Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Laurie, at Not Just About Cancer, just posted about her New Year's resolutions, particularly ones regarding her health. I thought about what my own would be - even though I don't generally do New Year's resolutions - and here is what I came up with:

1) Manage my money better. See the post I just wrote a few minutes ago about refinancing my house. In general, I've been trying to get better about my spending in the past few months. In part, it's because I used a HELOC (home equity line of credit) to make up the difference between my sabbatical salary (which is only 60% of my normal salary) and my regular salary. I used more of the HELOC last year because of the medical expenses I incurred from the cancer treatment - I have at least $1000 each year out of pocket expenses and alternative treatments like massage and acupuncture are only reimbursed at 70% and classes like qigong or yoga and the chinese herbs are not paid for at all and I somehow had to pay about 20% of all my wound dressings). I must also admit that before my sabbatical, I'd become accustomed to eating lunch out every day, buying books whenever I felt like it, buying games and books for Eddie without really paying attention to price and taking him to county fairs and amusement parks, and going out at least once or twice a week with Scott or other friends on the week-ends. So, I maintained that kind of lifestyle when I could after learning I had breast cancer for the second time and then learning it had metastasized. I just didn't want to have to worry about budgeting when I had bigger health issues to deal with. But now that I'm back to work full-time and have six+ months of good tumor markers, I've decided that I need to start paying down the HELOC and saving more money. I really need to tighten my belt and not do so much discretionary spending. It's doable, but I think I'm going to find it hard. (Also, there are some members of my family who make a whole lot less money than I do - and one is unemployed in this economy - and so I try to help them out because I do get opportunities to work and they aren't able to.)

2) The other thing I really want to work on this year is learning how to accept people (both colleagues and friends) as they are. I mean, there are a few individuals that I have decided to never be around just because they are difficult. But there are people that I need to learn to live with and just realize that they are the way they are and not much will change them. I can only change how I react to them.

It's a tough lesson for me to learn. Part of the reason why it's hard for me is because I've been able to accomplish a lot in life by learning how to control situations so they don't control me. I've become very decisive and take action once I learn enough about a situation, so much so that I have started to think that my course of action is the only course of action and when others move more slowly or don't take action at all, it drives me nuts and I get frustrated and even angry. For instance, over the past couple of months, two people that I love - my partner Scott and my dad - have told me that I'm too controlling.

Anyway, those are the activities I want to work on this year - to accept that other people operate and resolve issues differently than I do and to manage my money better.

Happy New Year!


Carver said...

Sounds like good resolutions. I think it can help to think about ways to improve although I'll admit I'm not doing as much of that as I used to.

Dee said...

Hi Carver,
Let's just see how well I actually keep the resolutions . . . I'll try to keep folks posted!

Yesterday, I did have to struggle with the keeping the second one about accepting someone ...