Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Checking in!

I am here. I am alive.

I have had an interesting month to say the least. I think I began the month depressed, feeling very much like doing absolutely nothing. I am doing much better right now. And it feels good to be out of that period. But I admit, I also feel like I need to cut back, do fewer things (but do those few things better than I have been). I like to do a million things, but I believe part of what happened was I had TOO much to do, too many places to be, just too much on my plate.

  • I closed my etsy store (maybe temporarily but maybe forever)
  • I limited activities and places to go to with the kids (this is definitely temporary but I needed to do this)
  • I have bowed out of some internet groups and similar on-line things I had participated in.
  • I have realized my family does not need 5 star dinners each night (which I've never been good at but I always plan these grand meals and then feel guilty when they don't happen. I plan simple, easy, but mostly healthy meals. I can do that without feeling like I'm rushing or being pulled in too many directions or getting frustrated if it doesn't happen. It's easy to substitute spaghetti for another simple meal that didn't happen that day.

I think this will be good for me.

I am trying to focus on:
  • keeping the house clean (I've never been good at it, but not I have time to focus on it!)
  • the children's schooling (which got a little lost with the holiday rush)
  • budgeting and saving money (because well, this year will be EXTREMELY tight financially. Every cent I can save is a HUGE help to the family)
  • learning to enjoy life more. I am too anxious. I need to relax. I need to unwind. I need to laugh more and enjoy more. I need to focus on the good and not only the bad.
  • being healthy

And so, those are my goals for a while. And those will be where my focus is for a while. I truly hope I can get a better handle on all of this - I don't want to be perfect. In fact, I already know I won't be perfect, but I want to be better.

So far in this new year I have almost completely cut out sugar from my diet. I am truly proud of myself because of this. Beyond proud. I won't tell you how I lived before January 1 - but it includes multiple cans of soda, lots of cookies, candy, snacks, and other crap. Aside from a few slips (which truly have been IMO minor) I have had no sugar each day - aside from one can of coke. Okay, so maybe not the best, but it's my favorite and I figured if I gave up everything I would be dooming myself to fail. But I am serious about this - I haven't eaten bread. Well actually I have given up wheat, dairy, gluten, peanuts, and all fruit. (mostly I am having yeast issues and I needed to cut ALL sugar, even those from healthy sources). This is interesting. I am essentially on the same diet as my 5 year old so I can really see things from her perspective. It's not that bad, although sometimes the cravings are SOOO bad! Although she does get fruit and I don't limit the sugar because most things that are safe for her have very little in them anyway and she's already given up soo much food.
I have been doing this for 7 days now. I still get a bit of craving, but they have tapered way off. I will not lie - the first night I woke up at about 4 am with one fo the worst headaches ever and my first thought was to get a can of coke, a cookie, some cake and then eat candy! My body did not appreciate the withdrawal like that.
I do not plan to stay on this diet forever. I believe in February I will start to bring back the wheat and dairy and sugar (it's in most breads people!) but I hope that I will have reset my palate enough to trust myself to eat it in moderation and get my sugar from my fruits and non-junk food items. We'll see how the yeast stuff is going though, because I can't bring it back until that is going better.

I have also started a gratitude journal (on paper with a real pen). I think this is good. My goal is to write just one thing each day that I am grateful for. Nothing fancy, just simple and nice and easy. Right now I am trying to take the "bad" parts and turn them into something to be grateful about. An example - Friday my husband had to work late. I was quite unhappy about it. But on Friday I wrote “Today I am grateful for my husband’s job – even though he is coming home late tonight – it is his job that pays our bills, houses us, clothes us, and feeds us. And we are lucky to that we do not have to worry about unemployment at this time”
I think this will be good for me. It will force me to think positively, if only for the five minutes I spend writing in it.

I believe I am starting 2008 off on a good foot. I hope I can keep this good footing for the entire year. I am still scared to death about how we will afford to survive this year (of course it doesn't help we are taking a vacation in July even though we technically shouldn't - but it's too see family. Important family and since tomorrow is promised to no one, we are getting really good at justifying the expense even though I still have no freaking clue how in the heck we will pay for it.) But I also think it is the right thing to take this trip and I am hoping something will happen.

Maybe my husband will actually get the raise I think he is due soon. Maybe his company will do so well this quarter that there will be a bonus. Maybe I will get another part-time job. Maybe I will get so good at saving money on groceries I can cut out grocery budget in half (so far this week I have cut it 75%!) and we can save money that way. Maybe we will get a tax return that we can stick into savings and label it vacation. Maybe my husband can sell his side business! Maybe winter will end early and we won't be paying a high as bill for as many months as we should. Lots of maybes are still floating out there. Lots of options to help cut spending (although just a little bit in a lot of categories, but it still all helps!). And I would like to think that at least a few of them will manage to happen to help us out. And I am trying to remain optimistic in this sense. And who really knows ... even the time to vacation (7 months!) so much can happen! And between now and December - again, so much can happen! We are not anywhere near where we were 12 months ago. We are in completely different spot than we were 6 months ago! So I try to remain hopeful about it all.

I'd like to think that as strongly as I feel taking this trip is the right thing to do, that something will happen to help us pay for it. Of course, I'm not sitting back waiting for money to fall from the sky, but you know, I just think that it will all come together in the end, so I am trying to not worry about it too much. Of course January is hard because the insurance deductibles reset, it's been cold so the gas bill will be high, gas prices have gone up, and all that jazz. My only comfort is that we did not overspend Christmas. We stayed within our budget. And when the credit card bill came in (with the holiday spending on it) we paid it without flinching. We simply have to transfer the Christmas funds from the savings account to the checking account. We also have been saving every month for car insurance and life insurance - both due this month. And again, it felt SO good to not have to worry about them. To just pay the bill and transfer the money over from savings.

For having the foresight to do that brings me so much joy (and we've never done that before, but the Financial Peace classes we took, talked about this very thing and I'm so glad we got it). This has to be one of the first times we haven't had to scramble to pay these yearly/twice yearly bills. That feels so incredibly wonderful to me.

Anyway, I have rambled so much tonight. I apologize for that, but there was so much on my mind, so much to share, so much to talk about it to get in this blog!


Smoov said...

Funny that you mentioned the journal. I was at the bookstore recently with my daughter who was there to spend her gift certificates. Normally I can't leave a bookstore without a book but this time I decided that since I had a stack of 3 books going at home I would not get yet another one. I bought a really lovely journal, to write in, with a pen! I have missed writing, I like the comfort of seeing my words on a page in my own handwriting. I like seeing how entries begin neat and end up messy as I become filled with words and my hand can't keep up. Anyway, I need to take a photo of it and share. I love the idea of the gratitude journal too. I need to add little bits on my pages about my own gratitude.

Good luck with your 2008!

Smoov said...

I tagged you. Go read my blog :)