A new year. A new start.

Over the past year, I’ve been on quite the adventure.  I not only remembered but was success full in my new years resolutions, got a puppy, took a wonderful trip with my eldest daughter, where she showed me a new appreciation for a place I already loved.  And, for the first time since I left high school (no, I don’t wish to calculate how long ago that was) I find myself unemployed.
So, lets start with the resolutions. Last year I made three resolutions. To take more sick days, not purchase any clothing for the year, and to have more fun.
I did use up all my sick days as well as my vacation days. No, me taking time off is not the reason I currently find myself unemployed. What did I learn? No one cared. No one got angry with me, or said anything to me about taking time off. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure they noticed.
I did not purchase any clothing for the year, with the exception of two things. Our lovely new puppy took a liking to my work shoes. So while I was in England, I purchased a new pair of vegan Doc Marten’s to replace them. (7 months later and they still look brand new, even after experiencing some Canadian slush.) And since I was going on interviews, I also allowed myself to purchase a new suit. What did I learn? Anything that I would have wanted to buy was already in my closet. When I do go shopping, I pretty much just buy more of the same thing, with maybe slight variances. Despite not adding to the closet, I also purged my wardrobe. A lot! There was nothing wrong with items I purged, except that I had three others of same style already in closet. So at the end of the year, I was left with just the items I really love, and three empty drawers in my dresser. So really, when I did go shopping for clothes, I was just looking for the experience of it and not necessarily new clothes. So… really I just need to fill my experience bucket with things other than shopping… Also, having fewer clothes saves time, money, and effort. When I have just a few pieces of good quality items that I love, I always look good, and no one notices that I re-wear an outfit that month.
And my last item on my list was to have more fun. Mission accomplished. I deleted and post-poned items on my never ending to do list, and left only the items that had to be done asap, pending penalty. No one noticed that the floor had only been vacuummed once that week instead of two or three times. No one cared that the dishes piled up on the counter. I also noticed that some of the organizing I did that I thought saved time, didn’t really save time… it just made things look nice. Once that was done, my daughter and I signed up for music lessons. Her on ukulele, and me back on guitar. I’m happy to report that a year later, we are still taking lessons, and still loving it. I looked for free things to do in our community to do with the girls on our time off, which let us meet new people as well as connect with people we lost touch with. My oldest and I took a trip to England to see some wonderful friends of mine. I read eleven books. We got a puppy, named her Pickle, and have lots of silly fun with her. We started having weekly slumber parties in the living room, playing video games, watching movies and eating junk food till we fell asleep. I started dancing and singing whenever the mood struck me. Instead of getting strange looks, people either smile or join in. I feel I’m closer to my family and friends than I was before.

This year, I have some new challenges for myself.
1. No fast food for a year. This one took me a bit to figure out the rules. The obvious would be to just not order burgers and fries, right? But does that mean if I make them at home, its still fast food? What if I go to a fast food joint and order a salad? Does that count? So, here is what I’ve come up with. If I have to stand in line to order and pick up my food, the location offers more than one size of french fry, and said item is stored and pre-packaged (ei donuts and the salads that come in those plastic containers at places like Wendy’s), I won’t be eating it. I’ve already broken this rule once, but I’m not going to give up. A box of tiny bite sized morsels of temptation (aka Tim Bits) was placed in front of me. They didn’t last long.
2. Much related to last years no buying resolution, I’m going to try and live by these rules for year. I’ve already scaled down my actual clothing to less than 33 items. I made one exception; since I live in Canada, and ugly, clunky, chunky coats and boats are a necessity to avoid hypothermia, I’ve decided to let myself have a free pass on ONE winter jacket and ONE pair of boots. I am struggling with my collection of costume jewellery and scarves however. I have purged and put some of the lesser worn items away. My goal is to further refine my style and lesson my load of possessions.
3. And last but not least, my final goal this year to not watch TV one day a week. I’ve chosen this day as Wednesday, though I have yet to be successful the passed two Wednesdays. My goal is to find other things to fill my down time and to reconnect with hobbies I love.
I think that’s enough for this post. Next post – what I’ve learned from being an unemployed bum.

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Amanda M

Vegan most of the time. Mother all the time. Super Woman in my free time. I am currently an events manager with a retail chain, and am working my way into freelance writing. I've had my first book 'Go to Sleep, Leona!' recently published, and am currently working on more fiction pieces.

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