began to substitute teach in the fall. I picked up a job right away as an education assistant working one-on-one with a boy in a wheelchair. I enjoyed this job. I enjoyed working in the group homes, too, even though it was much harder and much more stressful. I feel...useful, fulfilled, knowing I am helping people.

Sometime in that year I think I made homemade applesauce. I don't even like applesauce. I think my son ate most of it.

In the winter, we filed for bankruptcy when our house didn't sell. We took care of some stupid debt mistakes, including surrendering my car which we were paying too much for. It was a rough time of learning, growing up, and being adults. I think the next 2 years were even rougher, though. Maybe even the next 7 years.
It was a rough year, one of lessons learned.

2005 was the beginning of rock bottom. I was whiny, insecure, immature, couldn't see my dreams through all the stormy clouds of life. I deleted most of those blog posts from '08 and '09 and '10, etc. They were embarrassing, or too revealing; unprofessional.

2014 was a pretty good year compared to '12 and '13. It started a little rough, with my learning what it was like to have a difficult student and feeling like a failure. I graduated from the next phase of my college classes. I put that Spring semester behind me and jumped into a new school year with both feet. I redesigned my classroom, my schedule, and rejoiced in the new challenges that would come. I felt ready, but still armored up with the knowledge that things could change at any moment.

And here it is, 2015.

I bought a new planner and organized my time into it. I set a time for workouts, for lesson planning, for dinner, for me-time, for date time, for writing time, and for homework. I know things will happen to interrupt my planned schedule, but having things planned gives me freedom to accept those changes.

It also helps me set goals. My family now knows I workout at 5. They encourage me not to miss it. Having a set time frees me up to choose how to spend it. I can Wii Zumba, use the elliptical and do some bodyweight exercises, or punch the new punching bag in my living room. (The boys are loving that punching bag, by the way.) I can decide if I want a cardio day, a strength day, a stretching day, a dance day, or a mix-of-whatever day. One day the weather will be nice again and I can start biking, walking the dog, jogging, and outside exercises.

The expert say to take small steps to reach a goal. They say to set goals. Setting a time for a workout and planning my day is a small, but very important step to achieving something awesome.

When I thought back to that weekend trip in 2005, I also recalled that we wanted to take the boys there on a vacation someday. We've been talking a lot about that elusive word, 'vacation', and how it compares to 'trip'. I am hoping that my new scheduling/organizing skills will spill over to saving skills and more wise choices that result in a 'trip' or a 'vacation' or both.

Hey, gas prices are back down to the same that they were in 2005... and I am in a better financial place. How did we do it back then? Have enough to go on a weekend excursion? If we did it 10 years ago, we can stubbornly do it again. Determination. Goals. Dreaming Big.

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