Lessons Learned in 2013

I’VE OUTGROWN THE CLUB SCENE

Fulfilling a long-time goal, my friends and I all got dressed to the nines for New Years Eve of 2013 and went to a Vancouver club for the midnight countdown. Looking back, I loved dressing up and celebrating with lots of friends, and would aim to create or attend an event with a similar dress code for future New Year’s Eve parties. However, the club itself was an unnecessary expense. I would rather have hosted my own fancy New Years thing at home, with more food, cheaper alcohol, and music volumes that didn’t completely inhibit conversation. Perhaps I’m getting old, but I really don’t enjoy the club scene at all anymore. Even when I want to go out on a regular Friday night, I’m more of a pub girl.

DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU RENT

Boyfriend and I made the exciting leap of getting an apartment together in January 2013. We found a large, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that was ThunderFoots-and-SquirBo-friendly, and it came with two underground parking stalls for us. Our landlord was an absolute sweetie, and everything seemed perfect! However, we soon found out that the underground parkade had serious security issues (and no cameras). There were a number of break-ins within our first three months as tenants, with my car being broken into once, and Boyfriend’s car twice. Thieves also broke into the building once, and drilled out the locks of an apartment a few doors down from us. Luckily, our lovely landlord installed ADT for us, free of charge, and the strata has finally increased the security enough that the break-ins seems to have stopped. However, had we asked the local police department about the area and talked to other tenants before we moved in, we would’ve known this was a problem, and could’ve saved ourselves about $600 in window repairs. Also, on a similar note:

BOYFRIEND & I AREN’T MEANT FOR APARTMENTS

All of our neighbours are Mr. Heckles.

Some people love apartments, and are well-suited to apartment living. Boyfriend and I are not those people. We try very hard to make as little noise as possible (despite our neighbours reluctance to be so courteous), but the fact is that we end up paying over a thousand dollars a month to live in a library. We have to scold the dog for chewing her bone on the hardwood, and we can’t let her or the cat run around at all without the neighbours thinking we’re housing a herd of elephants. Boyfriend has been unable to practice the bagpipes in over a year, and has to be quiet when he plays guitar. We watch movies quietly, we walk quietly, we listen to music quietly, and at night we have to… well, you get the picture. Safe to say that we will continue to live here for the sole purpose of saving money, but our next abode with have to be of the stand-alone variety.

DON’T MOURN THE LIVING

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Unexpectedly celebrating her 9th birthday, 8 months after her cancer diagnosis.

On January 23rd, 2013, my beloved 9-year-old dog, SquirBo, was diagnosed with inoperable transitional cell carcinoma and given a 6-month life expectancy. For about a week, I cried every time I thought about it. However, knowing that I could lose her at any moment forced me to spend more time with her whenever I could– if this was to be her last year, I’d be damned if it wasn’t a great one. As it turned out, the awesome staff at Paws and Claws Animal Hospital were able to find a mix of pain killers that not only enabled SquirBo to live comfortably, but seem to have stalled the growth of the cancer. She surpassed everyone’s expectations and is now nearing the one year anniversary of her diagnosis and showing virtually no symptoms. I’m aware that her days are numbered, but I’ll have more than enough time to mourn her once she’s gone. Now is the time to enjoy her presence, and to make sure her last days, however many there may be, are all enjoyable.

LOVE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PRIDE

In 2013, Boyfriend and I passed the one year mark of our relationship. Not surprisingly, we learned a lot about each other, and ourselves, in our first year together. Specifically, I learned that love, and our relationship, is far more important to me than anything else. There is no remark I want to fight about, no event I want to drag Boyfriend to, and no ex I want to stay friends with, enough that I would do so at the risk of putting a strain on our relationship. For that matter, I have yet to encounter any scenario where I care enough about something that it takes precedent over him. Whether we’re in the midst of a quarrel, or I feel a snarky remark on the edge of my tongue, if it’s not absolutely important to me, it’s better just to drop it. If the fight is alive only because I’m hell-bent on proving that I’m right, it’s just not worth it.

FITNESS HAS TO BE A TOP PRIORITY

2013 was the first year I really got into fitness, and that’s largely because I made it a priority. Goals are not attained when you workout “when you have time” or “when you have money for a membership”. They’re attained when you cut your night short so you can get up early for your workout, and when you run stairs at the park because you can’t afford gym. You can’t think of fitness as a hobby you find time for; it’s a necessity that other things get worked around. It’s not a matter of “I don’t have time for the gym because her birthday is tonight,” but instead, “I’ll have to workout early if I’m going to make it to her birthday!”. There will always be an event you’d rather attend, an expense you’d rather spend your money on, or an injury that you’d rather nurse. Workouts can be modified, simplified, shortened, and done on a budget, but they can not be skipped. If you wait for a time when conditions are perfect, you’ll never start. If you really want it as bad as you say you do, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

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