Goodbye 2014 You Were My BEST Year Yet
By Laine Himmelmann
2014 was my best year yet and it’s all because I finally made myself the most important person in my life.
I’ve realized throughout this groundbreaking year, that when you make yourself the most important person in your life – you keep the promises you make, you value yourself, and crazy things can happen.
I used to have this problem with eating frozen food.
Not like a new age seaweed-subsisting hippy dippy whose Pinterest search bar auto-fills “gluten-free” and “vegan” every time I log-in kind of problem, but a legitimate problem with waiting for my food to unfreeze before I consumed it.
I used to think of these embarrassing frozen-calorie consuming moments as isolated incidents and the repercussion of a whiskey-filled Saturday night. But late last year I realized that my occasional impatient frozen-gratification was symbolic of something bigger. I wasn’t valuing my time, my satisfaction, or my waistline.
Every time I tipsily consumed a frozen corndog I was eating something that not only wasn’t that good, but was ruining my appetite for something that could have been tastier and better for me.
Clearly eating frozen corndogs isn’t that big of a deal or going to ruin your life – but I was also dating men that I wasn’t in love with and knew I never would be, my credit card debt was growing and I had nothing to show for it, I was wasting money on trivial weekends at the bars rather than on something I could build memories with, and I was wasting myself and my one precious life on things that would never bring me happiness – and that can. And it’s all because I wasn’t valuing myself or my happiness enough to work for it and wait for the things that would bring me joy.
So in December of 2013, I made myself the first New Years Resolution I’ve ever kept. I told myself I would stop dating men I didn’t love, get out of my $5,000 credit card debt, save my money to spend on things that were memorable, and, obviously, stop eating frozen corndogs.
I’m proud to admit that thanks to some strict and simple excel spreadsheet budgeting, a little sacrifice, and a 0% interest for 18 months credit card balance transfer offer, that I will be debt free by 2015. Working from a nonprofit budget salary, this wasn’t easy. If you’d like advice on how to do this, email me and I’ll happy to share. Being debt free is a liberating feeling and one that I would definitely encourage making as a New Years resolution and sticking to.
I’m also proud to admit that this summer, I crossed off a bucket list item and went on the trip of a lifetime with my best friend -backpacking around Europe for 4 and half weeks. For financial reasons, I never had the opportunity to travel abroad in college or after and I had long thought it would never happen. I’m here as a testiment that no matter how old you are, what amount of money you make, or where you are in your life – if you want to travel, you CAN make it happen. It took some sacrifice (I missed Coachella this year and spent more weekends at home than at Low Brau), but as Natalie and I danced in the streets at Lucerne-fest in Switzerland and rode on the backs of our new Italian friends’ Scooters throughout the streets Florence– I held no regrets for the Friday nights on the grid I sacrificed to be able to afford to get there. There’s this Avicii song called “The Nights” and some of the lyrics say, “One day you’ll leave this world behind, so live a life you will remember” and for the first time in my life, I felt like that’s what I was doing.
After I got back from Europe, I met a man and, for the first time in my life, fell in love. Our love was magnetic and strong and brought me great joy. I don’ think there’s ever been a time I smiled so brightly or felt so content with the world. And when the time came that I felt he wasn’t valuing me, for the first time in my life, I had the strength to love myself enough to walk away from something I treasured so deeply. Having never been in love before, I had seen my girlfriends go through breakups of ones they loved and never understood the pain they were in – now I can say that I do.
The silver lining of this to-be-determined love story is that he did value me enough to chase me down after I walked away – via twenty hours of driving straight to Sacramento from Colorado through two snow storms…
As I said, crazy things can happen when you value yourself. (I should also mention that when I started valuing myself, not only did it benefit my personal life, but also my professional life. When I got back from Europe, I got a promotion I’ve been after for nearly 2 years).
So here’s the thing – whether my love story will work out or become a sweet memory, I can truly say that between traveling the world, discovering love for the first time, getting out of debt, getting my promotion, and breaking my gross habit of consuming uncooked food – 2014 has been an undeniably life-changing year for me and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store.
If 2014 has taught me anything, it’s that all the things you want in life are attainable if you’re willing to make them a priority, work for them, and force yourself to have the patience to wait for them – but none of this can happen if you don’t make yourself the most important person in your life.
I am so thankful for my incredible family and friends, without your support this year would not have been possible. I love you so much.
Much Love GOTG readers and Happy New Year!