2017 is a good year to have a good year!

That’s what my weekly/monthly planner says that I bought in August. While I had been looking for a Disney planner, this one caught my eye because of the saying. It’s been well documented how hard the past few years have been for my husband and me, and I knew that I couldn’t let 2017 be the same way. I know that 2017 needs to be and is going to be different in the most positive way possible. So I figured, I might as well get something that reminds me of that every single day.

The other day, on our first date day of the year, my husband and I were discussing what we hope to get out of this year. I recently wrote a blog post, for one of my freelance jobs, about New Year's Resolutions and tips on how to keep them. While resolutions are great, I like to look at these kinds of things as more of goals that turn into policies in my life. For example, it’s always been a goal of ours to keep our relationship first and foremost and has good “marriage” it’s become a policy for us to have some kind of date with each other every week, or at the very least, a few times a month. We started really prioritizing this in November, and it’s actually made an incredible impact and added such a joy and light to our marriage.

There are long-term goals we dream of that, because of the past three years and the financial hits we’ve taken, we haven’t been able to achieve yet - like owning a new(er) car, purchasing my childhood home, and having children. We also want to do some traveling. When we planned and paid for our wedding and honeymoon, we expected the following few years to be strictly focused on saving as much as possible so that we could make these things a reality as soon as possible. However, the following three years wound up being full of medical stresses that created massive blows to our finances and savings, so it really knocked us off our “planned path”. While we were able to take a vacation to California and a holiday to Walt Disney World during the past few years - because taking that kind time away, having those experiences, and making those memories is a MUST for us - the majority of what we've brought in and what we had saved went to pay off medical expenses and the delightful sunshine that is student loans.

So, we have decided that 2017 is our refresh. My sweet husband is finally diagnosed, being treated, and is healing. I left the terrible work situation I found myself in and am finally starting to do work I enjoy, through which I am discovering what kind of career I want. But most importantly, 2017 sees us at the TEN YEAR anniversary of my hubby and I being together as a couple (since we were teens!). We feel as if we’ve emerged on the other side of a terrible thunderstorm at sea, and that we’re finally breathing deep, seeing the rainbow and appreciating how well our little boat handled the swell.

Keeping our long-term goals in mind, we decided to set smaller goals that we felt were more achievable. And, for my planning/OCD/anxiety filled brain, helps me feel as if we’re actually making progress instead of being stuck in the same place. Imagine a tire stuck in mud that just keeps spinning but nothing is happening - that’s how our life had felt like. We know we’d like a newer car, to buy my childhood home (where we currently live with my mother...I've actually never moved out!), we know we want children soon, and that we want to travel more...which made our 2017 goals pretty easy:
  • Save Save Save: This is of particular importance because, as mentioned above, we’ve taken such an awful hit to our funds. I want to be super intentional and actually be putting money away for purchasing my childhood home. The mortgage payment is not much more than a nice apartment, so instead of paying money out for rent that will never do anything for us, we want to save it to purchase this home instead. We feel that that will be attainable in the next year or two. Also, getting a new(er) car is something on our minds too (especially before we have a child)  We recently received a car that’s from 2014 that's practically like new, so it’s nice for us to have one decent car - probably the nicest we’ve ever had! Our other one, however, is almost twenty-years-old and has very nearly fallen apart, so we’d like to get out from beneath that burden. Because, as anyone knows, old cars are literally just money pits...but we also can’t afford a monthly car payment yet, which is why we still hang on to it. As my husband says, "Run it 'til it dies!"
  • Take A Vacation: As mentioned above, doing special things like going on dates or taking trips is non-negotiable for us. We spend so much of our lives earning money just to turn around and pay other people, we almost forget to use it on ourselves for the purpose of making memories. We're going to see Disney's The Little Mermaid Broadway show in February and The Columbus Symphony Orchestra's "Pixar Night" in March, but we are also discussing vacation options too.
  • Live A Healthier Life: This encompasses a lot of things but, most importantly, eating better. We were doing really well before my husband got so sick, and then we fell way off the rails. Which, in turn, resulted in us gaining weight and with me being the heaviest I've ever been. So, we’d also like to become more active and lose weight. My goal is to lose ten pounds, and my dream is to lose twenty pounds. I started doing yoga at home and, while I'm not very good at being consistent yet, I have noticed a few small changes, like more arm strength and better flexibility. I just have such a hard time to focus on working out! Once it gets warmer out, we plan on going to parks so get some walking/hiking in - we have new fancy shoes and everything.

Of course, a lot of these things will be even easier if I am able to find a full-time job. But that’s not a resolution because I've spent the last few years literally making myself sick over the fact that I've been trying so hard to find one and always getting rejected. I'm going to focus my energy on other aspects of my life and let what’s meant to happen, happen. I pushed with all my heart and soul to make so many different opportunities become realities when they didn’t, only to end up broken hearted and distressed afterward. I'm focusing on bettering my personal life and will hope and pray that with that, it brings along the much sought after success in my professional life. I already feel like my two small, work-from-home jobs are putting me on that path.

Essentially, all of our resolutions come down to just living a happier and healthier life and being more in control of accomplishing our goals and dreams. We’re both feeling hopeful and excited for 2017...a feeling we haven’t had in quite some time. And I like to think that we’ve finally paid our dues enough to be able to enjoy a positive and magic-filled life. ;P The only way to go from here is up!