A new year is approaching, bringing with it a plethora of resolutions via social media made by friends, family, and even people you don't really know, but never unfriended/unfollowed. Resolutions to go on a diet, to exercise more, to be a better person to their spouse, to stop buying unnecessary things, and so on. Buzzfeed will be buzzing with articles on the "15 things you should give up in the new year" and stories on all the terrible things that 2014 handed us.
I'm going to sound a bit hipster here in saying I never really participated in New Years resolutions, or ever felt the need to share my goals for the new year, but it's true, I haven't - I've always assumed there was nothing worth sharing. Being a regular on r/personalfinance, I come across stories daily about the financial success of others: people who got themselves out of thousands of dollars of debt, paid off their student loans, purchased a home, got promoted. I see my friends getting married and having families. Yet here I am, almost 26 years old, with nothing to show for it. Where's my house? Why am I still struggling to stay on top of my mountain of debt? Why have I achieved so little in my 25 years here on earth? These are the thoughts that run through my head every day, and hinder my once bubbly, glass-half-full character.
This year, however, I want to do a little bit of self reflection, an attempt to be positive going into 2015. It's true, I haven't accomplished a lot of the goals I set and have been dreaming about for myself when I was 7 years old, but I have accomplished things to be proud of. I'm taking this time to look back on those things via a list so I can remind myself I'm not a useless human being, but someone who has, in fact, done some pretty cool shit.
Without further adieu
- I moved out on my own for the first time (last year). Moving out was always a dream of mine and while I've always unrealistically wanted my first place to be my first owned home, I'm glad I got to experience the joys of renting. I proved to myself (and my parents) that I could financially support and care for myself, even on salaries that were less than ideal for Massachusetts living. It's been almost two years now since living in my little house and I'm very fortunate for that
- Not long after, I (and my boyfriend) adopted two kittens who I couldn't see my life without. I have successfully kept them alive and healthy for almost 2 years - that's worth something, right?
- I, my boyfriend and two of our friends completed and launched our little gaming news/media website, designed and partially developed by yours truly (Greg did all the fancy coding to make some things actually function)
- In March, I got a new job at a place that combines my love with animals with my love of web design and development, which also happened to give me an $11,000 increase in salary from what I was making at my previous job
- During the summer I finished my Super Mario Brothers aquarium, which has gone viral on the internet multiple times now
- I developed a plan to tackle my student loan debt after coming to the realization that I would get no where in life with it looming over my head, and started attacking it full force
- I illustrated more, with the new additions being some of my most treasured
- As fall approached , I started prepping for my holiday Etsy by adding a new item to the shop, which also went semi-viral
- I paid off my first student loan, motivating me more than ever to continue fighting this fight out of debt
- I opened my Etsy shop for another holiday, making enough money to completely pay off my car
- A Breaking Bad actor purchased one of my ornaments and proceeded to share a picture of himself with it via all of his social media outlets
- Riot Games contacted me and custom-ordered 4 Poro ornaments, which they decorated their office Christmas tree with and then shared on their League of Legends Twitter
- I paid off my car, ridding myself of another loan
- In less than 5 months, on a salary much less than $50,000/yr, I brought my debt down from $48,496 (in my name) to $36, 996. No one helped, I didn't have combined income via a husband, nor did I have that magic $80,000/yr salary everyone in r/PF seems to have. I worked 4 jobs and sacrificed a lot of things to get myself there.
I may not have purchased a house or got engaged, but I achieved and passed some pretty significant milestones in the last year that will only bring me closer to my main life goals.
If you're hard on yourself like I am, take a minute to reflect on 2014 and write it down. Share it. It never hurts to have a reminder of the impacts you made in your own life and the life of others. You may even be surprised at what you come to realize/find.