2018 Recap/Thoughts

I’m sure it’s just hormones (or something along those lines), but I’m feeling very emotional…I’m having a particularly difficult time letting the holiday season go this year. It could also be due to the fact that Christmas was so different for the first time in ten (!!) years – instead of traveling to see my family, we hosted Christmas. Don’t get me wrong: it was lovely, and I look forward to continuing this tradition (and making new ones!) for years to come…but, as with any new tradition, it felt different, and the end of the year really seemed to sneak up on me. Plus, for whatever reason, this is the first year my holiday decor hasn’t felt like a hodgepodge mess, and I’m going to be really sad to take it all down.

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Anyway…moving forward! 2018 wasn’t incredibly monumental for my little family, but at the same time, it feels like things took a shift in the overall sense. We decided to officially begin trying to start a family (which doesn’t feel like a major step since we’ve been discussing it for so long, but in actuality is, of course, HUGE). We took a look at our finances, and made headway in saving more and leaning on credit less. We finally made progress with our landscaping, and (FINALLY) completed step one in fixing up Jeff’s office space (which will eventually become the nursery if everything goes as planned, and in the meantime can finally be used functionally as work space/a second place for guests to stay). While no major changes were made to our everyday life (well, mine – Jeff started a new job), 2018 was about setting ourselves up for the future.

We traveled to Florida, Cape Cod, and the Poconos, and took several day/overnight trips to Philly. Speaking of Philly, Jeff started at a new company in the city, and was introduced to commuter life. I had a couple of different opportunities within my own career fall through, but learned a lot in the process (and will be transitioning into a new position – along with a promotion – within the first quarter of the new year…hooray!) I conquered some pretty major fears, and put myself in the position to be more proactive about my health going forward. I took a solo road trip to my hometown to visit family. I feel like I accomplished a lot of personal growth in 2018…I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself.

I went into 2018 with some pretty major goals, and I’m happy to say I conquered (or at least made progress with) most of them. I feel I made major progress with my most daunting resolution (prioritizing my health) – for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a paralyzing fear of doctors/anything medical, and I actually went through with several health screenings in 2018. Once I ripped the bandaid off, it became much easier to face minor medical issues, and I actually sought treatment for multiple (again, minor) illnesses throughout the year. I realize this sounds a little ridiculous for an adult to be proud of, but it was a pretty momentous accomplishment for me (and it’s what allowed us to confidently start trying for a baby).

My other goals included bringing less stuff into our home/purging unwanted items, getting our finances in order, exercising consistently to manage stress, taking care of my possessions, and being kinder to myself, and I feel I at least somewhat made headway with each item. I did great with purchasing less for the first half of the year, and while I do still need to do a major purge of unwanted household items, I cleaned out my closet and started selling clothes and shoes on Poshmark, and got rid of a lot of junk (and started setting aside unused stuff that’s still in good shape for a yard sale next year). I exercised relatively regularly…I hope to be even better about it this year, but I wouldn’t call last year a total fail. The only goal I didn’t really accomplish was “taking care of my possessions,” but in interest of my last goal “being kinder to myself,” I’m going to call 2018 an overall win, and continue working on everything on last year’s list going into the new year.

We’ve set 2019 up to potentially be a pretty huge year – we have some big plans for our house (we’re starting to get into “let’s make sure our house is ready to sell, should the opportunity arise” mode, although I personally am in no hurry to move), including finally rebuilding our huge wrap-around porch this summer along with our neighbors. I have some pretty major career changes coming, and plan to work on some long-overdue professional development. I’d like to travel as much as possible (possibly including a solo trip overseas). And of course, we hope for 2019 to be the year we welcome our first child – or at least create him or her (ha)! I also have the usual minor resolutions – be more consistent with physical activity (again, still), work to regulate my sleep schedule, be kinder to my hair (specifically, I want to learn how to air-dry without looking like a disaster, and keep heat-styling to a maximum of a few times a week).

Overall, 2018 was pretty darn good to us. I hope for more of the same for 2019, and once I get over this weird hormone slump (or whatever it is), I’ll be ready to take the new year on! Whatcha got for us, 2019?

Happy 2018

Happy New Year, friends – I hope your holidays were joyful, restful, and restorative.

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I just went to look back at my “resolutions” post from last year, and found that…well, there wasn’t one. So that makes my job easier today – no goals from last year to review progress (or lack thereof) on. Last year was a weird one…it felt very eventful, but I don’t feel like anything of much substance occurred in my personal life. Or maybe it just feels that way, since the previous few years were chock-full of milestones (engagement, wedding, new job, first trip abroad, etc. etc.) So, instead of reflecting on the past year, I’ll just move right along to what I’d like to accomplish in 2018.

I’m actually setting resolutions this year, which isn’t something I generally do. But this January, I’m feeling a little mentally cluttered and unfulfilled, and I know there are specific things I can do to remedy this…so I’m going to do my best to. I do want to note that I’m only going to include more personal types of resolutions – so, for example, I’m not going to include, say, re-doing our porch, even though that is one of my goals. These resolutions will be more about keeping myself happy, healthy, and sane, rather than little things I’d like to fix with my home (which will need to also involve Jeff).

So, without further adieu, here are my resolutions for 2018:

  1. Bring less stuff into my home/live with less/use what I have. Over the past few years, I’ve slowly developed a pretty hardcore online shopping addiction. It started somewhat out of necessity – I was truly lacking a lot of practical things that I needed – but devolved into buying all the things, just because they were on sale and/or pretty. Not only is this financially unwise, it’s created a lot of clutter in my life, and it’s starting to make me a little crazy. This was really hammered home after Christmas this year – Jeff and I went all out on gifts for each other (we figure it might be our last Christmas without any little ones to buy for), and while nice, it ended up feeling a bit self-indulgent, and I’m feeling overwhelmed with stuff. So, I’ve decided that this year, I’m only going to buy things that I really, truly need, and instead of shopping sales like a fiending crackhead, I’m going to invest in quality items that will last me years. This applies to not only clothes and accessories, but also home decor – I tend to buy lots of small scale things because they’re more inexpensive or seem like “great deals” in the moment, but buying a ton of tiny things just makes my house look cluttered and cheap. Instead of buying every little pretty thing I see, I’ll wait to purchase larger scale items that I really love and will complement the rest of my decor.
  2. Purge unwanted items. On a related note, it’s time to go through my storage, weed out things that I no longer need or use, and donate them (or throw away anything that’s not fit to donate). At this point, we’ve been living in our house for over 4 years, and there are still tons of things I’ve held onto since we were in our apartment “in case I need them someday.” At this point in my life, I’m lucky enough to be able to let things go, and if I really need them in the future, I’ll be able to replace them with upgraded versions that I’ll actually use. Examples include, but aren’t limited to: old, plastic picture frames from the dollar store, cheap square glass candle holders, undersized, mismatched throw blankets, cheap, outdated “placeholder” decor, damaged Ikea furniture, and the list goes on. Along with the purge will come a reorganization – somewhere along the way, I started throwing things anywhere they’d be out of sight, and I no longer have a dedicated place for everything. This is going to change in the coming months.
  3. Get our finances in order. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that the old Raum finances are kind of all over the place. We’re comfortable in the overall sense and aren’t struggling by any means, but we also don’t have a budget (at all – zip, zero, zilch), overuse credit cards, and never know exactly how much money we have at any given time (due to said overuse of credit cards). We could also definitely be saving more efficiently. I’d like to prioritize paying off any outstanding credit card debt and go back to paying cash for most things (only putting large purchases on credit cards for cash back/points, and paying the balance off right away), and working to combine our finances – with Jeff now making double my income, it no longer makes sense to keep everything separate (plus, we haven’t really functioned as though our finances were separate for years).
  4. Exercise consistently for stress relief. I’ve set fitness goals in the past, but this is different, and possibly my most important resolution: I NEED to exercise consistently (meaning at least 4-5 days every week) to manage my anxiety and keep my mental health in check. This isn’t about training for a marathon, or losing weight, or even being in shape (although that is important to me), this is purely for the purposes of mental health. This means, at the very least, moderate cardio – it has to be in addition to any strength training or core classes I take, and it has to be non negotiable. At this point I can confidently say that the vast majority of my anxiety and depression stems from periods of being sedentary, and I can’t deny it any longer – I need to stay active for my mental health. My end goal is to get over the hump where running is painful to the point where it becomes enjoyable, and then maintain it – I’ve been able to get there in the past, but I always trick myself into thinking I can let it slide for a bit and then I fall into a vicious cycle of not wanting to start up again. No more.
  5. Prioritize my health. It’s not that I’m NOT healthy, per se (I rarely get sick, knock on wood); this is more about maintaining my health with preventative care. I’m famously terrified of anything medical and NEVER go to the doctor, and if we’re going to start a family, this needs to end. I increased my medical coverage for the year, so now is the time to take advantage and start actually getting routine health screenings.
  6. Take care of my stuff. Just like I need to prioritize maintaining my own health, I need to start prioritizing maintaining my material possessions. I’m terrible about letting the condition of my things deteriorate until I simply re-buy it (for example, I bought outdoor furniture covers for our brand new patio furniture this year, but have yet to put it on after countless rainstorms and a handful of snow storms), but I’m 33 freaking years old and I need to cut that shit out. No more being wasteful – I’m going to start putting the work in this year.
  7. Be kinder to myself. As is everyone, I’m my own worst critic (can you tell? Ha!) – this fuels my social anxiety, since I feel like everyone is judging me just as hard as I’m judging myself (even though I know this isn’t logical or true). I need to start accepting myself for who I am and learning to recognize the awesome parts of myself as well as embrace my flaws. I also really want to get to a point where I feel comfortable sharing my true self with others, rather than trying to force myself to be a different version of myself depending on who I’m around. I know this is always everyone’s resolution, but man…self love can be tough, can’t it?

And there you have it…I have a lot to work on in 2018, but I’m excited for a fresh start. Cheers to what’s ahead!