2012 and 2013 Year in Review, And Goals for 2014

So I had started a year in review for 2012 and completely got side-tracked and never finished it. I decided to finish it today while doing my review of 2013, so this will be a double-whammy.

Why do “Year in Review” posts? For me, simple.

  • You can post all the status updates, pictures, and notes you want on Facebook. You have no way to archive or control this information. You won’t be able to go back easily and find items you are searching for, memories you want to share with your children, etc. That’s why I prefer online blogging/journaling. I have the ability to search, categorize, archive, and back-up all this information. And back-ups are the most important for me.
  • It’s good to reflect on the good, bad, and the ugly. It helps to orient the goals I have for the future.
  • New people I have may have met in the year were not around for events previous to our friendship. It may contain information interesting for them to know.
  • It’s therapeutic. Journaling in general is therapeutic for me. It also allows people more insight into my life, because as most people can tell you, in-person I am not a very chatty person.
  • I have OCD, suck it.

2012 – The Year of Heartbreak

January:2012 is going to be an awesome year. I am most excited about my future with the sweetheart and I know great things are coming for us 🙂

This month was bittersweet in different ways. On one end, I had to attend the funeral of my last grandparent, who died on December 29th. On the other end, the ex came to visit during our annual work party at a really fancy restaurant that we got to dress up for. Not only did I get to introduce him to co-workers and spend time with him, but he got to witness work giving me their appreciation (via a new iPad2 and $500) for my 6+ years working there. They also gave me a 13% raise after promoting me to Project Manager in addition to my existing duties of Front-End Developer. Granted, they fired me later in the year, but we’ll get to that later 🙂

My sister also turned 18, meaning she was officially an adult, which means I felt officially old.

February:Me: Life kinda sucks without you. Him: You are never without me” – The Ex

Nothing too exciting for February. I started getting to know someone that has become an invaluable friend over the last year. Thanks Jason 🙂 There was some unfortunate drama relating to that father that shot his daughters laptop and expressing opinions on Facebook and someone telling me I should never have kids etc. But you know how Facebook arguments go 🙂 The ex got me a beautiful turquoise tree of life necklace, and I busted my butt and wallet to get him a gaming system that is no longer around but that he loved when he was younger.

March:I’m honored to know you because you are a good balance of what a decent human being is supposed to be

Sadly, I forget who said that to me.

March I was really motivated with my weight-loss, and made a LOT of good progress. A gentleman told me I looked like Eva Green, though I disagree. I started hanging out with my friend Tracy more, who took me to my first dance club where I had a great time and became addicted to dancing again. We also got our new broiler chickens in which we slaughtered later in the year, supplying our own meat for a time.

Bastian was injured for a time as well, so I took him to the vet to have him looked at. All is well there though. Some other wins was winning a $200 amazon.com giftcard, The ex’s birthday, a Alice in Wonderland Teaparty Birthday Party, Project Managing a site dedicated to Sci Fi Authors of the 1950’s, and Irish carbomb cupcakes.

April: Ah, romance. I’m a sucker for it.

A friend of mine commit suicide in April, tragically the same morning I attempted to e-mail him to see if he wanted to go out to dinner. I don’t think he ever saw the e-mail.

The ex came up for a visit for my birthday and got to meet most of my close friends and co-workers. We also had a drum circle, which I was wanting as my main birthday gift.

Camping with good friends down in Virginia is always a highlight of my Aprils each year. So April is usually pretty awesome when it can be.

May:No excuses not to jog. Ever.

In May, the Ex was going to try to get me to come down to join him for a concert to see his favorite band for memorial day weekend. I was really excited, but his friends decided it would be a guys adventure, so no girls allowed. Come to find out, one of the guys wives went anyway, and I was fairly upset by this. I wanted to be there to share that moment with him.

On the bright side though, he did send me probably the most romantic e-mail I’ve ever received from him. Which led to us planning the trip down in July. Things were finally going to move forward, I had intended to move down to Texas to be with him in upcoming January. We were finally going to be able to be together for good.

My sister attended her senior prom, and I was unable to see her in her dress, but she was quite lovely. Unfortunately I also learned she was planning to move to Tennessee with our mother, which I was not happy about, but she was an adult now so she has to make her own decisions.

I also started hanging out with a new friend that helped talk me through some of the issues I was having with the ex. And also stopped hanging out with another friend, but I am not sure why.

Also, people were general assholes, especially at the Grove.

June:How come when you take pictures documenting your weight-loss and muscle-gain people say you have too much time on your hands? How about I’m making time to take care of myself instead of being like people who use their time watching TV and eating fast food. Too much time? Do you even know me? Fuck off.

June was a fairly quiet month. Everything progressed as normal I owned my weight-loss, my finances, and my productivity with freelance work and life. We killed chickens, I helped a friend rewrite a resume and apply to dozens of jobs, and my sister graduated high school. There was some Grove drama regarding votes, but other than that there were no real major complaints.

July:So I’m going through what is probably the worst time of my life right now.

July I went down to visit the Ex. We hadn’t seen each other since my birthday in April, so we were really looking forward to spending time together again. We had a brief argument while I was down, but we talked it out and I got to visit with his brother as the first person in his life I was allowed to meet. But for the most part, the trip was wonderful, as they always were. However, once I got back his work began to pick up and for the first time in 7 years, it started out as days before I heard back from him, then weeks…

My health did amazing this month, however, and I got to my lowest weight ever. Granted, after the break-up my weight went completely stagnant with the depression, but I OWNED my weight this month.

August:Giving myself permission to move on should I need to, is like one of the hardest things ever.

August was the hardest month of the year by far. After my trip out to Texas to visit the ex in July, he completely dropped all contact with me. It wasn’t until the beginning of August that he said he “Just couldn’t deal with us right now”, but wouldn’t confirm whether that meant things were over or not. He was undecided. So started weeks upon weeks of torture wondering what was going on and why and no word from him either way. Just silence, and in my mind, abandonment.

Three very good friends really kept up with me, helped me through this, and prevented my mind from going into very dark places. I hate to admit, but I was somewhat suicidal this month. Losing a relationship of 7 years and not having any clue why really does damage to the soul. Especially when you had planned out your entire lives together, planned to get married, etc. To have all of that end so suddenly for no reason is quite heart-wrenching.

Needless to say, I consumed a lot of alcohol this month. But I also discovered the value of friendships that I didn’t know I had.

September:That girl has too many talents to be settling.

September was a horrible month in most ways. On the 7th, the ex said it was likely over. I probably stayed up till 3am talking to Donald about it and crying. The next morning, my job for the last 6.5 years let me go, and that evening my good friend Jason took me out to get me drunk. The moment I got home I applied for 27 jobs, and after I went out drinking I probably applied to 10 more.

I had quite a bit of anxiety this month, but it ended on a good note of Donald coming up for a visit for the first time for about a week while I was off work. We had a wonderful time, ate German food, went horse-back riding, went target-shooting out back, and spent a lot of time together.

I had applied to almost 100 jobs and received my first job offer within 2 weeks after being let go. I also climbed tot he top of Mt. Davis, the highest point in PA.

October: “I’m also about to do something wild and crazy in about 2 weeks and just don’t care what anyone says about it anymore. Stay tuned.

October had very high ups and very low downs. On one hand, the Ex officially broke things off at the beginning of the month after abandoning me for 2 months without hardly talking to me. But just prior to that I had started at a new job in York making more money than I ever had before. Also I flew down to Texas and Donald and I drove up together, taking a brief stop in Nashville to sleep and see the Parthenon, which was a bucket list item of mine.

Of course during our trek to the Northeast we were battling beating a snowstorm from the west, and Hurricane Sandy to the east. We happened to drive up between both of them before either hit, so we were lucky.

Earlier in the month was my usual clergy retreat shenanigans, which are always amazing.

 

November: Someone bringing me breakfast in bed? I’ll take it.

November was my first holiday with Donald, Thanksgiving. He also got a job pretty quickly after moving up here, so we were both gladfully employed.

I was also still in recovery from the massive break-up a month prior and tying up the loose ends of that. The ex had finally found out that Donald and I were dating and became super upset and angry at both of us. I got a lot of flack from him during this month, and it was not something easy to deal with at all between the swarm of texts and messages about how wrong it was for Donald and I to start dating.

December:The moment when a 5 year old says you’re the prettiest girl in town.” – Trace

This was my first holiday away from my father. We went to Texas to visit Donald’s family for Christmas, so it was also the first Christmas I got to spend quality time with his family. It was lovely and I am fortunate to have in-laws that are more like family than some of my own blood.

Apparently I brought a break snow to Texas with me though. I arrived at 70 degrees and ended up with 4 inches of snow on the ground the next day.

The trip was also a little bitter sweet because this was the first time I was allowed in Texarkana. While dating the ex, I was not allowed there because he was going through a divorce and didn’t want to introduce me to any of his friends or family until after.

I also photographed my first wedding officially, and was subsequently never paid 🙂

2013 – The Year of Struggle

January:Standing in the grocery store line he says to me, “you are so beautiful.” I love these moments.

January was a bad start to the year, because I believe I was in the emergency room three times. Once for a kidney infection, once for what I thought was a heart attack but may have been a panic attack, and once for a potential blood clot.

Then Donald was also in the emergency room with the flu, which was bad this year. I slept on the hospital floor in his room until they released him.

February: This year I’m going to learn to love myself more, and in return allow myself to be loved more.

February I was the photographer for my cousins wedding, who happens to be one of my best friends. And she was in love with the photos 🙂

ADF Dramaz.

Donald made me my favorite meal of all time, Chicken Tikka Masala, for Valentines Day. From SCRATCH.

It was a rather quiet month, honestly.

March:Bluegrass is truly the salt and soul of earths rhythm. You simply can’t deny that.

March had some ups and downs. I finally got myself completely out of debt, and then about a week later was let go of my job after 6 months due to position termination. Which made no sense because I got a great review in January, and a week prior my boss asked if I’d be willing to take over the Customer Service portion as well.

Anyway, this started the hardcore interview and application process. I believe the first night I applied for 20 jobs.

Life in March was actually pretty good before the laid offness.

April:The company I am interviewing with today has 1 like on their fb and lorem ipsum on their live site. Sounds like they need me too.

April consisted of tackling interview after interview as it was still the beginning of my unemployed phase. I was surprisingly productive for April, catching up on lost time with all my new free time. Though is unemployed time really free time? When unemployed, your new job should be finding the next job, at least that’s how I view it.

Went camping with some good friends, which is always a great time.

Had a birthday party, where someone whom I invited into my home to celebrate decided to steal my heart meds. Assholes. But yes, it was my birthday, which makes this month epic.

Lost another friend from highschool, which was very tragic.

May:Think I’m going to make the back deck my office today and soak up some sunshine.

Fishing for memorial day weekend, also a wedding for a cousin of mine.

While I started my new job at the end of the month, I spent the majority of the month freelancing while unemployed. I was also pretty much an interview madhouse. I partook in unemployment for the first time in my life, and fortunately it paid all the necessities.

Dads truck broke down, but we were able to get that fixed fairly cheap.

We also gifted Donald with his new Americauna peeps.

June:The more I try to figure a few things out in regards to relationships, the more I realize how lucky I am to have gone through years of hell to eventually end up with Donald.

June was a time for butchering chickens, also fostering a home for Donald’s pet chickens, eating healthy, quelling ADF drama, visiting the local view and seeing Timer Wolf pups, and getting used to the new job.
I also broke an 800 credit score 🙂

July:I need a youtube show.

I was asked to become a regular blogger for the local Farmers Market starting in 2014.

The majority of the month, Donald and I spent doing our 30 day detox. It was difficult but we hammered through it well.

I officiated a funeral for the first of two friends who died this year from cancer. RIP John.

Donald killed the fox that had been devouring much of our poultry.

I went camping with some of my best friends and tried my first grilled pineapple.

Had to put $1300 into my car to rebuilt the entire exhaust system after my manifold split. Donald also had a blow-out on one of his tires that we had to fix for some cash.

We got an epic bubbly sunburn while fishing on the lake in a canoe for the 4th of July.

August:You don’t lose weight to get healthy, you get healthy to lose weight

August I lost a family member I was rather fond of, to cancer. An ornery old sucker named Charles who will be greatly missed.

Also officiated another memorial for a friend who passed.

On the plus side, I also officiated my first wedding for two very good friends. I was very proud of it.

I really started tackling the heavy bag work-outs with Donald. He said I had the power punches, and it’s something I very much enjoy. We also took a trip to Mt. Davis so I could show Donald the highest point in PA. It was a great hike 🙂

We finished up our 30 day detox at the beginning of the month, and both of us lost a good chunk of weight.

ringSeptember:I swear, when someone tells me I can’t do something, it really pisses me off to the point where I’m determined to get it done.

I got ENGAGED!

I attended a WEDDING!

I got frustrated with Grove drama and CTP drama.

I wrote lots of resumes for people in need.

I took Donald camping for his birthday and our 1 year anniversary with our friends and showed him the glory of Maryland Steamed Crabs. I also took him to Texas to visit his family for his birthday, which was good fun.

And I pissed off a lot of people at different points in the month. Oh well 🙂

October: “Ran over my dog when I pulled into the driveway. We are at Animal Emergency and Referral Center of York. My heart feels entirely broken.

Donald and I were able to buy him a new used Honda Civic after we found out his truck pretty much melted its engine. We got almost what we put into the diagnostics by selling it to a mechanic. Then we budgeted about $5k to get him a new used car for driving to work. More debt, but a necessary one.

Attended a clergy retreat out in Ohio and got massive loads of work done on my CTP.

I also had to deal with some unsavory overseas developer that had done work for us at work and decided to delete all of it. Fortunately I was able to recover from it well, but it left a bad taste in my mouth about foreign developers.

On October 24th, my dog shot out from behind a bush after I got home late and plummeted under the front passenger wheel of my car. I fractured several parts of his paw, and degloved the top of it. There was so much blood, and I was a basket case the entire way to the emergency vet.

This started a series of ups and downs (mostly downs over the next month and a half that eventually led to his demise.

But after we opted for his amputation surgery due to his age and level of pain, he started to bounce back really well. Initially he was very difficult to medicate, but a few days later once the anesthesia wore off, he was eating like a champ. He was already jumping around on furniture and learning how to cope without his front leg. I was very proud of my little trooper. And I had never been more excited about dog poop in my life. Donald and I were so excited to bring him home, we went out to buy him lots of meats, gifts, and even a “Get well” card, lol.

November:Your life should be a reality show” – My boss

November was crap for finances. Not only did Bastian’s emergency amputation cost over $4k, but during our trip to Texas at Thanksgiving, we found out he also just tore an ACL in his back leg, resorting in another emergency surgery costing $3800. Top that with the pilot bearing going out in my car, adding $880 to the list, we were thrown for a loop in regards to our financial stability. But work was steady and busy, and I enjoyed it.

Both November and December were filled with a lot of caretaking for Bastian. Donald and I slept in the living room every night to keep an eye on him and carry him outside every few hours to use the bathroom. Some nights Bastian would be constantly loud and whiney unless I laid on the floor next to him so he could keep touching me as he slept. It was an exhausting, but loving experience. One that I would gladly do over in a heartbeat for him.

My friends spread the word about Bastian’s emergency surgery. Between them and complete strangers, $4600 was raised to go towards Bastian’s care. I am forever humbled by this experience and the outpour of support. I have decided that every month I will donate to an animal in need in his honor.

Also, my cat of 13 years died of old age in her sleep.

December:No more battling for other people for a while I think. Time to battle for myself.

December was a tricky month. I spent a good holiday with my dad and Donald, but Grove drama trumped a good portion of days in an unfortunate episode of wtfuckery. It helped open my eyes about certain people and made me realize that I need to choose my battles and stop jumping in to help people, let them do it themselves. But I also made sure I stood my ground on some issues, and I remained calm during all of it, despite some people just pissing me off. It is what it is though, people will manipulate, people will make mistakes, some will forgive, others will secretly hold grudges. Nothing I can do about any of it but control how I react to things.

I also had to deal with the worst day I’ve had to go through in probably my entire life, even worse than the break-up with the ex. I had to put down my beloved Bastian. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, in fact it was down right horrible. But at least he was in no more pain. He got to the point where he would try to bite us anytime we’d try to lift him up to take him outside, so I knew that his pain was to the point of no return.

I still place a lot of blame on myself for what happened to him. If the accident in October hadn’t of happened, then I likely would have had a few more years with him. So many people keep telling me not to put blame on myself, it was an accident, etc. And that’s well and good, but this is my way of dealing with this. Mine and no one elses. I blame myself, and I will try to honor his memory by fixing what I feel is wrong in this situation. Bastian is now buried in the back yard, and his memory will be etched in my heart for the rest of my lifetime.

To shed a light on all of it though, we did end up adopting another pittbull mix at the local SPCA that had been abandoned in Hanover. So we are giving another pup a new home, which has helped distract me from the heartache of losing Bastian.

Overall:

2013 was probably one of my roughest years to date. Dealing with the break-up from 2012 still, the job loss, losing Bastian, and a lot of things breaking down at once, my financial stability was in upheaval. But I’ve had sense enough over the years to be able to plan for things like this, and not go completely belly-up. It definitely sheds lights on the areas of my life that are not as stable as I thought, and allows me to improve my mindset for them in the future.

In the end, I learned more about my health, I sacrificed for Bastian, I was loved by Donald, and I still provided for my father. That’s all I can really ask for.

Goals for 2014 – The Year of Transformation

I get into the habit of taking on too much grunt work that I don’t usually have time to do things I -want- to do. I tell myself “I need to get this taken care of so I can eventually do something else”. For example, I’ve been wanting to invest more time in my music and start playing locally again. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, but I keep pushing it off until I had “more time”. Problem is, it never happens because I keep pushing it off. Life is far less fulfilling when it is full of work and not enough passion.

So 2014 is the year where I am making time for the things that better -me-. The things I want to do and feel passionate about. I will still do other work, but I will minimize it to only the necessary portions, such as freelancing to get back out of debt again. I will not be volunteering for other tasks, only doing what I feel compelled to do that fits in with my life harmony.

A list of things that I will focus on in 2014:

  • My Health will be #1. It’s all that any of us have when all is said and done. I will be doing the paleo lifestyle full-time, I will do a 60 day Whole30 detox starting in a few weeks until April, and I will do my best to exercise every single day. We also want to start training for the Spartan race in 2015, so I will also be doing some lifting and stamina work.
  • As an off-shoot of my health, I also want to start making my own products at home more. I already make my own laundry detergent, facial scrubs, and massage oils. I want to start experimenting with haircare, lotions, and make-up as well. Once we are out of debt, I will enroll in some holistic nutrition and herbal related courses to help my knowledge of health both inside and out.
  • I will get out of debt again in 2014. I was out of debt in 2013, and then lost my job for 2 months, then Donald’s car broke down, then Bastian had his emergencies. After all that I tacked up a hefty debt bill again, so I will freelance myself back out of this in 2014. I’ve already taken steps towards this, cancelled accounts we didn’t need like Netflix, refinanced my mortgage which will save me a couple hundred a month to put towards debt, and started freelancing more.
  • Finish up my first circle CTP and start on my second circle
  • Invest time in my music, maybe try to find some local musicians that are interested in playing together.
  • Convert most of our produce intake from our own garden as much as possible, which may require a make-shift green house. Put more time into preserving and creating a root cellar. Live as self-sufficiently as possible.
  • Spend time tying up loose ends from my todo list, and no longer add new items to it until it is empty.
  • Spend more time learning new skills, perhaps really devote to one new skill each quarter.
  • Start planning my wedding in more depth.
  • Go camping more with our friends
  • Donald wants to invest in a skillset to develop a career. Once he has a non-temp job closer to home, we will be investing in his education as well, possibly through a Pell Grant, but likely more technical related so I am not sure that grant will cover that.
  • Start learning a new language or two

We also have some savings goals we wish to accomplish, but most of them will be gradual, but we’d at least like to start putting a little money aside every paycheck for them.

Financial Goals

  • Buy dad a new used truck
  • Get new cellphones as ours are about to crap out
  • Start saving up for new tires for Donald’s car
  • Put money back into an emergency fund
  • The wedding/honeymoon
  • Create a festival budget with which festivals we want to go to this year.
  • Invest more into our retirement accounts
  • Start planning and putting money aside for a new piece of land in the area
  • Invest more in our own education through online training
  • Start saving up for random things like a pet cost fund for Cort.

Crystal Groves

Crystal Groves is a farmer, web developer, musician, blogger, and personal finance enthusiast for the back hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She's an old-time blogger, starting just after 9/11, and has been blogging about technology, personal finance, health & wellness, and local news for the last several years.