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3 Big Victories, 3 Big Disappointments From My 2013

Times Square Ball

Adieu 2013

2013 is nothing more than a Times Square Ball drop from being in the books.

As excited as I am for 2014 to arrive, I’ve been thinking over the Christmas holidays of the incredible year 2013 was for myself and my family. As I’m sure yours was also, our year was filled with ups and downs. So today I’m going to conclude my writing for the year by sharing the biggest victories and disappointments I encountered this past year.

3 Big Victories

1. No More School! By far the biggest victory that occurred in our household this year was Mrs. Luke1428’s completion of her Master’s Degree in Accounting and then subsequently being granted her state CPA license. This was the culmination of almost three years of intensive study, discipline and sacrifice on her part. Most evenings, she would come home from a full days work at her accounting firm and study well into the night.

Honestly, I’m not sure how she did it but our entire family is thrilled for her (and also thrilled she’s done!)

2. He Do Run, Run. In January of 2013, I set a goal to run a marathon in under 4 hours. I had completed my first marathon in Atlanta the prior fall and wanted to best my time on the next attempt. So I put a new training schedule in place and began to run and run and run.

By the time the marathon arrived in October, I had run over 800 miles in my training. The extensive training paid off as I was able to run the Baltimore Marathon in 3:54:20, an almost 15 minute improvement from my Atlanta time. A big victory for sure that taught me a lot about patience and how to respond in moments when you question your goals.

3. In the Blog Zone. I was very pleased that in 2013 I was finally able to find a rhythm to my blog writing. My Monday-Wednesday-Friday format has worked well since June. In addition, I’ve been able to incorporate issues related to personal finance and my faith in the Friday Hidden Nuggets Series. That has been the biggest breakthrough for me personally and I’m pleased it’s been well received by my readers.

3 Big Disappointments

We really don’t like to relive disappointments. The hurt is often so great we would just assume file it deep in a drawer somewhere and pretend the event didn’t happen. But the reality is that we do experience disappointments and dealing with them often teaches us more about ourselves than our victories.

I learned a lot through the trials of these three experiences in 2013:

1. Dealing With Injuries. While taking a stride on a marathon training run in August, I felt a twinge on the bottom of my left foot. I finished the run without much pain but the next morning, the heel and arch on my foot was pretty stiff. I rested for a couple of days then continued my training.

The pain would come and go, then eventually stay as I continued to train. I had to cut back on my amount of activity and use KT Tape on my foot for my long runs. Those adjustments allowed me to complete the training regiment and the Baltimore Marathon on Oct. 12th.

I rested my body after the race but the pain continued to linger into November. Finally, after several unsuccessful attempts at some short distance runs, I went to a podiatrist in early December. The diagnosis? Plantar fasciitis – a breakdown of the plantar fascia tissue that runs from the bottom of the heel through the arch and connects at the ball of your foot.

The treatment?…medication…physical therapy…and no more running.

The injury kept me from achieving another running goal for 2013, which was to run 1,000 miles in a year. I made it to 853 miles before I had to shut it down. I would have made it to my goal because I essentially didn’t run for the last two and half months of the year.

I don’t know when I’ll get back out there. The pain has not completely gone away. I’m frustrated in myself for not seeking treatment sooner. Because I let the injury linger, the healing process will most likely take longer.

2. Evicting a Tenant. I was forced for the first time in five years of being a landlord to evict a tenant from one of our rental properties. The ordeal dragged on for several months, finally ending up in court. You can read about the details as I wrote an exhaustive post about the incident.

The issue that confused me the most through the whole eviction process was not being able to understand what was going through the mind of my tenant. I clearly held the right position and had done everything I could to rectify any concerns he had about the property. I simply could not connect and make him see his legal responsibility to honor the contract and pay the rent.

It boggles my mind how people can be so obviously negligent and irresponsible and furthermore, not seem to care a lick.

3. Losing a Student. By far the biggest disappointment of the year came less than two weeks into our new school year, when we learned one of the 10th grade girls at our school and a student in one of my classes committed suicide. She was a lovely and sweet girl, yet with deep, personal issues that ultimately pushed her over the edge. Her loss hung like a dark cloud over the whole first semester of school as students and faculty attempted to piece the puzzle together and find answers that weren’t really there.

We are all thankful she’s in a better place…but we still wish she were with us.

The only solace that came from her passing is that so many people were touched through the story. This post regarding the incident was my most widely read and shared of the year. I can’t help but believe someone is alive today because they read how her actions deeply impacted our school community and decided against such an act for themselves.

Big Moments on Luke1428

There were some other highlights and big moments on Luke1428 this year. These are the next 10 posts that garnered the most comments from readers in 2013:

My 8 Step Method for Writing a Blog Post

Our Nightmare on Rental Street: Evicting a Tenant

My A – Z List of Blog Related Things I’m Thankful For

10 Reasons People Don’t Tweet Your Post

The Luke1428 Value Proposition

How to Choose a Career

Is the Debt Snowball the Best Method to Pay Off Debt?

“I’m Rich!” – How to Handle a Lump Sum of Money

Be Intentional: How to Develop a Giving Plan

How to Get Out of Debt

I’m really looking forward to 2014. Thank you to all who frequented this blog in 2013. I appreciate your friendship and support.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year!

What was your biggest victory in 2013? Your biggest disappointment? What big thing are you looking to achieve in 2014?

Image courtesy of Susan Serra at Creative Commons

Next Post: Give Me Your Guest Post Yearning to Breathe Free

Prior Post: Knowing When to Give Yourself a Blogging Break

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  1. Stapler Confessions says

    My biggest victory was an accomplishment at work that I’m pretty proud of, but the disappointment is getting laid off from that same job because the partners didn’t financially plan for a downturn in business. My word for 2014 is Growth, and I’m really hoping to get back on track with our finances — pay off debt, make IRA contributions, and make money with a new venture.

    • I think those are all great financial goals for 2014. That’s disappointing about the job. I’m sure that was frustrating especially when, if the company had planned better, it might not have had to happen.

  2. Gosh life really does come with it’s ups and downs. I would say for me personally my biggest achievement was growing my blog and making it profitable. I’ve sacrificed a lot to make it work on top of my full-time job and it was great to see some of the benefits. I would say one of the disappointing things was having sinus surgery again and having to deal with multiple issues with our new house (sewer drain-out, basement flooding, etc.).

  3. Sorry to hear about your plantar fasciitis diagnosis. Ouch. Running for many years was my primary workout but a knee injury sidelined me for awhile. I can run again but I don’t run as often as I used to – being careful, I guess. Hopefully some rest will get you back running sooner than you thought. 🙂 I do remember when you shared that you lost a student and I cannot imagine how difficult that was for you and your students. It does make me feel good to learn that the post was so widely shared and like you – I have no doubt that it helped others hurting too. Here’s to 2014 and another great year in Luke 1428 household!

    • The hidden blessing to the injury is that I’m enjoying the exercise bike a lot. I will probably incorporate more of that into my training regimen once I do start running again. It’s definitely less stressful on the body…no constant pounding. Always trying to look on the bright side…

  4. Interesting way to look back on the year, Brian.

    I hadn’t read the story about your the student, but oh my goodness– There is nothing sadder in the entire world.

    All in all.. it was a good year for you without a doubt. Cheers for 2014 being even better.

  5. Student Debt Survivor says

    I remember the post about that student really well (still sits heavy on my heart). Big congrats to the Mrs for finishing school, a huge accomplishment! My biggest victory was probably finishing the 3 courses I needed to take to be eligible to take my licensing exam (just finished the last one in Dec) and my biggest disappointment was probably not taking as good care of my health as I should (I’m young and healthy, but I could stand to work out more, lose a little weight and eat better-all goals for 2014). Happy New Year!

    • It’s an awesome feeling to put classes behind you. Congrats on that! It’s great you are looking ahead to 2014. Setting goals is so vital for us to keep moving forward. Without them we would become stagnant which isn’t a place I want to be.

  6. I’m so sorry about the foot! Believe me I totally get where you’re at. That was me with my shoulder issues keeping me from volleyball. It’s like cutting off a limb. I don’t think people who don’t exercise understand how hard it can be. Hope it heals soon! But as someone who is running their first half, I’m so impressed with people who have PR’s and beat them…especially with a marathon. I’ll just be happy if I FINISH my 1/2 marathon! So great job!

    • It’s doing better than four weeks ago but still not ready to run. So I’ve been doing all my workouts on the exercise bike…I’m actually really enjoying that as I can watch movies and TV shows while I workout.

  7. Wow I am so sorry to hear about the suicide. That’s so sad. Looks like you did have a good year, congrats on your wife’s finishing her Masters!

  8. John S @ Frugal Rules says

    Looks like you had a great year overall Brian! Like Matt, it just goes to show me the need to focus on the things you can control and knocking those things out of the park, which you did. It’s hard to believe that another year is in the books, but looking forward to a solid 2014. 🙂

  9. The thing I take away from this is that the things you could control went really well and the things that didn’t go so well were out of your control. The bad things are unfortunate but they happen. I think you’ve got a lot to be proud of for 2013 and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more over the coming year.

  10. Congrats to your wife on passing the CPA exam! This was something I did this year as well and sticks out as a great accomplishment. Those exams were so much work to prepare for.. I’m happy to have my free time back!

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