2018 Year in Review

Another year has gone by. It was a fine year. I have no complaints. Took Jack and Annie to Europe and I turned 50. I think those were the highlights. This is also the year that I've put the 'pay off the mortgage' idea into overdrive. For the past few months, I've basically been paying two payments each month to get it paid off. If I make a big payment tomorrow, I think I have around 18 months to go. This makes me very happy. There's really no reason that I need to pay this off so quickly, but I like the idea of being completely out of debt. Financially-speaking, the year has been good. I've saved 37% of my take-home pay, which is good. Not great, but good enough. I'd like to say that I'm about 15 pounds lighter than I was at the start of the year, but I'm exactly 1/2 pound lighter, which is basically a wash. I had been doing good up until my birthday, at which point I proceeded to regain all the weight I had lost throughout the year. Oh well, I'll try again. Let's take a look at my goals for the year and see how I did.

Eat a vegetable a day. FAIL. I wish I did, but I don't even remember when I stopped tracking this. However, this is a really good goal. I'm going to try again.

Get the lead water line changed. FAIL. I don't think I have enough saved up to do this yet. The good news is that Janet gave me a filter to use. And even better, the city gave me a very fancy pitcher/filter system with a particulate matter detector. So I'm fairly confident that there isn't any lead in the water I'm drinking. The water I'm showering with isn't great, so I still want to get the line changed, but I feel that I can wait a bit.

Get back in the habit of biking to work. PASS. I did bike more this year than last year. 1122 miles according to my phone, noting that I don't turn on the tracker when I'm going short distances, like to the grocery store, library or tutoring. And I'm still doing very good at biking to those places. Looking at my calendar, shows two rides in January, one in November, none in February, March and December. I rode quite a bit in May-October, so overall I'm pleased. I could still ride more, but I'm happy with that.

Better gardening. PASS. I got a ton of tomatoes this year and gave them away. I also got some zucchini which was pretty good. And I found that I love leeks, which I'll be planting again.

More DIY projects. PASS. Even though I was working way too much until around August, I feel I was making a bunch of things. Offhand, I'm thinking about the stools I made for the brewpub, which turned out pretty well and on which I learned a lot. And then I got the sewing machine, which was the best purchase I made in the year. I love it and have already made gifts on it and have a bunch of other projects in progress.

Connecting with people. PASS. Here I was mainly thinking about volunteering in the community. I still go to the literacy center and I'm enjoying that. It's twice a week, so it's a bit of a commitment, but I'm happy to do it.

One thing that I've done a lot less this year is post to this blog. And I see that continuing for the time-being. However, this does not mean that I'm writing any less. For the past few months, I've been going to my favorite coffeeshop on Saturday and Sunday mornings to get a latte and write in my journal. I can't say how satisfying this has been. Taking just an hour or two every weekend to sit and think about my week and what I'd like to get done has been great. I feel so much more organized and this has let me accomplish so much more without feeling overwhelmed. And I seem to be in a phase where I'm trying to work on the computer less and more with physical things more. I feel it's good for my sanity to get away from screens.

I've also basically deleted all my social media apps. The only one I haven't completely deleted is my instagram account, but I have deleted the app from my phone. So I probably won't be posting to it anymore. I can still see my feed if I go to the website and login. But since this is a hassle, I probably won't do that, which is the point of deleting the app.

I'll get into the reasons why I'm doing some of this in my 2019 plans post that I'll put up tomorrow. But to sum up 2018, it was a good year and I feel incredibly lucky to have my life.

UPDATE: Just got home from dinner at Julie's and saw that my odometer read ~66150 miles on the car. So for last year, I drove 66150-44800= 21350 miles. That's a ton. However, I lent the car to John and Ted for a few weeks and they did a ton of driving when they were in the country. I just checked my credit card and see that I only bought $800 worth of gas for the whole year. That's a little less than I paid for gas over 2017. Even taking into account that gas has gotten cheaper, I'm thinking that I probably drove about the same amount that I usually do (~12,000 miles) and that all the extra mileage was from people I lent the car to.