2013 was a mix of glorious moments and disappointing ones. Glorious in the sense that unexpected awesome things happened and disappointing in the sense that I wasn’t expecting the downfalls, couldn’t prepare for them, there-ain’t-anything-I-can-do-about-it-now experiences.
I do not like to wallow in life’s disappointing moments, yet, as humans, it is natural. When I see posts from BuzzFeed or Thought Catalog that are not really thought provoking but regurgitated “feel better about yourself” posts, I get it. I totally get it. As humans, we need reassurance that even if what we are experiencing at this moment is tragic, this moment won’t last forever and we need to be cognizant of that. At the same time, I hate those articles because they do pigeonhole us into thinking that this is what life should be: full of gratefulness, positivity and satisfaction. When at many times, it isn’t.
Positivity: I like to think that I carry it with me at most times. My full-time job is a position where I am constantly giving back to someone else, a larger, greater good for society. I learned (the hard way) that if I was going to spend a majority of my life working, then it damn well better be for a good cause, not for someone else’s bottom line.
This year, I had recipes picked up by Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. A food blogger’s dream. My food photography blossomed so much that Tastespotting AND FoodGawker finally accepted a few of my photos, giving me the confidence that I am actually a good photographer and I create recipes that people really want to eat.
In March I visited New York City for the second time with my mom and sister and enjoyed amazing culinary experiences that I couldn’t have here in Indianapolis.
In April a friend referred me to Santosha School for yoga and it changed my life for the better. Regular yoga practice provides me with less stress, more strength (physically and emotionally) and a greater love for a greater good.
2013 still tested my positivity patience. Some were just too difficult for me that I had to write about them to get it off my chest.
My parents are going through a divorce. That’s all I’ve said and will say about that.
In June I learned that I needed to replace my car that I drove for less than three years. Transmission issues were going to cost more than the worth of the car with no real assurance that it would be fixed. Sure, finding a new car was a little exciting, but the process of deciding what to buy, how much to buy and what’s reasonable was difficult. To top it off, my car (that I loved) was stolen in 2010, so I had to replace the car I loved with another car, which lasted less than it should have.
In July we had to make the difficult decision of how to help Brandy with her hurt leg. She tore the doggie equivalent of an ACL at 90%. She was only 4 years old at the time and many more belly scratches were her future, so we paid the $2,500 surgery to give her a titanium knee. Since then, she doesn’t limp or cry in pain, and she can run and be a happy, healthy dog again. Bionic dog Brandy!
In September, our house was broken into and several of our possessions were stolen. I’m still working on replacing them and we did/do have renter’s insurance, however you still have a deductible WHEN PEOPLE ROB YOUR STUFF. Seriously. But my friends came to my rescue, offering their own possessions to help me get back on my feet.
In November I would find out that my health insurance premiums were going to skyrocket in 2014, to the tune of almost 200% more than what I’m paying in 2013. With the Affordable Care Act, John can now find insurance options on the Marketplace, but before, we weren’t paying for health insurance for him. I had always wanted him covered, but since we aren’t married he cannot get insurance through me and his workplace does not offer insurance. So this is half a win, half a loss, because we didn’t budget for this extra cost.
So how do we deal with the financial turmoil? Well, I’m not sure. Thanks to readers like you, I’m receiving more blog traffic which means we make a whopping $0.50 a day on Google Ads, and occasionally the recipe development project comes through and I can make a little extra revenue on that. I’m not the only one who will struggle with exorbitant insurance costs next year and I’m not sure what everyone will do to “budget” for it, but my friend Queen of Free created monthly budgeting PDF’s that you can download for free if you, too, are in a budget crisis for 2014.
Finances are not terrible, but we will have to make changes. The first came with dropping AT&T’s Uverse cable television. We had an HD antenna from our old apartment in Terre Haute that we hooked up so we’re getting the local stations (in HD) and saving roughly $60 a month. We’ve taken a hard look at our entertainment budget and have decided that a few things will have to go. We still need to save for our Yellowstone trip.
Yet it all seems so unfair, and that’s what I hate the most about it.
I didn’t ask someone to break into my house (or have the PTSD that comes along with it).
I didn’t ask my car’s transmission to leak fluid in multiple places.
I didn’t ask my health insurance premiums to go up.
Yet, I have to clean up the mess and live with these decisions that I did not make. Control is important to me, and I did not have control over these situations. I didn’t CHOOSE to live this way. Or did I? I suppose I chose a lesser paying but better conscious job, I chose to spend money on templates for this blog so readers can navigate it easily, I chose to live with two dogs that occasionally cost money to keep healthy, and I chose to go to school for art history and not, oh, plastic surgery or something more profitable.
But those choices are what makes me ME. And without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. The disappointing experiences of 2013 have changed my views on life and while I’ll continue to deal with experiences that are out of my control, I hope that I’ve learned to handle them better. Be stronger, be wiser, be happier.