Hello everyone! This post will be a look back over the past year. I disappeared from the Internet for a while this year, so I’ll fill in some of the blanks on why that happened and also look ahead to what possibilities the future holds.
This year started off with realizing for a second time that home ownership really isn’t for us. A house is a financial burden and a time thief that I do not want in my life. My wife looks at it as a financial burden, but is less concerned about the time aspect. I don’t like to spend time fixing, maintaining, cleaning and worrying about… anything really… but a house specifically because I found myself doing these things quite often as a home owner.
The house sale went well. It sold within a couple of months. We more or less broke even after sinking some money into repairs, so we were very fortunate in that respect.
We moved back to the same apartment community, and ended up on the 3rd floor directly above our old 1st floor apartment. The new apartment has beautiful wood floors, something I didn’t realize was available here. Each apartment is a little different as they were originally meant to be condos, but the management flipped them to apartments during the housing crash.
As we settled in, I felt more at peace. Our cats seemed happier as well. Our old cat (18 years old) meows/cries less in the smaller space. I think he gets disoriented easily and he’s more comfortable in the smaller space where he can keep track of everything. Our family grew closer again. We tended to spread out more in the house, and spent less time together. Now, we take walks more often, typically walking to a nearby restaurant for dinner or the grocery store a couple times a week, and I cherish that time.
There are some downsides too. Our daughter spends a little less time outside, and we don’t have friends drop by like we did in the house. But the upsides outweigh the downsides for us. Everyone is different, so your experience may vary, but renting is better for us.
Also in the spring, just before we sold the house I decided to do something about my Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I’ve always had ADD, but never really considered it bad enough to seek help. I was really struggling at work though. Much of my job in IT requires extended periods of concentration, and I was finding it increasingly difficult to even start tasks that would require too much attention.
I saw a doctor and started taking Vyvanse. I primarily did it to get through the work day, but I also expected to be able to spend more time blogging and writing. Instead something unexpected happened. Not only could I get through my work day, but I really started enjoying my job again. With greater satisfaction in my work, I found less desire to write and blog after work.
To some extent my blog arose due to dissatisfaction around certain areas in my life. I wanted more money at the end of the week, I wanted more free time, and I wanted a simplified version of the life I had been living.
Treating my ADD feels like the final step in that long process.
In summer, football and cheer season started, and our daughter jumped back into cheerleading. I participated more this year, although I wasn’t officially a coach, I helped the coaches and cheerleaders whenever I could. I really enjoyed working with the kids, and I’m planning to sign up as assistant coach or team dad next year. It was a good feeling to give my time to something that matters more than my day job or home maintenance.
We also transitioned our daughter from public school to homeschool. That’s likely a full post in itself, and I hope to find some time to write about it. The summary is that it took her a little while to get serious about school work, and it took me a little while to find curriculum that was effective and enjoyable. It’s going well now, and I feel like she’s picking up many skills she missed in the public school system, specifically in Math and Language Arts.
Something I noticed recently is that as my life satisfaction increases my desire to blog decreases. I still dream of being able to quit my day job and devote my time to blogging, helping others, or some other noble pursuit. The crux we get into as bloggers, is that it really takes a full-time effort to be able to grow a blog to a point where it creates sustainable income. This is very difficult when you have a full time job, especially when evenings are often dedicated to family time.
Add to that, the fact that Minimalism isn’t exactly a money making industry. It can be, but again, it takes a lot of time to make it so. My reasons for creating this blog were to document and share my journey into minimalism, and to help others that were similarly dissatisfied with home ownership, our overly consumeristic/materialistic society, and the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mindset. A secondary reason always in the back of my mind is to earn some income and potentially transition from my day job into something else.
A few months ago I started taking an online course in web development. I have some ideas for web apps that I’d like to work on, but I lack the skills needed to implement my ideas. My current plan is to continue down that path, and see where it leads. I have been short on time to pursue it as quickly as I’d like with work, cheer, family time, and holidays in the mix. But I’m still plugging away when I can find some free time.
I’m not sure what the future holds for this blog. I’m hoping to continue writing here, but I also want to create something that can earn some extra income. I really enjoy writing, so I want to continue doing so in some form. I’m at a crossroads, as many of us often are in life. The only way to keep moving, keep improving, keep growing is to continue to create and work towards new goals. When some goals are achieved, new goals must be set. When life changes and some goals no longer apply or are no longer desirable, you drop them (temporarily or permanently) and choose new goals. I’m somewhere in the middle of both of these ideas and am taking time to consider my next set of goals.
All in all, it’s been a great year and I’m excited for our future! As we approach the holidays I like to spend some time to consider the good things in my life and to say a silent thank you for each. I hope each of you has had a year of growth and achieved some level of success on reaching your goals. Thank you for reading my blog, for leaving comments, and for dropping me an email now and then. I hope your upcoming holidays are full of joy and I hope you continue on your journey towards minimalism in 2017!