I’m very happy to have this year as one to put behind me. My 41st year was awful in so many ways. I succeeded in getting my family to the USA but after that – it was a disaster. My plans for once we arrived were nebulous at best and quickly thrown off track – my mom destroyed her back in a dog walking accident right after we got there – my familial relationships were a mixed bag – it was wonderful to have the time to renew my friendship and love with my sister and her kids and to have my daughter and wife get to know them and my mom – but other relationships. Blech. Done over. Put away in the corner with my Dad. Speaking of which, a brother I never knew I had from another mother appeared from nowhere which served to just weird me out further.
On the upside of family matters – I got to reconnect with my Aunt and Uncle and have learned to love another uncle whom I always admired even more. And that’s about it – but hey – that’s positive right?
Work was a disaster this year – I’ve written about it here and you can read about some of it at Vagobond.com in my 2013 wrap up if you care to. Coming to the USA has been hard on my wife and hard on our relationship. She isn’t a fan of the town of Reedsport – but certainly a part of that is that I’ve been spending most of my time struggling to make ends meet with a dead beat rip off insurance company, picking, and trying to find work with travel start ups – I should have spent all my time having fun with my family and working on Vagobond, but live and learn. I had dreams – now it’s time to wake up and be real.
On the upside of work – I did it. I supported us. I gave us a nice place to live and paid all of our bills in the USA. We didn’t starve and we kept our baby girl happy and laughing through it all. That is the biggest success of 2013. We had a great Christmas morning even if my wife’s creepy friend was peeping at us through the windows on Christmas Eve – unfortunately, I couldn’t shoot her with my crossbow. It wouldn’t have been in the right spirit of things. An eBay troll attacked me on Christmas day eve and sent me in a weird tailspin that carried into my birthday and beyond. My number one resolution for 2013 needs to be not to let people affect me so profoundly – maybe I should seek help for that – it’s awful. In any event, I’m over it now. We had a final garage sale of 2013 and I managed to clear out a bunch of stuff and earn a few hundred dollars.
The move from Morocco, finding a home, getting cars, and everything in between meant we ended up spending about $5000 more than I earned this year – luckily in 2012 I saved about $6000 so we came through alright. Now in 2014 – we don’t have a cushion but we also don’t have moving, travel, or deposit expenses – we’ll see how it goes. Also, in 2013, I ended up earning about $14,000 less than in 2012 – which hurts. Mostly it was due to Google changes and updates and the ripple effect it had on the online/blogging/travel industries but there was also three months where I worked my nose to the stone for a Life Insurance Company and ended up making $79 for my efforts while spending $1200 to do the job – big mistake but lesson learned. Work for myself or for a set salary at worst. If it sounds too good to be true – it usually is – I knew that – but I didn’t listen to me. Big mistake.
The highlight of this year has been my little girl. Every struggle, every pitfall, every trial, every problem – they have all been worth it to see her smiles, hear her laugh, watch her tear into her Christmas presents, and learn to trick-or-treat. She is the highlight of 2013 for me. I thought 2013 was my year of completing projects – and to some great extent it was. The visa process, the move, finding a home, finishing my books, taking care of projects – but mostly, it was the year of discovering that being a Dad is the best thing on earth.
Happy New Year Everyone. Let’s make 2014 Wonderful.