I hereby declare the year 2008 to be...
(wait for it)
(drum roll, please)
The Year Mary Gets Her Shit Together.
After a year that I was not sad to see the end of, I am happy to see that 2008 has arrived. And I would like to start off this year by resolving to stop living a life bred from fear. I think that it is quite true that fear in some way dictates many of my actions...specifically a fear of change and a fear of doing things differently than I have before. How are those different? Let me explain...
A fear of change is pretty self-explanatory, I think. I don't like when things change. I don't deal well with new challenges. That can be a new house (still recovering from that one, and I have lived here since July 2006), a new marriage (still getting used to that one, a mere fifteen months in), a new job (almost one year down at this one, but still having plenty of anxiety about it), a writers' strike (WHEN can I get a new episode of The Office?), and anything in between. I have actually changed a lot of things in the past year and a half or so, and I am not completely paralyzed by those changes, so maybe I am doing okay. But maybe I also need to stop fixating on something that happened 18 months ago...maybe.
A fear of doing things differently than I have before is both broader and narrower than just a fear of change. This fear encompasses every little thing that happens in my life. I have to take care of a baby on a ventilator? Scary. I have to call someone I have never called before? A little scary. I have to stop using my credit cards and realize that just because I want a new pair of boots, I don't really need them? Scary. I have to actually pay attention to what I am eating and exercise a bit because I want to live a longer, healthier life? Scary!
The two biggest things I would like to tackle in 2008 are (I think you will be shocked) my over-all physical health and my over-all financial health.
My plan for the first is to go back to Weight Watchers and do my best to follow their program. I also plan to take my dog for walks at least four times each week (good for both Otto and me) (oh, and weather-permitting). And I plan to get back in the gym, which will cause me to no longer just be wasting those $50 per month and will get me in better shape and better spirits.
My plan for the second is to realize that I have some debt to repay, and I need to repay it. I don't need to buy new boots or a new purse or multiple lenses for my new camera. I don't need to go to Target weekly and spend $100 I don't have on stuff I don't need. I don't need to stop at Wawa every time I am on my way to work to spend $10 on snacks and drinks for the night. I don't need to stop in at CVS for a magazine, a pen, a lip gloss, and a Sudoku book. I don't need to eat McDonald's several nights per week. What I do need is to budget realistically. I need to look at the bills I have to pay each pay period, stick them in a spreadsheet (done), include other expenses like groceries and gas for my car (done), and actually follow that budget as religiously as is possible. When I pay all my bills and realize I have $400 left over for two weeks, I need to remember that other expenses will crop up before my next paycheck appears, and I should not commence spending said $400 on things I don't really need. I have spent a long time surrounding myself with things...and I am definitely scared about not doing things the way I have before. But I am more scared of my mounting debt and what it will mean ten years from now if it is still sitting there, compounding itself. Therefore, I have to take care of this now so I don't have to take care of it later.
Here's to getting my shit together in 2008! Here's to a life without (as much) fear! And here's to the 366 days we have to get it right before we celebrate New Year's all over again!