2015 is just a stone’s throw away. I’m eagerly awaiting the start of the New Year and all the hope it promises. As always though, before I look ahead I’m usually looking in the rear view mirror at what’s behind.
Looking behind can be productive. It reminds me of where I’ve been, what I’ve accomplished, and what I’ve struggled with. It allows me to celebrate victories and analyze defeats. With both endeavors I’m looking to derive the best practices that can move me forward with greater productivity and passion in the future.
As I’m sure it did with you, 2014 provided me with some ups and downs. So in what has become an annually ritual on Luke1428, I’m highlighting three big victories and three big disappointments from this past year.
Hail to the Victors
“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” – George S. Patton
If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog throughout the year, these three victories should come as no surprise:
1. Down goes the mortgage
In February, we said goodbye to our mortgage and our lender Bank of America. The look of the bank representative was so sad when I went in and told her we’d be paying off our mortgage and closing our account with them.
We had some very good reasons why we chose to pay off our mortgage early, most notably our intense desire to be 100% debt free. For those who are still working through debt struggles I can assure you the journey is completely worth it. The release of pressure and peace that comes from owing no one is difficult to describe.
2. Man up at home
In May, I announced I’d be leaving my career in education to become a stay at home dad. This was the culmination of a four-year journey to remake how our family earns an income and manages life.
So far it’s paying off in ways that I could not have imagined. Being a stay at home dad does have its challenges but the rewards are far greater and make the obstacles worth fighting. Needless to say, I’m experiencing less stress, more family time, a greater focus on this blog and finding new opportunities not available to pursue before.
3. “It’s a major award!”
No I didn’t win a sexy leg lamp like Ralphie Parker’s old man in A Christmas Story. But in September, I did win a Plutus Award at FinCon14 for Best Religious Personal Finance Blog. This was unexpected as there were several other worthy nominees.
It did though bring a very welcome boost in confidence to be recognized by one’s peers. As a blogger you are always searching for feedback from your readers and other bloggers that they appreciate your work and are benefiting from it. Sometimes it’s hard to know if your work is even being noticed. This served as confirmation I’m at least moving in the right direction vis-à-vis Luke1428.
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden
1. Hanging up the shoes
For someone who spent two straight years running and completed two marathons and multiple other events, 2014 has been a huge bust. I’ve run very little this year due to multiple injuries to my feet and knees. I keep waiting for them to heal so I can get back to this but the body is just not responding as quickly as it did when I was 25.
Consequently my health has suffered a bit in that I have less energy, feel sluggish and have put on a little weight. It seems counterintuitive but exercise produces energy and brings stamina vital for the day’s activities. When I was running I could power through the day and was alert and focused. Now, I’m longing for that afternoon nap.
Needless to say returning to an exercise regiment of some kind is one of my primary goals for 2015.
2. Goal neglect
Speaking of goals, I had only two for 2014. Two! And one of those wasn’t really even a goal…it was just playing out the string of the final few months of teaching so I could quit my job in May.
The only other intentional goal I pursued in 2014 was completing my 31-day writing challenge in October.
As someone who has taught about the importance of setting goals, I’m really disappointed in myself for this. I’m unsure as to why I didn’t pursue more goals this year. Perhaps it was the uncertainty that comes with a big life transition – not knowing what to expect so being fearful to commit to something I couldn’t produce on. I don’t know…but this I do know – this has to change for 2015. I have to be shooting for something.
Oddly enough, looking back on 2014, I really did accomplish a lot…just very little that was intentional.
3. Saying goodbye to a pet
In March, we decided to put one of our dogs up for adoption. It’s hard to say goodbye to a pet but we simply could not take care of two big dogs with our busy lifestyle. Neither of them was connecting with us and the whole situation was becoming unmanageable.
This was a disappointment on several levels. One, because we had to say goodbye but two, because it was a reminder that we had made a poor decision in the first place in adopting two dogs ourselves. We should have only taken the one dog but we let our emotion sway us into making a wrong decision.
Despite the emotional disappointment, I’m happy to say that it all turned out for the best. The dog we gave up found a great home. The one we kept is receiving more attention and bonding more with us now.
2014’s Big Blog Moments
In case you missed it, these are the posts that knocked it out of the park in 2014. Huge views, comments and social sharing drove these to be the best of the best.
Here’s looking forward to a great 2015! Thank you to all who have been part of this community. I love interacting with you and appreciate your patronage of this site.
What victories did you have this year? What brought disappointment in 2014? What are you looking to change for the upcoming year? Have you set any goals yet for 2015?
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