It’s almost been a year since I set my goals to have a Year of Growth: Traveling, Personal and Professional Development. A few plans were modified, but for the most part I stuck to it!
Never stop growing.
Create personal goals for yourself and find out what you can gain from a year devoted to traveling, personal and professional development.
Here’s my recap of the year:
In March, Mr. DS and I yearned for some humid air and sun. We took a trip to Clearwater Beach Florida and absolutely fell in love with the area. Every day we pretended to be retired people. Walking along the beach for a couple miles before breakfast. Retiring to the pool in the afternoon for some shade. Sometimes traveling out on the town at night. Playing charades with the other retired couples at the hotel. Or giggling while we watched people in bikinis stroll along the boardwalk and try and pick up quarters that were glued down. #genius. #hoursofentertainment. We didn’t do too many touristy things. But did take some time to catch a spring training ballgame in Tampa.
A friend of mine who moved to Florida a few years ago, also drove 3 hours to see us. No regrets of uprooting their family, kids in school and moving to a small farm outside a national forest. They got into bee farming, turtle & mammal rescuing and removing unwanted critters (big snakes and reptiles y’all) from theirs and other peoples’ properties. They found their niche and are very happy working hard on their farm and serving others.
It’s a big risk traveling to move your entire life and take on different careers. But it was really inspiring to hear how they worked as a family to support their goal of living some place warmer. They didn’t even bat an eye at the thought of evacuating their place for the hurricane. And instead stayed with their rescue animals and hunkered down just fine. Of course this puts thoughts into our own heads. “Hey, if they can do it, so can we!” Minus the whole snakes and reptile thing. We’ll have to find our own niche.
This was also a good vacation for just the two of us. We got flack for not taking DS Jr. along, but hey – parents need mommy and daddy time too. Conversations without random toddler interruptions are rare in our house. It was good to hear each other out. For the most part, I also unplugged during the vacation. I left my phone in my backpack and let Mr. DS take the pics. Of course FaceTiming in the evening was a must with our kiddo though. But it always seemed he was too busy for us having fun with grandparents.
Unexpectedly, I was asked to do a review in one of our sister offices in the cities. A coworker and I drove there. Huge mistake by the way. Note to self: negotiate with the office to purchase plane tickets. My coworker drove the first leg, I drove the last half. Due to lovely road construction it turned into a bit longer. Another note to self: never pass up a restroom opportunity.
The work itself went pretty smooth. I spent a couple days on the review and presented my draft findings to management at the end of the week. My coworker was new, so she spent some time job shadowing in their other departments. It was also a good networking opportunity. New office friends that I felt I could call if I had any dumb or “has anyone ever done this?” type of questions. My boss was originally supposed to conduct this review, but had a conflict. So, I was grateful my workplace volunteered me for the task as it demonstrated I could also do this independently. Furthermore, it put me in their calling circle. They learned I also have an HR background, and so I served on a panel to interview one of their new hires later this year. #keepresumebuilding.
As far as the cities go, sorry you can’t have me. It always feels like I’m descending into hell when driving on the freeway into downtown MSP. I also get claustrophobic. Why are there so many tall buildings, people and trees?! Even country driving blows. I have to read a book as those trees are right up on you thick. Never thought I was a person who could get car sick until being a passenger in Minnesota!
No offense to all our friends that live in MN. It seems like if you live there, you wuv it. One friend of mine trained to walk a marathon in St. Paul. Hello. Weren’t you bored walking 26.2 miles?! ‘Oh no, the city is absolutely beautiful. It went by so quick.’ What the what?! Others swear it’s the best place to raise kids. Looking for you to weigh in any time Cubert.
Some of our dear friends from college moved away from us to be closer to family about 2 yrs ago. They sold their house, somewhat flipped it and paid cash for a double wide trailer in the foothills of a mountain. Living the simple life. He traded in his IT background to be a ranch hand. She gave up her accounting job with awesome benefits to be a stay at home mom.
I really did enjoy our time there. She was about to have baby number two so I spent most of my time cleaning and making food. While Mr. DS went hiking and did all sorts of other ranchy/Montanish stuff. Time went by slower there. Outings were to the local library. A town picnic with free hot dogs and watermelon. Stargazing through telescopes.
If I were to plant my roots with no need to go anywhere else in my entire life, sure, I’d consider living there. However, once again I hated the drive. Here’s me in the passenger side, “Oh Hun, all those vehicles up ahead have their flashers on. There must be an accident!” Mr. DS, “those are trucks dear and they have their flashers on because it’s too steep for them to make it up the pass.”
Insert jaw drop from me and an “oh shiiiiiit.” I proceeded to bury my head in a book again and not look up the rest of the trip.
As far as the mountains go, sorry, you can’t have me either. There was a forest fire starting up when we were leaving. For those of you who may not know, I’m highly allergic to smoke/cigarettes and get very sick, very easily. So, I guess I can’t live anywhere that may have a possibility of getting too smokey. But I’ll still happily visit when the air is clear!
Traveling through the Dahkohhhtahhs
Great states for setting your cruise at 81mph (FYI – you get speeding tickets at 82) and not having to touch the break for 90 miles. Or, whenever you need a bathroom break. I enjoy the flatness and rolling prairie. No claustrophobia there! Many touristy attractions along the main highways. The Black Bills of SD is a favorite as well as the Enchanted Highway in ND. For those of you who have allergies, not a great place to travel through April – September. Spring thaws, planting and harvesting will wreck havoc on your sinuses! The rest of the months are cold AF with an insane amount of snow. Sorry Dakotas, you are great for visiting in the summer months but you can’t keep me!
The old saying, “when God closes one door, He always opens another door” prevailed. In my post last year, I mentioned they cut the funding to the leadership program I was going to be a part of. It would have involved a bit more traveling throughout the year. However, I stayed positive at work. Reminded my boss of status of funds and numbers. And when the right opportunity presented itself, “oh, we have a small amount of funds remaining to spend on training, who should we send?” I popped my hand up and suggested a course I’d been wanting to take for almost 10 years!
So, to San Antonio I went. The course itself was amazing and teacher phenomenal. I was super grateful my new workplace would support me in something I had been told no so many times before in my old job. Traveling to San Antonio was not new to me, so no surprises there. However, I did start thinking of outside this area or other parts of Texas. One of my former favorite shows (remember, I gave up TV) was Fixer Upper which takes place around Waco. Not sure if it was the way Joanna Gaines sells her image, but it sure made me want to live in an area like that. So, we will keep Texas on the radar as a future move or retirement place.
Once again, God opened that other door of possibilities. I was presented an opportunity to travel for work to DC. Unexpectedly. Of course I said yes! Since it was an intense work trip, my days started and ended in the dark. Yet another great opportunity to network. And also meet with people who were hiring for positions I am potentially interested in. I’m still debating about applying. We shall see very soon if I decide to turn down another promotion opportunity or apply to one.
I didn’t have much time for the fun touristy things. However, I was able to get my name as a plus one of a friend who was attending a special open house. Yes, I rubbed elbows with some political people. I told them all my ideas how to make America great again. Just kidding! The millennial in me grazed like a buffalo on the free catered food. Since they took my phone, I couldn’t take any pics or text in awkward situations. So I had to talk to people! It was all good though. Wasn’t hit on, no one touched my butt and I had a really positive, probably once in a lifetime experience.
Also, I did not go too balls out to dress up for this event. I tried on my business jackets from almost 8yrs ago. And nothing fit in certain areas after having a kid. So, I opted to wear a 3 quarter sleeved, royal blue, silky top and tucked it in to thee most comfortable charcoal colored dress pants I own. In comparing myself to what other people wore, I thought they honestly looked frumpy in suits. Jackets were crinkled in the backs and fronts from sitting in them I assume. I could totally tell who hand dandruff.
But I got compliments on my outfit. “Wow. Blue is your color! You light up the room!” In my opinion, I looked crisp, clean and on point. My total outfit from head to toes (including shoes, bra and underwear!) was less than $100. I can about imagine that most people’s watches were more than that. Sorry guys, I like my savings in my bank account, or stocks. Not in my closet! I think so much money is wasted trying to look professional. Come on people, make your money work for you!
Humbled Beyond Words
I booked a hop on/off trolley bus and saw as many sites as I could on my one free night. My pics turned out horrible in the dark. Old iPhone 6 disappointed me. But some turned out well. My favorite site was the WWII Memorial. My grandfather was a navy ship carrier at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. From that event, he lost hearing in one ear when a cannon went off right by his head, as well as sustained a knee injury. This also left him walk with a limp and oddly, develop bone cancer in the same spot. This ultimately spread and took his life.
He was unlucky to have been on ships that were hit and sank during the war, but lucky enough to survive each time. And honored at Pearl Harbor on the 50th anniversary of the attack. However, he wasn’t alive when this new memorial was opened up in DC. My other grandfather also served in the war in Germany, but some years later during the monitoring and clean up efforts and did not see any front line action.
Overall, to be at this place was humbling. I found myself in tears. And beyond grateful. My grandparents believed in civil rights and no one should be persecuted for race, sex, religion, etc. They fought for these rights, did not expect anything in return and led pretty simple lives after their service. I’d say they both did right by having some grandkids that feel pretty blessed to be living the lives we do today.
Unfortunately, racism is still alive and well.
I was thrilled to be walking up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. I wanted to stand in the exact spot Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. When I reached the point, a group of Canadian tourists in my trolley group were standing wondering why it was wet, as it hadn’t rained. They thought maybe someone spilled on it. I had to break the news to them it wasn’t your average soda spill. It was a urination spot, likely done by a dude. So, I felt completely saddened and broken up by this action. I tried not to let it ruin the rest of my site seeing trip. Together, we decided to dump our water bottles across it to wash away whatever was left on top.
Normally, I’m an introvert and do just fine by myself. However, seeing these sites alone made me pretty homesick. Since I bonded with the Canadians at the Lincoln Memorial, they adopted me into their family. I was grateful to not be completely alone and in the company of some pretty like-minded people as myself. DC – I’d like to see you during the day! And with my family to share these historical experiences. I think it’s important to keep things in perspective and not let history repeat itself.
Efforts to Improve Personal Health: Sinus Surgery and Tonsils Removed!
A part of the year of growth was to improve overall health. I previously wrote about how often sick I was with sinus infections & other illnesses. Have been my whole life. This year I took an aggressive approach with an ENT Specialist and decided to have balloon sinus surgery and my tonsils removed at the same time.
Before, each time I got a minor runny nose, it would turn into a sinus infection. Antibiotics to get rid of it. Every. Time. My ENT guy said it was the way I was put together. Too compact in my nose/sinus cavities. He reduced some turbinates to promote better drainage and some other things I can’t spell without looking at my health chart. But, I think it immensely helped. I’ve been sick 3 times since the surgery, and knock on wood, no sinus infections so far.
As far as the tonsils go, it was debatable. ENT said they can be more problematic than good for adults. So, we decided to get rid of those too while I was already going to be under for my sinuses. He would have also taken my adenoids, but those didn’t develop in me apparently. Hmm. Okay.
Not sure if it’s helped prevent me from getting any colds or viruses. But bottom line, I wanted to be less sick this year. I’ll keep focusing on diet, nutrition and reading Life Zemplified, and maybe my immunity system will get back up there!
Prego or Miscarriage?
Neither! Again, took a year off to focus on self health and not be pregnant or miscarrying. We shall see what the New Year brings. Stay tuned!
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: Mr. Defined Sight
I counted up all the weeks I was either off traveling somewhere by myself, or sick as a dog at home. The answer is eleven. This means that for almost 3 months of this past year, Mr. DS was a single parent, working full time while raising our wild toddler. I don’t think many women may be as fortunate as I am to have such a supportive and available husband.
He’s also the main grocery shopper. Partly due because it’s likely the only way he’ll get chips in the grocery cart. But also, because he has more patience for people in the stores and meal plans while he’s in there. Which works out nicely as I like to be the meal prepper (is that a word? WordPress is telling me it isn’t. Oh well. I’m making it one). We continue our partnership and it’s a good balance in life.
One way I’m trying to support our goals and give back to Mr. DS is focusing a lot more attention on the blog. Writing articles to help keep the blog consistently posting. Together, we are tackling social media. He’s on Twitter. I picked up Pinterest. Find us there!
Overall, Mr. DS is the main watcher for our financial future, investments and savings. I deal with numbers all day and don’t want to look at them in my spare time. My side passions are personal & professional development. Having someone who you can trust watch your financial numbers is immensely helpful and I am grateful.
Last year I said I was going to have a year of growth. Focusing on personal and professional development. Traveling. And get a handle on my health. For the most part, I stuck to it! I wasn’t able to accomplish it all without the supportive partnership of Mr. DS.
By keeping the communication channels open and reaffirming goals of where we both want to be, helps keep us focused on our Defined Sight. Kudos to those who are awesome and running a one man (or woman!) show by maintaining a blog in pursuit of financial independence. It’s hard work! But keep it up. After all, it’s for your own Defined Sight. We are talking to you Doubling Dollars, Reverse the Crush and even you, retired Mr. All Things Money!
Share a little about yours today – what have you done this past year to improve your situation and focus on just you?