Thursday, January 16, 2014

2013’s Finish: Ambition and Transition

Pinwheel in Snow{Pinwheel in snow}

Last night, I said to Paul over dinner, “When I think back on 2013, I’ll say to you, ‘Remember that year we fell in love and ate all that delicious food?  Yeah, that was a good year.’”

2013 was the year of learning how to love and learning to let go.  And it was a year of very, very good food.  Paul swooped into my life in February, and together, we began learning how to be a couple, how to depend on each other.  He has changed me, and I think I have changed him. 

While I was falling in love with Paul, I had so many job-related transitions that I have whiplash: by the end of the year, two jobs began, two jobs ended, and another job was in the pipeline.  Snap.

2013 was also the Year of the Wedding.  All together, Paul and I attended six weddings, four of them together as a couple.  Each wedding had something about it that was sweet and memorable—the Texas-themed one we attended in San Angelo for Paul’s friend Mandy, the seaside event we enjoyed in Corpus Christi for our friends Erin and Cy, Dana and Jason’s Austin wedding where Carl Sagan was quoted during the ceremony…I could go on.  I’m not a big wedding person, to be honest, but truly, it is an honor to witness that event for dear friends and family.  Love is grand!

We’re already halfway through January, but I wanted to spend some time looking back at 2013 to see how my intentions panned out.  For a variety of reasons, I am still finding it hard to carve out the time for blogging; I like to joke that I’ve replaced blogging with boyfriending.  The truth is that I’ve had other things pressing on my attention, and I’m a slow writer.  I have come to accept this about myself, and yet, I feel bad when my blogs are neglected.  But I’m here now, so let’s do this!

I revisited my August post about goals for the second half of 2013, and it’s that post I’m quoting for each goal listed here.

* “My new work goal is to be the best scientist I can be in my new position.  Thoughtful, diligent, productive—these are the qualities I want to embody in my work life.”

I think I nailed this one!  Despite the fact that my position lasted for just four months, I was able to accomplish a lot and thus added a lot of value to the lab’s work.

Verdict: Success!

* “Begin learning how to teach biology.”

I nailed this one too!  In November, I began tutoring through WyzAnt.  I was fortunate enough to work with two clients who have very different needs, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far.  I am continuing my tutoring work this year and hoping to work with more student clients to help them meet their biology or writing goals.

(Pssst.  If you want to know more about WyzAnt, click on the ad at the bottom of this blog’s home page to help me out as a WyzAnt affiliate.  If you sent an e-mail to a tutor after you click through, WyzAnt gives me a modest commission.  Please and thank you!)

Verdict: Success! 

* “Finish: 26.2 miles at the Detroit Marathon in October.”

Oh, yes.  I totally nailed this one too.  On my other blog, I wrote my race report and thoughts after completing the race.  Those posts are among my very favorites that I’ve ever written.

Verdict: Success!

* “I am going to try one new recipe each month from Vegeterranean, one of my new cookbooks.”

Well, now.  This one totally did not happen.  That cookbook was, I think, a bit too cheffy for my taste.  Despite not posting many recipes on the blog in 2013, I still cooked A LOT, especially because I was often cooking for two.  Paul and I cooked dinner together almost every week, and we tried all kinds of new recipes.  It was fun for me to have a regular person with whom to cook; I have missed a steady kitchen presence since I moved away from my dear Chicago friends in 2009.  And Paul’s a fun kitchen companion: he appreciates good food and enjoys the more experimental aspects of my cooking.  We make a good team.

Verdict: Failure, but eh—it’s okay.

* “Get a license, buy a car, become a full-fledged grown-up.”

This one is still a work-in-progress.  Paul and I had a decent number of practice sessions together, and we are in the early discussions about buying a car.  I think we’re leaning toward having one car that we share, which could be fantastic.  Like I said above, we’re a good team, so sharing a car with him feels very natural to me.

Verdict: Working on it!  This one will carry over to 2014.

* “Pay off 2013’s debt (or at least a good chunk of it).”

This goal was somewhat thwarted by the fact that I was laid off in December, thereby losing more than $1700 in income that I thought I would earn.  Nevertheless, I was able to pick up a bit of tutoring during December.  More than anything, though, I just decided to relax and chill out.  2013 was an exciting year, but by the end of all the traveling, I was just tired and ready to be at home.

In the end, I spent more than I made in 2013, about $3300 more.  That includes everything: all the travel (which was extensive), my cat Lucy’s expenses, medical bills, and about three months of unemployment time.  I had a lot more time in 2013 but less money.  I’m okay with that.  My debt amount will be adjusted a bit after I redeem some credit card points and who knows if I’ll receive money back after I file my taxes?  That $3300 was the cost of doing what Thoreau so elegantly states was his goal in Walden:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.  I wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life…

$3300 was the cost of transitioning out of my old life and into my new one.  Paul and I sucked the marrow out of life; we traveled near and far, to the woods and back, for love and friendship and the joy of being together in new spaces.  In 2013, I put my money where my heart was, and it was worth every penny.

At the Falls

Verdict: 2013 was expensive but necessary.

Thanks for everything, 2013.  You were a good teacher and brought me closer to living my full truth.  For that, I am grateful.

And coming soon, my 2014 goals!


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

It sounds like you did an excellent job on your goals for 2013! Your life seems richer and full of more love and experiences than when you started and that, I think, is the sign of an excellent year indeed.

Also, I read the part about how you spent $3300 more than you made out loud to Nathan and we both nearly died laughing, thinking about our own dismal finances. Goal for 2014: be more like Rose-Anne, at least money-wise. ;)

Rosiecat said...

I agree! I was really surprised to see how many of my revised goals I met. It's a sign that I'm getting better at figuring out what my high-priority goals are, as opposed to my aspirational goals. But I think I'm going to write a post about aspirational goals because I think that's an interesting topic.

Hee hee! That part about "be more like Rose-Anne" made me laugh! If it's any consolation, you probably did a better job at holding onto your jobs than I did :-) In my more self-deprecating moments, I have joked that I am unable to hold down a job, which sounds terrible. But when I lost the second job in 2013, it felt very true and I needed to laugh about my terrible circumstance. I was just so FRUSTRATED with science jobs, but it did move me to immediately put out my shingle for tutoring. In the end, it's all good :-)