Requiem for the New Year…
* 2020 *
We’ve seen all the memes, the parodies, and the tongue-in-cheek satire.
Poking fun at what an overall sh*t show the entire year 2020 had been.
For me, it was a little disappointing — Because I was *supposed* to kickstart a “new” life this past year.
I was supposed to bounce back from a long-lasting, crappy situation.
I was supposed to redefine myself. Come into my own. Lean into my discomfort & emerge from the other side as a whole new me.
What happened? Well, 2020 happened.
Covid. Global pandemic. Sheltering in place. No socializing or in-person gatherings.
Don’t get me wrong — I 100% believe in the science behind it.
I support the reasoning for remaining safe while in self-isolation.
But it sure was NOT the fun year of self-discovery and metamorphosis that I *thought* it was going to be.
And after much reflection — now that this dumpster fire of a year is finally coming to an end —
I realize I’ve been internally beating myself up for not writing more. For not socializing more. For not putting myself “out there” more often, so I could kickstart my new life.
Feeling slightly inadequate for*not* becoming that new person I set out to be, toward the end of last year.
Because at that point in time, everything seemed fresh and new and altogether attainable. The year 2020 would be the clean slate, a new beginning.
And just look at what the universe did with that plan… With everyone’s plans, really.
BUT, when I look back and really examine this intense desire to catapult this “new person” into existence:
The funny thing is, I’m just now realizing — I already have.
Because there is no flipping a switch to become the person you were meant to be.
It certainly won’t happen at a particular point in time, where this lightbulb goes off and you’re like “Aha, I’ve finally evolved!!”.
You build up to it.
Sometimes moving one step forward, sometimes stumbling and falling back a step or two.
That’s just life.
And fine, so this is supposed to be a money blog, yes? Well of course it is, because doesn’t it all go hand in hand?
Think about it —
If we went back in time to 3 years ago when I first started writing on this blog, it was all about money. And debt. And the intent to obtain something so much better.
The fact that money and debt can hold you back from the things you truly love, and from that one thing you are destined to be doing.
The chance to make improvements, have a brighter future and share more meaningful time with the ones you love.
Has that mindset changed for me? No, not really.
Although I am 100% in the process of redefining my new “why”.
Because before, it was all about getting my family back on track, and preparing for retirement as a couple.
And now, this is more about being laser-focused on the retirement track as a single person.
Funneling as much money into my 401k as possible, while I still can.
Trying to shave off a few work years here and there, to be able to retire comfortably while I’m moderately “young”-ish and healthy.
It’s also about becoming healthy, in and of itself. Feeling good about myself, inside and out. Fitting into that slinky black dress I bought a few years back, but never once got the chance to wear. Feeling confident in my own skin, not being afraid to jump into a conversation and speak my mind.
And yes, it’s about finding music again.
Which frankly — it absolutely baffles me how I allowed myself to become tone deaf over the past twenty years.
But the music never really leaves you.
It remains in your heart, until that melody can be released again.
What Do I Hope for in This New Year?
In the past, a lot of my blog posts would be super long, getting into this great detail explaining why I felt the way I did, and how it differed from the perspective of my significant other.
And the conflict, oh the conflict.
For next year, I’d like to rise above all of that.
Things happen, and you can’t waste time looking back.
So Here Are Things I’d Like to Focus on, Going Forward:
Making New Friends
In the past few months, I’ve made some pretty cool connections with new people. Friends with similar pasts, backgrounds, and passions. Leaning on each other in times of uncertainty. Celebrating wins and achievements. Reveling in the discovery of common interests.
I’d like to expand my reach, learning more about people who have similarities and differences. Those who share a curiosity about life, and an affinity for open discussion.
Reconnecting with Old Friends
Wait, so I used to have actual friends back in the day??
Who used to be a super-social butterfly – THIS GIRL!!
Believe it or not, I used to have a whole crew of besties… which I let fall by the wayside over the years.
It took the coaxing of some new friends to fully realize the benefit in rekindling past friendships. Which I’ve been doing one-by-one, little by little.
I will continue to seek them out, and hope to develop updated connections with them, if they’re open to it.
Romance? Ahhh, Maybe… We’ll See
Am I open to a new relationship? Yes, for sure — just not any time soon. I need to first finish my journey of self-discovery.
But I will also maintain an open heart and an open mind for the future. Because being independent and self-sufficient is a must, but enjoying an equal partnership would be pretty damn cool too.
And Of Course, All of the Money Stuff —
After all, I am still trying to “Master the Side Jam”. It’s definitely a work in progress, but the same goals are still relevant:
- Maxing out yearly contributions to my 401K, HSA and Roth IRA.
- Learning more about investing (Thank you J L Collins…)
- Making charitable donations to causes that are meaningful to me.
- Solidifying an Estate Plan, which is even more important now that I’m living on a single income without a partner.
The End/The Beginning
And now here we are, at the end (or at the beginning?)
I guess you can say the world is cyclical. Some moments in our lives are ending, while others are just beginning — or further out on the horizon.
Most of us thought the world would be back up & running by now. Sadly, that is not yet the case. But we are getting there.
All I can say at this point is — I’m glad this year is almost over. But I’m also hopeful for what comes next.
Thoughts? Comments? Just wanna say “Hi?”
Hit me up in the Comments —
Robin is a full-time business professional who has worked in the insurance industry for over 20 years. She is also a personal finance blogger who shares her first hand experience with the struggles of money and debt. On Mastering the Side Jam, she focuses on ways to maximize efficiencies to make & save money, pay off debt, and live your best life.
She has been been featured on The Money Mix, Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet and Women’s Money Talk, and has been quoted in various online publications.