Wrapping Up 2014: Reflecting Back upon the Year

The 2014 New Year's Resolutions
The 2014 New Year’s Resolutions

Well, 2014 has wrapped up, and it was been a great year overall. Without a doubt, the New Year Resolutions have been a big part of making it great as they pushed me to greater heights, helped heal my heart, and led to my having so many excellent experiences. While not all were achieved, there was about an overall 87.75% success rate once the extra credit was figured in, which isn’t too shabby I think.

1. Listen to John Donne – Don’t Be an Island — 9/10

Resolution #1
Resolution #1

Without a doubt, this resolution was the one that hurt the most. Let me rephrase that. It was more bittersweet. I put myself out there time and again. When people invited me to things where in the past I would have said no, I joined them. There was my going out of my way to connect with some new people in my life too. Some of these led to great experiences and outcomes while others ultimately left me feeling like the last kid picked in grade school all over again (and yep, I was that kid more than enough times). All of these situations did lead to growth as a person, and the great times definitely outweigh the bad ones, so even with the hurt, continuing to listen to Donne is the way to go.

2. Extend the Self-Mandated Year of Being Single to All of 2014 — 10/10
There were a few temptations for sure for me to break this resolution, and there is definitely a chance of a new relationship in 2015 if things should work out; however, ultimately, I was still single when 2014 came to a close, so the resolution has been met.

Without a doubt, this was probably one of the best resolutions for me, for it gave me a chance to find myself. It was also this year that I came across this great blog on How to Pick a Life Partner. The advice given I have taken to heart and plan to continue to do so until my partner and I should meet (I am just assuming that day will happen, but I do teach a class on fairy tales so my mind might have been warped into a hopeless romantic bent; however, if that doesn’t happen, I am okay with that as well, for I definitely know it is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person).

3. Seriously, Finish a Draft of the Novel — 10/10

The Draft
The Draft

And just like that, it was finished. A not-so-great extremely rough draft of the novel, but it physically sits on a shelf in my home office waiting for revisions, which are coming in 2015.

4. Don’t Be a Nice Guy. Be a Good Guy — 8/10

Without a doubt, this is the resolution that confused the most people, but it was also one where I needed to work on the most. The Nice Guy in me definitely still exists despite my best efforts to kill those tendencies, but there has been a vast improvement from before, and there were enough incidences that reminded me I should continue to strive for the latter and avoid being the former. 

5. Be a Better Friend to Your Friends — 9/10

Some of the best guys one could have as friends
Some absolutely great people I am so lucky to have as great friends.

While I could have been a better friend I am sure, there was definitely some improvement with many of them with checking on, calling, messaging, and hanging out. Then there were the road trips to Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, and Denver as well as a short hike in Maine where we were able to grab dinner and catch up in person. There were still a few friendships with which I look back on and wish I would have done a better job, but that will happen (I optimistically type). These true friends I have in my life are my greatest treasure. Sure, many are scattered across the world, but they have saved my life time and again, and for that I am eternally grateful to all of them.

6. Spend at Least 2 Months of 2014 on a Budget Based upon Minimum Wage — 10/10
This was how I spent my February and August. Although there were worked-in loop holes (like the car payment not being a factor, but it was only the car payment. All other bills were part of it), it was still pretty tough, and it led to some great habits that will be part of my ways from here on out. While simply raising the minimum wage is not the answer I know (up goes everything else then too), this is definitely something that needs to be examined, for I have no clue how people, especially families, on a minimum-wage budget do it.

7. Dance! (And Learn How to Dance) — 10/10

Metro Dancing 1

There was swing dancing at the beginning of the year, and then for six weeks this autumn, my amazing friend, Bailey, was my partner for dance lessons here in town where we learned to Waltz, Foxtrot, Two-Step, Swing Dance, and Desperado Wrap. While how much of this has stayed with me, I am not sure, but surely it will come back, right? Dancing is like riding a bike perhaps? At least I hope, for Bailey and I have plans to eventually head to the Moose Lodge here in town to try out our moves. Plus, after my spring trip to New Orleans, I found a few little dance moves working their way into my every day life. A good addition indeed. This has also led to some mad dancing skills (thankfully) only Emi and Callie (by now, they are used to me) see when music is blasting through my house and I am cleaning, cooking, or simply going from one room to another.

8. Get in the Best Shape of Your Life — 6.75/10

    a. Pack on 10 lbs of muscle — 0/10
    b. Become a member of the Million Meter Club — 10/10
    c. Get your body fat percentage to 10% or below — 7/10
    d. Cycle at least a thousand miles this year — 10/10

Another Part of a New Year's Resolution Accomplished!

At the beginning of the year, I was 168 lbs with a 13.7 body fat percentage. Now my stats are 161 lbs with a 10.6 body fat percentage. There was a point where I was down to 10%, but a mix of things over the last couple of months led to the increase (an addiction to peanut butter would be one of them). However, being in great shape is definitely a continued effort. When I was a youngster, I would hear all of these people talk about how easily it was to gain weight as I ate a couple Little Debbie Zebra Cakes accompanied by a Dr. Pepper. And now, I am one of those people where a S’more kick late March/early April even took its toll.

As far as this resolution goes, there is no way I have gained 10 lbs of muscle, but there definitely has been some growth. My free shirt and pin from Concept2 are on their way to me with my becoming a member of the Million Meter Club not too long ago. My body fat percentage was down to 10% at one point, but it no longer is; however, I did get it there. So partial credit, perhaps, thanks to nothing in the resolution saying I needed to maintain it? And cycling a thousand miles was an easy one for me between road biking and using my bike as transportation around Hutch.

9. Carry on a 15 Minute Conversation in Spanish — 0/10

A lot of Rosetta Stone, podcasts, and Duolingo helped me greatly improve my skills, but ultimately, this conversation never happened. I am much further along than I was though, and 2015 is going to lead to this happening.

10. No Bed for You If There Are Dirty Dishes, Dirty Counters, and/or Dirty/Clean Clothes Needing Attention — 10/10

As had guessed, this was one of the hardest resolutions for me to tackle. During the first half of the year, I was good to make it four nights a week with this being true. The next few months led to about 5 days a week, and for the last three months, changes in habits led to my tackling and triumphing over this resolution (plus, I realized the loophole with the word “needing”).

Extra Credit: Play at least one song on the violin by the end of the year — 5/10 extra credit points
So “Moon River” has yet to be played by me, but I did master “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” so yay for the completion of this one.
Well, there’s 2014 in a nutshell for me. One thing I definitely learned through this experience is the joy is through the journey. I sort of thought a feeling of fireworks would come when I finished the draft of the novel as the self-placed curse would be lifted off me sort of like at the end of Beauty and the Beast (one evening when I was out with some friends soon after my last break up, I cursed myself that I would not be able to date until I finished a draft of my novel. Alcohol may have been involved). Fireworks didn’t happen, but memories of all the places where I had written parts, conversations about it (specifically one in particular), and times where something in my mind just clicked in terms of a character or plot element all came back to me. And that bit of nostalgia was really pretty amazing. Often times, our culture is all focused on the idea that success is out there after something is completed, when in reality, every step towards a goal is really a piece of success and one should not miss out on all the beauty and great things surrounding the person by just focusing on the end result.

These resolutions have been excellent for me to say the least, and stay tuned for another set of resolutions for 2015 that will create many more experiences, memories, and times for growth. It is going to be another awesome year!

Thanks so much for the messages, texts, comments, conversations, and just being there along this journey with me. You are the best! Hope your 2014 was a great one (and definitely please let me know how your resolutions went for you), and here is to a wonderful 2015 for all of us!


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