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Archive for December, 2023

2023 Wrap-Up and 2024 Goals

December 31st, 2023 at 01:32 am

2023 was a quiet year.  The most notable happening in my life was losing my beloved Buffy cat.  Other than that, I took two long-weekend B&B trips and had my usual once-a-year visitor.  No other traveling, even though with Buffy gone, I have more freedom to travel. 

2023 Goals & Results

1.GOAL:  Health: Maintain/improve on health gains from 2021-2022. 150-300 "zone minutes" per week.  Maybe run a 5k?

Results:  I DID run that 5k!  I achieved the goal of 300 "zone" minutes for 16 weeks during the year, and over 150 minutes for 36 weeks.  While there was some up and down in weight, I end the year within 3 pounds of where I began it.

GOAL: 2. Wealth:  Continue to save, and to pay down total debt to 60k by January 2024.  

Results:  Wealth accumulation was a success--I did add savings, through my retirement plans, and my total assets are about 120k more than they were a year ago.  My gross estate (including life insurance) surpassed a million, so I suspect that my total assets excluding the insurance will pass that in 2024.  Debt-reduction, on the other hand, was a near total miss, down only $3,200.  Buffy got lymphoma in March and I did not have pet insurance, and I took on some debt to try to save her, since the research indicated that it was not unreasonable to expect the chemo protocol to add many months to her life.  But she only survived 2.5 months post-diagnosis.  I'll aim for that 60k total debt by the end of 2024.  

GOAL 3. Systems, habits, and routines:  Improve workflow to get tasks completed earlier. At home, DAILY and weekly routines including 4 hours a week decluttering.  Bring in some professional help to really make progress this year!

Results:  Nope.  I did follow a program for about 3 months and made some temporary progress, but nothing lasting. Well, the SYSTEMS I set up are good, and lasting but I didn't keep up with the routine maintenance that is needed to keep the clutter from accumulating.  I need to build that in as a weekly and monthly practice.  (For me, most of the clutter is paper, and this means recycling or filing papers WEEKLY or MONTHLY and not just when the piles are so high that they cover my dining room table and desk.)

2024 Goals--basically same, just moving the needle a bit. 

The Health goal is "net negative" on weight--end each month lighter than I started it.  If I can lose half a pound on average per week, that's 25 pounds during the year and at my goal in two years.  But 25 pounds from where I am now would be a signficant improvement from where I am now and is actually what the average woman of my age and height weighs.  

Also, now that I've done the 5k, my goal for 2024 is to keep it up.  I found a group on Facebook that hosts "virtual" 5ks from May through January.  You *really* run the race, at a place of your choosing, and during a 3-hour time window.  You connect your GPS-enabled smart watch to the site to report distance and time, and they send you a medal for finishing.  I could care less about the medal but am willing to pay the race fee for the extra incentive.  I'm signed up for my first virtual 5k with this group next Saturday.  My intention is to do the monthly races virtually all year, and run enough during the interim that running a 5k once a month is just part of training.  I'll probably do two 1.5 mile runs during the week and a 3 mile run on the weekends (3.1 miles is a 5k), and maybe more once we get to next fall.

Then I want to run the "live" Turkey Trot again in 2024 (the race that I ran this year), and hope to boost my performance.  My time for 2023 was 1:03:31 (very slow, but I wasn't last, I was 17th out of 19 for women over 60) and in 2024, I'll hope to break an hour.

Also I'm hoping to do more regular resistance training during the year.  There are a limited number of basic movements (Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Rotate) and I found a book called "The Simple Six" that lays out some exercises and recommends a routine every weekday of doing 1 set of 10 of each of 5 basic exercises (the 6th is walking), and each day, adding 4 additional sets of one of the exercises.  I've found that I can do this in less than 10 minutes after I've had a couple of cups of coffee.  I've also been reading up on "Micro Workouts" and found that there is research to substantiate this as a way of adding muscle.  The gym and working with a personal trainer is definitely more intense (but also takes more time and $$). aybe I'll go back to that over the summer, but the "microworkouts" is a good way to get started and to maintain during the busy times of year.

Also, I want to take advantage of the fact that I live near an LL Bean outlet that has a "Discovery School," and I want to take some kayaking lessons and maybe even try stand-up paddle-board next summer.

My debt goal is the same as last year--bringing me ever closer to Financial Independence.  And I DO plan to declutter significantly next year, but I'm not going to expect myself to do a regular 4 hours a week.  It's going to be more irregular than that.

I'm planning to hold off on adopting another cat (or two) until I make some progress on the decluttering, so there's the incentive.  And I'm most likely to get decluttering done during LONG weekends, especially when there's more light during the day.  Daily decluttering is not going to work for me; I need to focus on trying to do some filing each weekend (on top of the grocery shopping and laundry that I do) and some decluttering of some small area each month.  I'm going to try to make sure that I have at least one 3-day weekend a month in my schedule in order to keep up with my filing. So I'm planning to hire some help to clear out the other clutter areas that are a problem (one room in particular which once upon a time was a guest bedroom and now is just a MESS).  The piles in that room are currently dangerously high and unstable for a kitty who might try to climb them. I REALLY would like to have new kitties by sometime next spring!

Belated Thanksgiving Day weekend post

December 3rd, 2023 at 08:54 pm

So I accomplished one of my 2023 goals last weekend.  I completed the town's Turkey Trot 5k!  And I wasn't even last.  There were about 550 runners, and I was 3rd from last.  All 3 of the last in were women over 60 and I was 17/19 in that sub-group.

I'm taking my running back indoors for the winter but I'll probably aim to run 3 5ks next year.

Otherwise I spent a few hours of Thanksgiving Day with a friend's family.  It's nice not having to think about where to go (I have a standing invitation to Thanksgiving at her house), but I also felt as though I would have been fine on my own for the day.  

When I was in my 20s and on my own for Thanksgiving for the first time (I was in Michigan in grad school and my family was in Los Angeles and it didn't really make sense to go home just for the weekend, especially so near the end of the semester), finding a place to spend Thanksgiving was a big issue, and it was something that I worried about well into midlife.  But these days, I actually feel as though so much of my free time is taken up by thinking about things relevant to work and that I'd rather have some truly free time to myself rather than fulfill a social obligation.


Other news:  I still haven't made any additional progress in decluttering since my friend's visit in August--and, predictably, the dining room table is a mess again.

In particular, the "cat room" (storage room/someday guest bedroom/study/workout space) is a mess.

Meanwhile my best friend in town, who has been retired for over 15 years, has been feeding feral cats around her house.  One of those moved indoors a couple of years ago.  Another lives in a heated bed she keeps on her porch.  Both are females.  The indoor one is friendly and the outdoor one is not.

Then there is a young male who is very affectionate who has now moved into her cellar, who she refers to as "your (i.e., MY) next cat."  He seems interested in meeting her indoor kitty, which is a good sign.  Meanwhile it is my busy time of year and I don't have time to clear things out or organize!  My schedule is light the last two weeks of the year--maybe then?

I'm also still paying off Buffy's final expenses, and I had intended to adopt two kitties together so they could keep each other company because I do spend lots of time at work--especialy this time of year.  My heart is ready for more pets but the house isn't.  Unsure what I'm going to do.