There is never the time I want to give to this blog. With that in mind I am just going to get to the point. I had a quick read through last year's un-resolutions and thought that I would report on how we did. Lastly, I'd like to set my sights on where I'd like to see the next 365 or so days take us (until I once again sit here to reflect on what we did and didn't do).
Without realizing it, I did manage to set up a decent (enough) system to keep Husband's bills etc straight. There were no major upsets when it came time to do taxes and our accountant has helped me set up interim payments so that we hopefully won't end up owing money at the end of the year. This is major, as unexpected debt is the last thing we want.
I did well through out the winter keeping track of household spending, doing menu-plans and reporting on the blog. That exercise alone helped us save hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the year. Going through statements and reducing fees, cancelling satellite subscription, reducing our cell bill, the list goes on. If you haven't done so, commit an afternoon to reducing fees. Research a more affordable (but reputable with good coverage) home insurance plan. One phone call saved me something like $700 last year. If you have been thinking about making changes, take the time to do it.
I also wanted to do better with pictures for the blog. In fact, I want to do better with pictures of my kids' life. Once these cell phones go obsolete, and they will, my kids will not have a record of their childhoods. Not only that, but the grandparents in Newfoundland get very few pictures and I want to do better. Luckily, Santa found a barely used camera that I had been wanting. Now to learn how to use it properly!
2016 saw some purchases that I had not anticipated. One was a new truck for Husband's work (very much needed) and the other was a new camper (very much not needed). It is always a push/pull between my viewpoint and Husband's as far as goals and saving. In the meantime we sold our old camper and the new one will be used in Husband's line of work so it will eventually start paying for itself. We compromised on the layout of the RV and found one that was under the budget I had insisted upon. So it was something I was comfortable doing although I would have chosen to save and pay cash (we financed it but have a plan to pay it off very early!).
As a result of these purchases coupled with a real scare when a company took months to pay us for a large invoice, I got extra serious and motivated about our budget. It surprised me to look back on last year's goals and not see anything financial. But increased blogging, the near miss of not being paid, then getting a regular column in the local paper really brought about my increased interest and determination in the budget department.
2016 was a year where I tried many new homesteading activities. We had pigs, meat birds, were given rabbits, had our first lambs and continued to garden. I have had no time to sew. It was exhausting and fulfilling. I recognize how hard it is to do all of the travel and play that my Husband would like when we have so much work at home. It was also very overwhelming with him gone for months at a time. There won't be pigs this coming year but I feel that meat birds are a necessity.
The wonderful opportunity to read a novel in progress for a bloggy friend also inspired me to make writing more of a priority. It was always my goal in life. Having a weekly column has allowed me to schedule in writing time. While harder for me to get around to blogging, it has motivated me to insist on some quiet to write. In this sense I have made much better use of my evenings (at least while Husband is away) and I have been reading another friend's novel lately. When that is done I
2017--You are Mine, All Mine!
No, not really. But for the first time in years I can feel myself becoming part of the conversation again. I have written at length about my interests and personal goals (heck, that's the point of this blog). But many people, women in particular, will understand the subtle ways that our own identity can be sucked into work/responsibility/caring for others/meeting expectations without having time to reevaluate what we really want. I am almost 40 and it is time to be a complete person again.
I want to emphasize that it is no one's fault but my own that I continually put others first over the years. I have had many opportunities to do things where I have chickened out or felt that I shouldn't. I am not griping about my wonderful life. Many of my homesteading "slow" living goals are what consistently take away from the time I might instead spend writing/exercising etc. The trouble has been for me to find balance and not feel guilty for wanting a little time to myself. But making time to practice writing, exercise, apply face moisturizer, dress with some semblance of care...none of these things are selfish. None of these things require much more than better organization, some boundaries, and the ability to say "no". This is "my time".
I have been providing childcare for a friend on a part time basis. It is a win-win since my little O loves to have playmates come over a few times a week. The kids are sweet and it keeps me motivated to get everything done before and after they are here. In the fall my little O will go to kindergarten every day and I (if we can afford it) plan not to do childcare and, instead, keep those whole days to myself so I can write. To create. To work with my brother at the farm. To be a helpful part of this community. Probably the year after I will rejoin the workforce, so this year, 2017, is a year that I want to focus on writing and personal development.
With that in mind, I have registered for an online writing course starting in January. I am beyond excited and nervous about the class. This brings me to another goal, which is SCHEDULING. With a little boy in skating lessons and my part time childcare job and my weekly column, plus my commitment to this blog, homemade food, daily exercise and my animals and firewood etc, keeping a tight schedule will be essential. I may not find the time to report our spending on this blog. I may not return to entering every expenditure in spreadsheets like I did so faithfully last year. But my commitment to a frugal, practical lifestyle remains just as strong. My commitment to my family is stronger than ever. And 2017 will be the year, barring any unforeseen disasters, where I can focus on myself as well as my posse. I am so ready for it!