The circle of life for most includes periods of reflection. Often this occurs at major lifetime milestones such as graduations from college, upon getting married or when giving birth to a child. Many take these opportunities to consider their life choices, reevaluate and decide what changes need to be made.
It’s also customary to take a few moments at the turn of each year and reminisce about what has transpired, remember those we have lost and celebrate our successes.
Being a little ADDish, I have a tendency not to dwell on past decisions and experiences. I very much live in the moment and focus on the short term in front of me. As I continue to age I have begun to consider that when we get to the end of our lives all the money won’t mean nearly as much as the memories. I need to spend more time cementing these memories so that I have a bucket full of them in my golden years.
2009 was tumultuous for our country and many of our fellow citizens. While we didn’t completely escape the recession, overall my family and I were blessed with good health, continued employment and opportunities to enjoy friends and family alike.
The year started with concern and lack of confidence. My job security was in question, my income was impacted. Combined we suffered a nearly 30% reduction. Yet, we were still able to max out our 401K, our IRA’s have billed filled and we still managed to put some extra into a taxable investment account.
We also accomplished to fulfill a few other dreams and objectives in the year.
Our daughter got her first piano. It’s nothing fancy and very used but the piano tuner we hired was impressed. A Baptist Church not too far away had converted to electric keyboards and posted it on eBay. We spent more renting the truck necessary than on the piano. It was the best $75 I every spend; I could listen to her play her classical music for hours!
Our son, quickly becoming a capable guitar player (I love the classic rock he plays). For something he will cherish throughout his life I built him a custom electric guitar. I am no expert, it was my first, the action is a little high but we were able to set the intonation perfectly and tune it on the first try.
Because of the reduced income and lack of certainty we tightened our belts even further to hoard some cash just in case. Amazingly we are still eating and living just as well. Plus, now that things are a little more stable we were able to apply several thousand dollars to the principal on our mortgage. Our 30 year mortgage is now a 22 year mortgage.
My hobbies in the garage led me to building a CNC machine. I can say it was finished in 2009 but it won’t be creating anything until 2010 and until I take the time to learn the CAD software I obtained. The big question is what to make with it?
My wife got her bathroom floor tiled. It should have been done in 2008 but after laying 2000 square feet of cherry hardwood over the Christmas of 2007 I needed a break, sorry babe!
Every year though I try to challenge myself to do at least one thing far outside my comfort zone. For 2009 I couldn’t get any farther than writing, or better yet letting others read what I write.
Of all things this year, I am most proud of this nascent blog. For a long time I thought it would be too technical and too difficult. I had learned Basic programming language 30 years ago and didn’t want that kind of pain. WordPress is like magic though and with the plethora of open source and freeware products available wonderful things can be accomplished.
EliminateTheMuda began in July with a ranking on Alexa somewhere in the range of six million. Taking a look at the ranking widget on the outer right column EliminateTheMuda is just above 371,000 today. There is still a lot more to accomplish but I am pleasantly surprised with the progress so far.
For every reader that has supported supported this site, I thank you. For my fellow bloggers that have provided advice and guidance I am in your debt and will continue to try and repay the kindness. To my wife who stands behind me and every project I take on and to my kids that tolerate my corny sense of humor, I love you.
It has been a great 2009 and I can’t wait to see what 2010 brings.
Happy New Year everyone!
photo by striatic