Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bidding adue to 2008

I don't plan to do much of a wrap up, but I figured I'd try to get in one more post before the end of the year. Good thing it's a slow day at the office (slow = I'm choosing to not do much work today) and I have the time to get a few quick thoughts together.

For many, this past year sucked because of the economy and the job market. I was fortunate enough find a new job in May and still have it at the end of the year. I had a talk with my Project Manager a few weeks ago about my job security, to find out if I should worry at all, and there is no need to worry. I wasn't concerned until she brought it up, but having had the discussion is a bit of a relief to know that's one less thing to think about.

With the economy tanking, so did the savings of many, myself included, as my 401k fell nearly 40% in 3 months. Fortunately I don't plan on retiring soon and have time to build it back up. It's one I had with my old job and will be eligible to join my current employers 401k program in January. I'm also starting a few new savings options with one of them specific for a down payment on a house. I don't expect to buy anything for a couple of years, but I want the security to know that when the time comes to buy, I will have the money available.

I've also been diligent this year in paying off my few credit cards and am excited that one will be completely paid off in July after 8 years of non-use. The other should be paid off in the Fall. I plan to put the amount I'd use for each monthly payment into savings. I've also been keeping an eye on my credit reports and FICO score to make sure there are no mistakes and my score is good for when it comes time to buy. I don't spend too much, but my GF and I plan to put ourselves on a budget so she can work on paying off her student loans and we can build a decent savings. It will be difficult to do both, but we'll do our best to curb mindless spending... but, damn it's fun sometimes!

I've been fortunate to be surrounded by good friends and family. I had another nephew join the mix in late June and have seen him three times since his birth. I was back in Michigan for a week for Christmas and had a ball playing with my nephews. I miss them dearly, but weekly phone calls and webcam chats will keep them closer. The three.five year old is certainly a chatterbox and full of questions. He is bright beyond his years and full of imagination. The youngest is just a sweetheart and has everyone wrapped around his little finger. At the Chinese Buffet last week, the entire wait staff was giving him pennies to toss into the fountain as well as pieces of hard candy. A little much for his two little toophers, but it was definitely entertaining.

I don't talk much about my relationship with my girlfriend, but this year has had plenty of bumps along the way. We aren't perfect and every day we're learning more about each other. Some of us aren't very trainable ;) She finally met my parents and older sister this summer and 'passed', and I spent some time with her siblings in January and again over Labor Day weekend. The real test will come this summer when she meets some cousins and aunts from Chicago when they visit DC for a few days. Good thing I have plenty of time to prep her and coach her for the onslaught ;)

I have been in good health and have been fortunate to participate in a number of trail runs. I started up with CrossFit in June along with yoga and Pilate's when I couldn't touch my toes or do a push up. I can do both but am always looking to do more, looking to challenge myself. I enjoy playing rugby and will probably do so for a couple more years as long as I stay injury free *knock on wood*

I did have a good trip home and got to enjoy 2 feet of snow on the ground before rain and 50 degree weather melted it away. I got my fix for the year and was happy to come back to mild temperatures in DC. I spent enough time with family, but was happy to get back to DC to my routine, to my bed, and to my girlfriend. Not spending the holiday with her was tough, and it probably won't happen again. It wasn't the same at home this year opening presents and I think we all realized that we're moving on and moving away from our holiday traditions. Somehow, I'll have to make sure to eat apple fritters and sausages on Christmas Eve wherever I may be.

There's a lot more reflection on 2008 I could be doing, but I hope to do more looking ahead to 2009 with a glass of wine and my butt on the sofa.


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