On my RSS feeds this morning, I saw this really good post on LifeHack called “20 Questions to Help You Reflect the Past Year“. It looks more like an exercise on evaluating on how things went in the last year as well as gauge possible things that could be improved upon. I want to put out my thoughts on the past year and possibly leave my life open to readers who wish to add their thoughts and input to the mix.
- Did you achieve your desired net worth?
No, I was unable to attain my net worth due to repayment of my debts as well as resolving my financial standing.
- Did you achieve your desired income level?
No, but my employer has their tiered income level system that I am subject to and I do not have additional certifications to merit me a higher income.
- Have you built the habit of being able to spend less than you earn?
Slowly, but surely… The only thing hindering my ability to save money has been my family turning into loan sharks rather than a “bank” by demanding a higher repayment rate. I typically end with $100 – $200 left after each month from this, so the ability to grow is hindered. I have been scouring “second chance” deals or Craigslist for any technology items should the “desire” to spend pang away at me.
- Have you been able to eliminate debt?
As far as debts go, most of it is gone. If you count the last 2 debts I am paying out of pocket for, my parent’s loan, and my car note together, my negative equity would be about $13,000. I plan to resolve most of this for the next 5 – 6 months by sacrificing school to increase repayment to my parents while steadily paying off my other obligations.
- Have you built the habit of saving?
Saving has been much better towards the end of this year, save for the hindrance of my loan sharks. I can say that it is nice to see $100 – $200 at the end of the month instead of $0 by the end. Hopefully with increasing my work load for the next term I can hold a nest egg for once in my life.
- Has your career progressed as you wanted to?
l have actually taken a course I never expected to in my career: ascension to a leader. With my seniors gone to their own paths, I had big shoes to fill. I had learned to step up to my actions and take accountability for the results of my actions. I tried to groom one subordinate into a skilled partner for me, but that ended in failure from their lack of aptitude, poor maturity, and lacking desire to be accountable for their actions. One of my new subordinates, their growth is not progressing, but stagnating even with all the push for learning that I have tried to emphasize. The second of my subordinates, they are progressing very well and may possibly be my successor if my wild gamble pays off by June. I never expected to have to take the reins and help assist my superiors, but their guidance has really helped me polish up how I stand in my career.
- Have you reduced your spending on some unnecessary expenses?
Actually, I have done well in this sector. On moving back home, I have learned the value of a home cooked or hand made meal as eating out really did some damage on me financially. Especially when a simple thing like a burger combo at a fast food joint cost $5 – $6 average versus a hand made sandwich or lunch ran a marginal $1 – $2. Bargain shopping for tech items has considerably saved me from spending much more than I desired. Even bigger savings were found when I would research potential items I wished to purchase only to find the thoughts of other users dissuaded me from dropping lost cash.
- Have you found your life mission?
As far as my “mission” in life, it is to be a healer of others and to repay the world for giving me a second chance to live. My profession has given me small chances to impact the lives of others and that has only encouraged me to chase that mission until the end. I have been thankful for being able help render aid to others in my own way at the office and I hope to ascend higher for much more responsibility.
Fulfillment is still a distant journey for me. After taking a journey into the bowels of Hell while being cast out of Heaven… I know the extremes of being pure and being a sinner. After that powerful journey, I realized that being a devil or angel was not for me… but I needed to refine myself as human being before I can say that I am ready to ascend to the ideals of an angel. I am honored by people saying that I have polished out into a saint, but I can’t accept that until I am fully able to live up to that title. Until then, I will try to seek fulfillment of myself until I can understand my own humanity.
- Could you honestly say that you are happy?
That’s a question that is hard to pen down in stone. With the burden of debt and being known as the black sheep of the family, it really puts a barrier to the limits of my happiness. I know that things are turning around for me in my life, but it is the physical and material that seem to bar me from true happiness. I have been confiding in dear friends for guidance and that has softened the pain that it is not as intense anymore. Learning happiness is one value that I know I need to work on for the up-coming year.
- Have you built the necessary habits for spiritual growth?
Meditation is something I have learned to combine into my life with things like listening to music, shaving or working out. From my meditations, I have learned a little more about myself and what I need to polish up to complete myself as a human. I should do some more dedicated meditation with music as it ends up being rather therapeutic and usually inspires great thought.
- Have you built the habit of exercising?
Since December 10th, I got a gym membership to the community run gym in my city and I have been working to tone up myself. I had very little chance this year to step up my physical training this year, but my hope is that this will help me better my health as well as myself.
- Have you built the habit of consuming nutritious food?
I have changed my diet since moving back home with my parents. My metabolism has regained its speed again with a clean diet of home made meals that are low in preservatives and processed fats. With trying to better my financial status, I have minimized take-out or fast food meals to only social hang-outs only.
This is one facet I am lacking on. I have been doing battle with insomnia and well, I just can’t seem to win. I am just too panicked on my finances and as well as the state of my office being a potential damage radius zone from one of my poorly performing subordinates taxing my great partner’s patience. I do need to relax and forget the world on my off days… I will probably be looking to trying to sleep more and not beat myself so hard on working out that it taxes my sleep.
- Do you feel physically fit doing your daily work?
With as much running and dashing I do at the office just to make sure everything is done, I believe I am in fit shape. My mind, however is probably taxed to hell with the constant concerns racing through it ever day. Once I shut out my mind, I am sure everything will unlock itself and be well again.
- Has your relationship with your spouse/girlfriend been as good as you wanted?
To be honest, when the ex broke things off… I was disappointed as I was never given a “fair” chance to try resolving things. Sometimes failure only means a battle has only begun. I can’t always win, but I have finally found what I wanted in a person. Hopefully my expectations will take my future relationships to a direction that I would like to progress to.
- Has your relationship with your family been as good as you wanted?
This part is one that is really odd. Ever since the loan to get me out of debt… my relationship with family has become one more of business rather than family. We speak less and less like members of a family unit and more like a loan shark hassling me for repayment. My sister Alice, her opinion is hazy on me. Some days she sees me as “the enemy” antagonizing her to keep up her prodigal work. Then there are the days where she sees me as one of the infantry with her on the battlefield. My cousin Sol, we have been bonding closely as comrades in arms. He is basically living an “alternate reality” of my life and it freaks me out, really. He’s been the one family member I have come to rely on greatly as a confidant on family related issues.
- Has your relationship with your friends been as good as you wanted?
Friends, I had another thinning of who are my true friends versus who were acquaintances after the break-up. I learned the true value of friendship and learned who to separate out of my life. I have been trying to develop better relationships with my friends so that I can be a better friend to them. As far as I know, things seem to be going well.
- Did you make a lot of new friends?
From the Ubuntu Linux folks in Dallas, I made friends with them from being the former assistant leader to the group. This led me to making quite a few friends with other groups. One of the ex’s friend-of-a-friend’s really stood out as a very classy, stand-up woman and I was glad to have met her. To her, I would like to express my thanks to you for being there for me when I though I was insane. It is something that cannot be valued with a price because it is simply that valuable to me. My new found friends have become a strong support net to hold me up when I fell and I am very thankful for them.
- Did you get to know people from more diverse backgrounds?
Mainly from my elderly clients and listening to the experiences they faced. I have found some of my friends to be saints with regard to what they fought. It has opened my mind that life can be intensely complex but at the same time… we all struggle with our demons.