Resolutions

Since the beginning of the new year, I’ve started keeping an excel spreadsheet tracking my expenses. Nine days into the new year, this simple act is completely changing how I am view money and my relationship with money. I am well past the age I should be and not have a great handle on money.

I never ever ever ever want to find myself in a position like I did with the Ex where I become financially dependent on someone. He and I should have ended things several years before it did, and I was hesitant to pull the trigger because I’d have been financially wrecked without him.  In fact, I even told him this on several occasions.

The Ex rarely complained about getting me anything I wanted, and he was generous with his money during our relationship. Hell, he has been generous even afterwards. I am simultaneously grateful for his generosity but mad at myself for letting myself get comfortable and complacent. Maybe, if I had been more diligent about finances and making wise decisions, maybe I wouldn’t have spent those last years in a relationship with someone who had no desire to be with me.

I know when you live with someone, you are supposed to share bills and responsibilities. In the six years we lived together, we didn’t approach household finances as a team, and always as two people who happen to share a house. Yeah… that should have been a sign. It’s certainly something I never want to repeat ever again.

My relationship with him ended a year and a half ago, and I’m still in the process of learning how to fully get my shit together. I slip up a lot, and I fall into bad financial habits (Starbucks, I missssss you).

Things are going great with my Amor, but I never want to feel financially dependent on him or make him feel like he has to take care of me. (Granted, if I get sick again, then that is different, but the focus here is on healthy, able-bodied Lara.) If/when he and I combine our lives together, I want to have my shit together and be my absolute best. I want to get back to the Lara in her mid and late 20s who was making piddly squat, but saved like a champion.

This excel spreadsheet is a great start, and I definitely have additional steps I need to take to walk confidently into middle age with my head held high and my stress level not at a “Call my therapist” level.  Now and then, I want to check in here for accountability and to ensure I’m living solely within my means.

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Year in Review

I know it’s probably odd  to do a year in review post when I haven’t done much blogging in the first place. I guess that will mean I have a lot to share here… maybe?

This year started off with a major surgery, which definitely set the tone and pace for the first part of the year. I knew the recovery would be difficult, but holy heck, it took me longer to bounce back than I thought it would. When I was cleared to start running again, it felt like I was starting over at zero. In all actuality, I probably was starting over at zero after five inches of my abdomen was opened and closed recently. Right now, the five-inch scar doesn’t look nearly as bad as it did at the beginning of the year. I rarely even notice it’s there anymore.

My running this year could be accurately described in one word: slow. I signed up for my second marathon, which I completed in early November. Between my work schedule and the weather, my heart wasn’t really engaged in training for this marathon compared to the previous year when I ran Columbus. My second marathon saw me adding 30 minutes to my previous marathon. While I am proud of the fact that I finished in Indianapolis, I know I could have done much better if my heart had been in it. I’m not going to make any excuses. If I wanted to, then I would have found a way.

This year I learned that I have to fall back in love with running before I attempt to do another marathon. For a brief period of time, I thought I was going to sign up for Pittsburgh Marathon 2018. When Best Boyfriend Ever reminded me that work was going to take up most of my time for the first three months of 2018 (something I had told him several times but yet, I needed him to remind me), I made the correct decision to sign up for only the half.

Time to get back to the basics and focus on getting stronger. When strength comes, speed will happen.

The biggest change this year had to do with my job. A recruiter had reached out to me via LinkedIn about an opportunity with PNC, and I jumped so hard at the opportunity I might have given myself whiplash.  I really and truly loved the work I was doing at my previous job, and I could have honestly kept doing that until the cows came home. I loved being an investigator.

What I couldn’t deal with and the number one reason why I left: the hours. Granted, several of my co-workers definitely billed more hours than I probably did, and they are still there.  All that mattered at that job was meeting deadlines, which meant kissing some nights and weekends good-bye. I didn’t want to do that and felt myself burned out more times than I could count.

I’m not opposed to ever working nights and weekends. I know I  am going to have to do that for the first three months of 2018. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure the job gets done. However, unlike at my last job, I know the crazy busy schedule will end and things will calm down for a good period.  I just couldn’t tolerate it being crazy busy every day, every week, every month with no end in sight.

I take pride in my work and skill set. I love figuring things out and coming up with great finds. I always want to do the best I can. But I need my nights and weekends to recharge, relax and get myself ready to tackle the new work week with a fresh set of eyes.  Opportunities to do that at my last job were few and far between.

While I am disappointed that my last job didn’t work out given how much I loved being an investigator,  I don’t regret my decision to leave whatsoever. I would make the same decision over and over again. I am now working at a great company and opportunities here are endless. The most amazing thing is that I am learning a completely new skill set, and I am feeling challenged every day.

Next year, my primary focus will be learning and becoming the absolute best I can be at being an internal auditor. I already know my lunch times will consist of studying for the CAMS and spending some free time taking extra courses in BSA/AML. I cannot wait to deep dive into this world, like I am almost giddy. I never could afford to go back to school to get a master’s degree, so in a way, I am getting the additional education I always wanted.

This year also saw the final nails put in the coffin that was my relationship with the Ex (yeah, that was a weird sentence).  For awhile, the Ex was my free dogsitter when I went out of town, but that’s now over with. I know he loves Boomer and Mal, and he even paid for their vet plans this year, but that’s come to an end. He has his own family now, and he’s probably married as I type this. He was a much better Ex than he was a boyfriend for the last 3 or 4 years of our relationship.

It was one thing when he was single or just dating, but he has a family now. While I would have no intentions or desires to meddle in his personal life or get him back (hahahahahaha omg hahahahaha), I don’t want to have any involvement with married exes. That way leads to drama, and I want no part. I will let him know if something happens to Mal or Boomer in the next year or so, but from now on, the Ex is staying in the past along with all the other relationship ghosts rattling in my closet. I wish none of them ill will (well, maybe the stalker), but that doesn’t mean they need to occupy any part of my life now.

I don’t like making New Year’s Resolutions, so I just make the same one every year: read more books. I actually read more books this year than I have in years! I think that goes to show how uncluttered and relaxing this year has been for me.

My focus for 2018 will be to be the best I can be at my job, advocate even more for metastatic breast cancer, get back to the running basics and remember why I loved running in the first place, and spend as much time with the best boyfriend ever. He makes me happy, and if I make him just a fraction of how incredibly happy he has made me, then 2018 is looking to be a good one for the two of us.

If anyone read this entire book I just wrote, congrats. I’m impressed.

 

My New Year’s Resolution

(I know, I know.  I am a couple of days early, but I wanted to get these thoughts out before my schedule gets crazy busy again.)

1.) Less social media.  This past week, I actually deleted around 300 people from my friends’ list, and I took the Facebook app off my phone.  For a long time, I began to feel social anxiety regarding my Facebook account and my friends’ list.  “Oh, these friends had a party, and I wasn’t invited.  I am the worst!”  “[This person] just unfriended me.  Why?  Did I say something?”  The whole point of Facebook is stay connected, so why did I keep feeling such negativity?   It’s not worth it.  I wanted to get rid of my account altogether, but I would lose my Get Up Swinging Facebook page, along with my photography Facebook page.

I really want to focus on quality of friendships, not quantity.  I found myself becoming complacent in my relationships because of the social media connection with them.  What happened to emails, texts, phone calls or actually getting together and having dinner?   I have a great group of friends, and I want to have authentic relationships with the people who matter the world to me.  I gave too much of my time and energy to people who in the grand scheme of things, aren’t that important to me.

2.) READ MORE BOOKS.  My 2014 Reading Challenge over at Goodreads was 25 books.  I’ve read 13.  That’s just unacceptable.   Granted, I probably read 4 or 5 books in 2013, which is completely horrendous.  I’m better than that.  2015 will be the year I get my bookworm on’ – this I vow.

Reading-quotes-3

3.) Write more, increase breast cancer advocacy.  I have so many ideas I want to do for Get Up Swinging, and I should take advantage of the fact that I can cross-post to the Huffington Post.  Metastatic breast cancer still and always needs more, and I can always find ways to help and increase ways for those who need it the most.

4.) Run three half marathons, run a 15 mile race, run a Ragnar relay and run the Rachel Carson Half challenge in June.  I’m not going to disclose my desired time for my next half because who knows if I’ll even come close to that.  The beauty of running when you don’t accomplish the time you wanted: there’s always the next race.  Get up and try again.

5.) Dedicate as much time and energy as I can into my photography.  Shoot more, learn more, create more.  When wedding season rolls around in 2015, I hope my mentor will keep having me around and we can inspire clients to HIRE me as a second photographer.

Like I do every year, I hope and pray that this year will be one of great, positive changes.  Since becoming a runner, I believe in my heart that I can make these changes happen (two years ago, I never would have believed I could have run 5 miles, nonetheless 13.1).

I don’t want to dwell on the negative because that’s how you get stuck, and I’m tired of feeling stuck.  All I want to do is move forward and upward.