Remembering 2011 with Gratitude – Week 1SYL12

I’m not going to pretend that I am getting into blogging or anything.  I’ve started and stopped enough times to know that blogging really isn’t my thing.  But I am still an avid reader of blogs (although not a regular commenter, sorry) and while reading a favorite blog of mine, Cherry Blossom Adventures I learned of the 52 weeks to simplify your life challenge (which Laura learned of from another blogger who learned about it from another blogger, etc). Anyway, I learned about it and that’s all that matters.

I liked the title of this challenge because recently I’m trying to simplify my life so that I can be able to do all the things I want to do while still being busy at work and while still needing my rest. It doesn’t help that I get distracted easily but good things (talking with friends, good movies/tv shows, etc) and bad things (being lazy, watching bad tv, internet surfing for WAY too long).  And anyone that knows me well knows that despite not having that much stuff (relatively speaking) I always feel like I have too much.  Basically I don’t like stuff but I’m still human so I still accumulate it…  But I like simplicity.

So I’ll do this challenge and see where it goes.

Week 1: Remembering 2011 with Gratitude

Love. Last year started off relatively normal but on March 11th it turned anything but normal.  I live in Japan and on March 11th there was an earthquake of immense magnitude.  It was huge and scary and considering what happened to thousands of people in Northern Japan I was thankful to be safe and still have my home, food and really anything else I needed.  But it was not only that.  From that moment on, I felt the love of family and friends that will probably never allow me to feel alone. Thank you all!

Money. Another thing I am thankful for in 2011 was the ability to manage my money.  Not only was I able to pay off some debts and save for the future, I was able to manage my money so that I would be able to spend it wisely, you know on the stuff that really matters.  This allowed me to buy a new computer, a new road bike, a trip with my mother, and budget money for a number of things so that I can live the life that I like to live (without having to buy it with credit cards!).  For example, I’ve never been a huge clothes shopper but last year I decided I would put a bit more effort into it as I realized I didn’t really like how I felt in a lot of my clothes.  Due to my money management, I am able to responsibly build a wardrobe that I am comfortable and happy in. And it doesn’t end with just clothes.  It makes me so happy (I really should have been an accountant….).

Relationship-wise.  I wouldn’t say anything huge stands out with my boyfriend last year.  In fact, I was hoping that a number of things would have materialized in 2011 that didn’t (no, I am not talking about marriage :D) but despite that I was really happy with him.  He has flaws and so do I (I forgot his birthday last year….) and yet we still work so well together.  So I am grateful for him.

Family.  I live in Japan and my whole family lives in America so to say we live far away from each other is an understatement (have you ever lived 15 hours ahead of someone?).  However, last year we started a weekly skype chat which I really am thankful for.  I love living in Japan but I think that it causes a ripple in your relationships.  Unfortunately and unjustly, it takes effort from both sides to remain in contact, let alone close.  So I appreciate that my family and occasionally my friends will put in the effort to keep in touch.

Work. This year I put a lot of effort into my work and felt so proud of myself.  I still think I have a long way to go to become the teacher I would like to become but I am proud of the work I did last year.  Another event – for lack of a better word – at my work in the fall gave me even more confidence in my ability to be a good teacher.  I saw many of my students grow last year due to my efforts so I look forward to perfecting my work more and  more and seeing my students grow subsequently.

Those are the main things.

2011 wasn’t a bad year for me but I’m looking forward to 2012 being even better!

This entry was published on January 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm. It’s filed under i forgot to give this one a category and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Remembering 2011 with Gratitude – Week 1SYL12

  1. It is amazing how a natural disaster can lead us to appreciate what we have – today is the 1 year anniversary of the Brisbane / Queensland floods – it was such a terrible time and i cannot believe it has been a year.

    I can relate to having all your family in america as mine are as well – 24 hrs of travel and very expensive airfares mean we only see each other every couple of years.

    I am glad you could find the positives for the year

    • bemyduende on said:

      It always feels like those first couple months go by so slow and then bam(!) a year has passed. It’s incredible. I wonder if it just keeps getting faster?

      I realized today that you lived that far away (from your #betteronthephone tweet – HA). Man! I can’t imagine… well, yeah I can but Australia must be even crazier with the different seasons as well!

      Thanks for inviting me on this journey!

  2. Great to see you joining in Devon! I am really enjoying thinking about what this challenge will hold for the future.

    The positives you reflected on are great- I am jealous of your money management. This is something that we need to work on…in particular me {since I give Shun the money he uses I know how much he has} because I am terrible with money. ANy hints? One salary {and Japanese salary at that…} for 4 {even though 2 are little!} people is difficult!

    I liked what you said at the beginning about simplifying so you can do the things you really enjoy- I sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the things I want to do but then get bogged down because It is hard to get started {ie doing a budget and sticking with it, fun things with my kids, craft projects etc} so I am hoping this helps me work towards simplifying so that I have the motivation to work on the things I want to/need to.

    Best of luck with simplifying for 2012!

    • bemyduende on said:

      Thanks Lulu!

      I hope this helps me as well.

      To tell you the truth and actually I wanted to update my blog as well to explain this but it’s not that I’m living a much more frugal life than before. Since I got this job (probably my best paying job) I have been doing this budget so it’s hard to tell if the budget is the reason I’m saving or if it’s the pay increase. 🙂 But I’m not a huge shopper with certain things (clothes, beauty products, entertainment, etc) and too much with others (food, books, out of the town stuff, etc) so the budget definitely helped me balance it out and not feel guilty about buying stuff I usually wouldn’t. I used to get so guilty paying clothes because I felt like they were “just things” but a new sweater or a new skirt does feel nice, doesn’t it?! I can’t imagine how you live with 4 people on one budget! That’s impressive! You said you are like me in the respect that you feel like you get bogged down and can’t start and then end up doing nothing (hello, my life story!) so I guess my advice with the budget would be to just start a little at a time. When I first started it, I was mainly try to figure out how much I spent on food and daily goods and little by little I have started different little budgets for many things (a little obssessively as I recently started a ¥100 a day for Christmas presents for next year! Haha. But it takes the weight off of next December!). But for me doing a little by a little really helped me and it was fun to see it grow or shrink (debt-wise) and I believe it becomes addicting! And it also feels so nice to buy something with the money you budgeted for that purchase rather than buying it and feeling guility!

      But I feel you about getting bogged down, I’m kicking butt in the money management and work planning for my afternoon class (elementary school) but failing miserably recently with my Japanese study and craft planning for the kindy. I really want to plan some fun activities for my little ones at school so I need to find more time! It’s too bad you live so far from here we could plan together! We should still try as Noah is the same age as my students now!

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