Monthly Archives: December 2016

Life: Take 2

Here’s a brief synopsis of my life so far. Just the highlight reel of course because nobody wants to read such a boring Novella.

March 1974: Super adorable, chunky baby born in the small town of Bloomfield, Indiana.

1994: Met this really cute guy named Rick. Thought he was too old for me so I blew him off at first but he fairly quickly convinced me he was the love of my life.

1996: Married the love of my life.

Later in 1996 (whoops): Met another love of my life when Michael was born.

1998: Met the third love of my life when Nicholas was born.

Mothers day 1999: Life fell completely apart when Rick died unexpectedly. Had to figure out how to be a single parent. NOT what I signed up for at all.

Present day: Michael is a sophomore in college at Bellarmine and Nick will be headed to WKU in about 8 months. Not sure how this has happened at all. Somehow I’ve managed to raise two great young men. Neither has been arrested (knock on wood), needed rehab (knock on more wood), and so far neither one has had any whoopsies of their own (which would cause me to knock their heads against some wood).

Sounds like a successful end to my single parenting era but it’s not. I’m struggling with this. I know a lot of parents struggle when their kids grow up and go off into the real world for the next stage of their lives, that’s what is supposed to happen after all but let me wallow a bit here. I think it’s a tad harder on us single parents because there’s no spouse to lean on/commiserate or distract us when the kids leave. The last 17 years I have been completely focused on not screwing these two kids up raising them on my own. Every single thing I’ve done, whether it was the right thing or wrong thing, was done with their well-being in mind. So now what the Hell do I do when they venture off to their next adventures in life. Obviously I’m always going to be their crazy, semi-psycho mother (just at random moments, most of the time I’m fairly sane) who worries about them and offers them all types of advice that most of the time they don’t really want to hear despite the awesomeness the advice generally contains.

So now I’ve got to figure out Act 2 of my life. I’m 42 years old so I figure that’s a little young to become the crazy cat lady living alone in her condo watching the Hallmark channel all the time. Granted I am looking to purchase another condo and I do love the Hallmark channel and thanks to my youngest and his girlfriend I do kind of have a cat now but I can’t let those things become my whole identity because, well, that’s kind of sad.

I started questioning what I would do if I hit the Powerball and money was no object. That is going to happen one day by the way, I just figure with my luck it will happen three days before I die because my life thus far has been kind of ironically funny that way. If money was no object though I would take a year off to write a book. I also would want to travel more so I’m thinking I could combine those two desires by traveling to quaint little places to both explore and to hunker down and write for long weekends. I’d also like to go back to school. I’m one of those weirdos that really liked the whole college experience.

Okay, so I probably lied earlier because honestly I’m not convinced that the Powerball is ever going to happen for me. The reality is that I’m most likely going to have to work full-time until approximately 6 hours before I die. That’s okay though, I don’t mind my job and I’m a fairly simple person with simple interests/hobbies/lifestyle. I’m already in the process of down-sizing my living quarters and more importantly my mortgage payment. I’m also getting ready to start working a second job every other weekend. The money from that small job is going to be earmarked to pay off some debt and create a slush fund for me.

What’s the slush fund? It’s pretty much going to be my Holly fund. It’s not going to be for bills, it’s not going to be for my emergency fund, and it’s not going to debt. I already have money going to all those categories. This is my account that I will use for Holly. I might decided to purchase a course on web design to pretty up this blog, I may decide to use it to book a weekend at a little hotel by the beach, I may use it to buy three venti Chai tea lattés at Barnes and Noble or Starbucks while I have a writing marathon, or I may decide to send it to my kids if they’re running tight on funds one semester. WHAT?!? Did she just say she was going to send it to her kids?? Maybe I am. It doesn’t really matter what I use it on as long as it’s something that makes me happy and knowing I can help my kids a little more sometimes might just make me happy one week. Of course the next week I might be telling them “Suck it up buttercups. You’re in college, you’re supposed to be poor.”

So there you go, I’ve got a little bit of a game plan for part two of my life. I think sometimes that people get wrapped up in thinking they can’t do the things they want in life because they don’t have money. Well, obviously it helps to have money, and I’m certainly not going to be able to jet off to Cancun anytime soon or take a year off right now to write my novel but there’s nothing to stop me from taking some weekend trips or writing at night after I get off work or on the weekends. I don’t have to go back to school full-time ( I can almost hear my sons cheering at this fact since they probably figured I would enroll at their schools and yeah, I probably would have) but I can take some online courses or even a course at night if I wanted to. 2017 is not going to be a year that I limit myself.


2016 Wrap Up

I can’t believe there’s only 14 days left in 2016. I swear it seems I was working on my 2016 goals just a few weeks ago and now it’s time to plot out my 2017 goals. I decided to do a recap of my 2016 resolutions and goals before announcing 2017’s plans.

My first resolution was to lead a more healthy lifestyle. My purchase of a Fitbit was helpful. It definitely makes me much more aware of how much I’m moving (or not) during the day. I set a goal to walk a minimum of 50,000 steps a week, drink more water, and get a minimum of 6 hours sleep a night. I only achieved the step goal 9 weeks this year and I have not done well with drinking more water. I do think for the most part I’ve succeeded in getting at least 6 hours of sleep nightly though and that’s huge for me.

Home-wise I wanted to clean, purge and organize my home. I’m giving myself a passing grade on this one. We put our home up for sale in September and a lot of work went in to purging our excess and keeping it spotless for showings. It sold in November and I went through another round of purging since we’ve not found a new home yet so the majority of our belongings are in a friend’s basement and we’re “borrowing” my aunt’s condo until we can locate a new home.

My personal goals were a big fail as far as my writing goes. I wanted to blog three times a week, submit at least one piece of writing a month, and see one movie in the theaters a month. So far I am a terrible blogger, this post makes 10 for the year. Ugh… I also didn’t submit any of my writing (although I did go back and work a little on the story I started for NANOWRIMO last year).  I did see a few movies but pretty sure I didn’t see 12. To be fair, putting a house on the market is a crazy, time-consuming process but my writing is something that makes me happy and is important to me so this will definitely be back on the list this year.

I’m pretty satisfied with the progress I made with my financial goals. I used my credit cards very minimally this year (just a little for Michael’s medical supplies at the beginning of the year and an unexpected summer tuition bill for him). I kept a thousand dollars in my emergency fund. I contributed consistently to my HSA account although it never reached the $3,000 balance because I was also consistently using it for Michael’s diabetes supplies but that’s what it’s there for and I reaped the tax benefits of it as intended. My goal of increasing my income on a quarterly basis is a little hard to quantify. I side hustled a bit, worked my rewards programs as much as possible, and received a decent raise at work so I’m counting this as a success.

So there you have it. Quite a few goals I didn’t reach this year, quite a few that I did. The way I figure it though, even the goals I didn’t reach I at least attempted them so I’m further ahead then I was before so maybe I should count that as successes also?

My year in a recap? I sold my condo and I’m currently on the hunt for a smaller, more affordable place. Michael is halfway through his sophomore year at Bellarmine. He’s pretty sure nursing school is going to kill him but he’s trudging through and I’m proud of him. Nick is 99% sure he’s going to WKU in the fall. Not thrilled that he’s chosen not to play lacrosse in college but proud that his focus is on going to a school where he’ll hopefully not have to take out any student loans. Work for me is very, very busy but we’ve finally gotten some decent raises and I’m happy there. I still have plans on creating a second stream of income for myself to help offset the Social Security losses. Overall, 2016 was a good year. 2017 will be full of more changes but I’m trying to prepare for them and praying for a good year for us all.