Well, for starters, I need to get more sleep. I have a very bad habit of going to bed way too late, which leaves me not getting nearly enough sleep, and I feel run down in the morning when I wake up, I move to slow, and I'm consistently running late because inevitably something will happen. The kid's moving slow, or, in the alternative, she's moving too fast, and I have to chase her and tackle her to get pants on her and get her out the door. And of course, this is the time of year when windshields have to be scraped and cars warmed up. So, I think if I go to bed earlier, get more sleep, I can get up earlier and not feel rushed. I think 11 needs to be my new bedtime, aiming for 8 hours sleep.
Then, of course, there's the whole weight thing. Ugh. Husband said he was afraid I'd end up being 400 pounds living by myself, because all I'd eat was fast food. Well, not exactly true, I do eat a lot of soup and salads and such at home in an attempt to save money, but I admit, I haven't been making the best choices lately. I don't think I've really gained any weight since I've been out here (the weight gain came from studying for the bar). But I haven't lost any either, and I have an elliptical machine that, of course, I haven't been using regularly, and a continuing gym membership I haven't been using. So, I decided to start with just small goals instead of saying, oh, I'm going to lose 40 pounds this year, blah blah, yeah right. How about we start with 10 pounds and then reassess? I'd just like for my pants to fit again. So, the goals are 10 pounds off, and running a 5K in the spring. That's doable, that's a goal I can meet and then feel good about myself instead of feeling bad about myself. And then I'll make new goals. Baby steps.
I've done really well with not spending a lot of money lately. Of course, there was plenty of money spent over Christmas, but that's to be expected, and it wasn't out of control. But, the main difference has been that I'm spending "real" money instead of "future" money (i.e. credit cards, student loan disbursements). In fact, I've stopped using credit cards altogether. The interest rate on my travel reward credit card tripled, so I transferred the balance and am now paying 0% interest for the next year, giving me plenty of time to pay it off. I figure when we start planning our trip to Europe next year, I'll give them a call and give them the opportunity to win back my business by lowering my interest rate to a reasonable figure. Anyway, my goal for this year is to have half of my credit card balance paid off. (What can I say? I have a lot of credit card debt. I lived well during law school.) So, I'll continue the good work, with not eating out very often, and putting as much extra money as I can muster onto the credit cards. Then we can take a nice (modest) vacation to Europe once the debt is gone.
A very good thing we did this past year in both saving money (and reducing our massive carbon footprints) was make energy-saving improvements to our home. We added insulation to the attic, we put in new garage doors and new front and back doors, as well as new screen doors. We had an energy assessment a few months ago, which told us that replacing the windows would not be cost-effective, but the other improvements would be. I've already seen the difference in our gas bill. It is somewhere around 1/3 of what it was last year. This is also coupled with installing a thermostat that automatically turns down the temperature during the day, to go back up in the evenings when we're home. (Of course, Husband is often home during the day, but he likes it colder anyway.) The next big money-saver (and environment saver) will be getting the kid out of diapers. She is definitely ready for potty-training, and so are we.
And of course, there's work. I have goals for myself in the New Year. First, it'd be nice to actually earn my keep. I know baby attorneys don't really do that right away, but I am ambitious. I want to build a reputation for myself as a hard-working, brilliant attorney who returns all the phone calls, responds to all the letters and meets all deadlines in a timely manner. There's a long road ahead for that, better start paving it now. Also, I want to change the way we do some things. I think I'm comfortable enough to get that done, particularly about electronic document storage. It's inefficient, it drives me crazy, it should be uniform. It must be fixed! And I'm OCD enough to be the one to do it. Finally, I'm building up my confidence. Although I readily admit that I am still the grasshopper to the zen master, I am at least a moderately competent grasshopper that can go to a court and have a hearing and not grossly malpractice. So, that's something. In the New Year, I want to build up my confidence even more and take on even more difficult tasks. I've gotten in a few new clients of my own and I'm very excited about some of the cases I'm working on. We've got upcoming trials, and there's GAL training to do, and this summer will be my first state bar association conference. There are new people to connect with and new organizations to attend, and I'm very excited. Oh, and I will also be getting minions: We're going to get high school interns this Spring.
So, things are exciting, but I'm also a little apprehensive. Husband has to start looking for a job this semester, and where that will be, what position that will be, and how much it will pay will determine what our future holds. As I've told him, I'm not really that nervous or anxious about it, but it does make me antsy to be kept in limbo, because I'm a big planner, and when there's a key piece of information missing and I can't plan anymore, it makes me a little on-edge. And of course, there's that exam for the awesome federal agency that investigates stuff. Another reason to lose weight and get into shape, but again, not holding my breath. Very excited to be taking the exam though, even though I'm sure there are some ivy league educated, retired military personnel who speak seven languages who will also be taking the exam. But who knows. We're in a solid place financially, and we have the flexibility to make things work whatever we decide to do.
The only thing that makes me anxious and throws a big wrench into it all is the idea of having another child. Woe is me for marrying an individual without a uterus. I just don't want to go through it all again. The vomiting, the aches, the pains, the pokes and prods. The not drinking alcohol for 9 months! That was much worse than the actual birth. Granted, there was extra drama involved in my pregnancy, but still, I hated being pregnant. But I do want another child. I just don't want to be pregnant again. If I had the money, I would definitely outsource the next pregnancy. I've talked to Husband about adopting, but he doesn't see the benefits. He seems to think his genetic material is so impressive that it must continue to be passed down to many future generations, in as many different lines as possible. Riiiight. Anyway, decisions will have to be made this year. Ugh. More decisions.
So, I guess that's it. I'm starting to do more things that interest me outside of work and family. Reading, music, hopefully some writing of my own. I'd like to get published and start building my academic resume a bit more. I'd like to make more friends here in Small Town. Spend more time with Husband than I got to in the fall, although I don't think that's likely to happen. It will be a rough couple months, particularly as we fight inclement weather during our commutes. But it's only four months, and he'll be done with school.
What a crazy year 2010 will be. Completely unpredictable.