...actually was worse than both 2009 and 2010. Strange to think that. You might wonder about my attitude on the past year. It would seem it should be positive because, for example, I finally got a job and finally got out of Texas. All's good, right? I think the best I could say about 2011 is that it was the year that will set me up for success in the next few years, but it was a hell of a ride getting through it.
2009 was good until September of that year, when I lost my job. I was numb yet hopeful (and secretly happy to be home with Isaac) through the rest of the year. I'd received a severance package, so we were still doing fine financially, Michael got a job, and I was able to start taking unemployment.
In 2010 I was still hopeful about the prospect of finding a job, though that hope was beginning to wane when I finally got a temporary position in Dallas for the summer. Things were getting a bit tight financially, but Michael's work was steady and my unemployment benefits were hanging in there. My job prospects waxed and waned, but I still had hope.
2011 finally started and the job prospects were looking even better. I had some good interviews and some serious disappointments, but finally by the end of May I'd secured a job with my current company. Don't get me wrong, I truly love the position and the company - I'm not complaining at all about that point! In fact, my career is getting better by the month. However, in 2011 we finally ran out of any form of financial cushion period - its very scary. We can't sell the house in Fort Worth (completely underwater there), moving was extremely expensive and we were unable to find a rental closer than 65 miles from where I work. That means I'm spending gobs of $$ just to get to work every day. On top of that I've gone through two tires (one on each vehicle). The expenses involved were not that bad, except when you throw the house expenses in. The property management company we got to handle the FW house has been a money pit - literally. Our wallets have been breathing fumes for a while because of that company and I was really scared that we wouldn't be able to provide even an adequate Christmas for the boys. Luckily that worked itself out. In all, we seemed to be making poor decisions right and left, and having to pay the consequences all year.
I don't mean to complain or sound negative, but except for my job and career, 2011 really sucked. There were other reasons as well, but the financial aspect really put the pinch on it all. 2012 is already looking much rosier. I know it will involve another move, but I believe we're more prepared for it now than we were before. Plus, most of the issues with renting out the house in FW have now been resolved - can't wait until we can sell that place and at least break even on it.
2012 is the year that we'll finally settle into a place and really make it home. No more moving until Gus and Austin have made it through high school. If we do move, it will be within the same school district. The boys will have a chance to make some good, lasting friendships, right when it really matters.
We hope to find a place with some land and start up our dreams of having a bit of a homestead. I can finally get a horse (or three!). The boys and I want to get chickens and Michael and I want to get goats. I'm so ready to put in a garden for tomatoes! Maybe even plant some fruit trees. Definitely start digging our way out of the deep cavern of debt. This may all be a bit too ambitious for one year, but its good to feel hope surging again. It had faded to nothing like the frost on a sun-lit window. I think 2012 will be the year of working toward balance in all aspects of my life.
I hope your 2012 is as good for you as I hope it to be for me. (with raised glass) To balance... (clink!)