Looking back at 2013

2013.12 Happy New YearThis is not going to be one of those deep and insightful posts you’ll see everyone else sharing, looking into the successes and failures of the previous year. Even if I wanted to write one, that’s just not what I do in this space. I will, however, share my list of what went well and what didn’t.

I gained 10 pounds. Repeatedly. I lost some weight, in one and two pound increments. But ultimately, at the end of the tally, I gained 10 completely new pounds.

I saved money. Not as much as I wanted, but I did manage to save money. I ended the year with more money in my savings account, and that’s what counts.

I spent too much money. Frivolous dollars on things I barely remember. Things I regret and things that I don’t regret.

I made better friends. I started to see a patten on those around me — successful, supportive people who encouraged me to do better instead of telling me all the ways in which I’m failing. I tell myself that I’m failing on a nearly daily basis, I don’t need others to do it too.

I started to purge the toxic influences. Basically I had one rule — if the people around me sounded like the voices in my head, I stopped listening to them. I don’t need the voices in my head to have echoes in real life.

I kept falling. Kept saying I would do X and then not do it. Then stopped saying I would do it, but still want to do it, so I felt like a failure. So stopped telling myself I wanted to do it, but still knowing that I wanted it. I kept falling short of what I thought I wanted and who I thought I was.

I stayed on the yellow brick road when all the fun was happening in the fields around it. But I had to jump. I’m out of practice at jumping. I didn’t.

I realized that I don’t use my indoor voice enough.

I realized that people I thought were my friends don’t share the same definition of friendship.

I went to mass for the first time in years. Then I realized that I didn’t miss it. Is my relationship with God too broken now?

I realized that I’m not sure I want to own a house. And that freaked me out. Isn’t that what I’m supposed to want?

I stopped being ashamed of saying that I’m roommates with my brother and his wife. I spent most of the year feeling like those words made me a failure somehow. Now I just don’t care.

I realized that depression and exhaustion can be different words for the same feeling.

I embraced my egocentric tendencies. I say that I’m not aware that others think I’m brilliant (though they use words like ‘talented” and “smart”). But the truth is that I know, and I get a thrill from it. I often tell friends and colleagues that there’s no drug quite like strangers coming up to you and telling you that you’re fabulous… and there isn’t. It sounds immodest to say, but truth is truth.

I like being in charge, but I don’t think I want to rule the world. And it’s that sentiment that’s kept me where I am for far longer than most people think I should have stayed. And I’m still here.

I’m hopeful for next year. And I know that things are going to improve…

{{I guess I did end up being deep and insightful after all.}}

My biggest challenges in 2011

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, then the fact that I have issues with my weight will not be a surprise. In fact, saying that I have no willpower when it comes to food would probably be a very accurate statement.

This is one of my biggest challenges for this year, years past, and I expect for future years as well.

Of course, I would go so far as to say that, since I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and I have been unable to stick to a diet for more than half a week at an time in the last two years… well, it’s a bigger problem this year than it has been in the past. Or, in other words, I’m the fattest I’ve ever been and show no signs of actually doing something about it.

The other ongoing challenge is the state of my finances. The truth is that, looking at my net worth, I haven’t improved one single bit in the two years I’ve lived in my current apartment. My savings are the same (it goes up, goes down, goes up, goes down), I don’t have a down payment for a house or condo, I haven’t started investing… well, you get the picture.

The only good news I can report is that my credit score has gone up significantly in the past two years. So that’s one thing I can count in the positive column. From a personal aspect, that may be the only one.

Professionally, the last two years have been good. I’m not going to say that I got a big promotion or a huge raise, but I get along well with my boss, the executive team is very happy with my work, my job is (fairly) secure, and I have had some decent raises. My biggest challenge there will be to get my “plan b” into place in case the reported furloughs become layoffs. But I should note that no one has said that word yet, except as gossip.

From a freelancing standpoint, I’ve had a really tough time. My regular customers have been “economied” and new projects have been scarce. And, honestly, I expect this to be my “plan b” so I need to start drumming up business.

Anyway, it’s mid-February and I’m finally taking a good look at the things I should have addressed at the end of December. Not a good sign.

año nuevo

This year, in retrospect, has been very, very bad. Of course, whiny woman that I am, all of you already know that.

I would like to be able to look back and say that the year really hasn’t been all that bad. I want to be able to sit down and list the successes and accomplishments I’ve had, like my idea of a ‘normal’ person would. I’d like to be able to see all that I’ve done this year and say “see that, I did that, and it was a good thing.”

I can’t do that. I can’t look back at this miserable year, this 1998, and say “gee, that wasn’t too bad.” I can’t stop for a moment and think that things could have been worse. Because, quite honestly, I don’t like believing that they could have gotten worse. I don’t want to think about how lucky I am that the damage was . . . manageable.

What I want to do, what I’m going to do, is look towards 1999 as the beginning of a better era. That can’t be that difficult. It can’t be too hard to improve upon this purgatory of a year I’ve just survived. Can it?

I will have a better year, no matter what the gods or fate or whatever deity or supreme power is in charge of my good fortune has to say about it. Just stand back and watch me.

I will treat myself well, no matter how childish my parents decide to behave or how much guilt they drop at my doorstep. I am through playing Maria to their whims, martyr to their causes, good girl to their role as parents.

I am going to live happily ever after. Eventually. 1999 seems like as good a time as any to start up on that project. Not that I actually think that I’ll ever achieve complete and total happiness, but it’s a nice goal to have. It’s a nice dream to hold.

I guess I should make up some new year’s resolutions or something. Maybe have it made into a laminated card to carry around with me always. Some kind of Paloma commandments to help keep myself centered, focused. They would all be about me. Touchy feely stuff about loving myself, respecting myself and demanding respect from those around me. Things like working on relearning how to like who I am, difficult bitch that I can sometimes be. Difficult stuff like cutting myself away from my parents and their problems. Real stuff like goals for finding a new job and getting my finances in order.

I hope that all of you, my loyal readers, and even those of you who have wandered into this space because you got lost somewhere, that all of you have a happy new year. I hope your 1999 turns out to be good for you.