There are several things that will be very different this year. I’ve listed them below, for easy reference later on, should I need to check back to see how valid my predictions were.
1. Our eldest daughter will be headed to college this fall. While we are not positive where she’ll be going yet, we feel like she’ll probably be moving out of the house at some point before or shortly after she starts. She’s very independent, and she’ll do fine. I’m not sure how her father is going to take it, as this is his first real child leaving home and possibly moving away.
2. I will be in my last real year of law school. That means that I’m part of the 3L class, and that I’m getting to the end of my time with the new friends I’ve made. We’ll all move to different places and work for different firms, I’m sure. Some of us, maybe me included, won’t even work at a firm but will stay in our current jobs or get jobs that are not in law.
3. Our children will behave better than they have in previous years. This is because we have set new ground rules and have stuck to them. They know the rules, and they are not allowed to deviate from them. There are consequences to the rules, which they also understand.
4. We will recycle more. We purchased trash cans yesterday for plastics, glass, and newspaper. I would love it if our city was like Bonita Springs with its one-can recycling system. I don’t know how in the world the “Natural State” cannot recycle. It seems totally opposite to what they should be doing.
5. We will donate more. Last year, we really stepped up our monetary donations, and we will continue to do so in 2012. We also donate a lot of used items to our local Goodwill and Savers groups, and we will donate this year to our local animal shelter as well.
6. My job will be different. We are moving 10 departments into the building we’ve been constructing, and we are set to start that process July 1. Tomorrow (1/9/12) starts the first of many move meetings where I’m sure to get beaten up over something we forgot or something we didn’t do right. So, the thing that will be different about my job this year is that I will have tougher skin, and I honestly will not care as much about people’s opinions as I have in the past. There is one particular individual who will not bother me, because I refuse to acknowledge that person’s existence at all. Ah. It feels good just saying that.
7. The beach. We will most likely be unable to go to the beach until after the moves have been completed. This is not a pleasant experience for me. I want and need beach time. I will do everything in my power to accomplish that, but who knows if it will happen.
8. I will start training my replacement. Even though my bosses think we’ll hire someone, or they would at least like to do so, I have someone in mind who I think would do an excellent job. I just don’t know if he’s interested or not!
9. I will read more for pleasure.
10. I will look for an online or stay-at-home opportunity, truly. There is nothing I would like better than being able to stay at home and work. I have dreamed about it for years. It’s time to make it a reality.
11. For one side of our family, we draw names for Christmas for everyone. We also have a dirty santa party with my Dad’s family, and it is great fun. For the other side, however, everyone wants to retain giving each child a gift, even though the children who are now in the drawing-name adult group do not participate by giving the children gifts. This year alone I spent nearly $160 on gifts for the kids, where I would have only spent about $30-40 if we had drawn names. Additionally, while my family puts a limit on Christmas gifts ($25 each person), the other side does not. Some of the gifts this year were $50 each. Unlike every other person on that side of the family, we have three siblings each, more than they do. In 2012, we will either (a) draw names for everyone, (b) limit our spending on the kids to $10 each (this year I spent $20-25 each), or (c) not participate at all and only buy that side’s parents a gift. We have tried to do this in the past, to no avail, but this year, looking at what we spent on the gifts and the Christmas party we had at our house because we were the only choice, it was close to $300. We simply will not spend this much next year.