After turning down several new years invites and insisting that I wanted to spend a quiet night safe at home with my family and turn in by 10 pm, I relented when my parents called and invited us out to dinner. So we spent last night at my parents' favorite place sharing a meal, all 8 of us. It was really nice. Still low-key, still relaxed, still filled with warmth.
On the way there, Jon and I reviewed our plans and resolutions for this year. There seems to be a theme of simplicity going on.
Here's a review of last year and how we did:
1. Learn how to be punctual - hah. I think we did worse this year than ever before. Just a few days ago we were over 45 minutes late to a family party. I was early- 15 minutes- a couple of times this year and I hated and regretted every second of it.
2. Learn Patience (Lyssa)- I have gotten a lot better at this! Although, it was not because of any conscious effort or technique. I think it's just a biproduct of spending more time studying God's word.
3. Pay off remaining school loan (Lyssa) -
This did not go as planned. I only paid off 1 of 5K. But to be fair this was an unexpectedly expensive year for us, so our money went elsewhere.
4. Keep home "company ready"- This did not happen. Like, ever. I still think it's a noble goal though.
5. Drink more water - I think I doubled my caffeine intake instead.
6. Blog more than last year - Check! Still no pictures though.
7. Read the Bible at night together - We did this for like a week. But I don't see it as a failure. Jon and I were at totally different schedules back then, so it just wasn't working. Now, we go to bed at the same time every night (early!) and we do read together, but not from the Bible.We read a novel, usually mine, and it's possibly my favorite time of the day. We regularly read the Bible on our own, usually in the morning. It wasn't the plan, but it's working for us.
8. Read the Bible to the Girls (Jon) - This fell by the wayside and I doubt it will be picked up again anytime soon. They do have Bibles of their own, though, which they love and read often.
9. Read 50 books this year (Lyssa) - I did this, but completely forgot about trying to keep it down to 50. Oops. But my interest level tapered off the last couple of months, due to life events, so it all balanced out.
10. Make a Will - nope.
11. Get Life Insurance - Check!
12. Complete my Degree - Done and done. And I'm still in school, because I like it.
13. Start a Retirement Plan - This went well. We consistently saved our goal amount (5%) until Jon started Highmark. Then, we saved 4% which Highmark matched, so it got bumped up to a grand total of 8%. Yay! This year we should be moving that up to 6% plus company match.
All in all, I think we did so-so. But this was a really big year for us in a number of other unplanned-for ways. Sometimes, the best laid plans need to fall by the wayside so that your hands are free to fully grab onto whatever gifts God throws your way.
This year, as I said, our goals are a lot simpler:
1. Friends- I have been blessed with friendships with so many awesome and amazing people in my life. So much so that it was a hard lesson to learn that some relationships are only ever meant to last for a season. And that's okay! I've not been very good at letting relationships ebb and flow naturally, and the only ones that I've ever really let go of are ones that ended on super bad terms. But I've been coming to terms with the truth of friendships lately and now that Jon and I have a lot more free time, and can choose how to spend it, we realized that we need to be deliberate with our choices here. I can have 20 good friends who I see several times a year when we catch up, or I can have about 5 really close friends who I see regularly, who are plugged into my life enough that it's weird when two weeks go by and I haven't seen them, who I can call to check in, because we actually know what's going on in each others lives at any given moment. My life choices made the former necessary, but we've settled down a lot and now I want the latter. I want substance. So the plan is to make a conscious effort to build into those relationships. And to be okay with the others that come and go.
2. Make a Housing Project Plan- this has been on several To Do lists and it's actually going to be very fluid. We have learned that we can plan and plan and plan but that doesn't make our plans God's plans and ultimately, we just need to roll with it. So this is more of a general guideline, where ideas are organized and laid out.
3. Get registered for activities- All four of us have interests that we've been talking about doing for quite some time, but lack of time and money prevented it. Now that we're fairly settled, we're ready to make good on these plans.
And 4, last but not least: Travel- a lot of people talk about all the places they want to go, but never actually go anywhere, us included. But we're ready to change that. We'll be starting small, domestically, and progressing outward as life allows it. A few years ago we made a plan to do at least one "family vacation" and one "adult vacation" every year. We've stuck with it, but again, time and money constraints made the destinations fairly modest. Now that things are changing, we're pretty excited about some of the places we're researching. In the next few years, we're hoping to go to Louisiana (New Orleans!), Tennessee and California.
That's it for our New Years resolutions, though I do plan to roll over a couple from last year that won't be concentrated efforts as much as they'll be goals to loosely keep track of, such as: reading about 50 books, blogging as much or more than this last year, paying off my school loan, drinking more water, making a will, taking pictures and working on punctuality. Hopefully, they'll happen on their own, with little effort. But if not, that's okay too.
Whatever your motto is for 2014, I hope it's filled with joy! Happy New Year!