December 31st, 2013


The Northbound End of a Southbound Year

2013. Wow, 2013. You were a year. Whatever else I can say about you, I can say that.

2013 started with the worst gutpunch I've ever had, even in a five-year stretch of nasty gutpunches. Just a few weeks after we managed to see her one more time for a few minutes at Further Confusion... mammallamadevil, my business partner, one of the best friends I've ever had, my sister from another mother, succumbed to cancer.

I had just managed to get over the loss of my father and my Aunt Iris when we lost Sandy; I was still wobbling from Sandy when we lost Kerry. It was bad. I'd say I'll never forgive 2013 for taking Kerry away, but really the cancer developed in 2012, and fuck 2012.

The rest of the year from that point is mostly a blur for me, and mostly just "2012, extended"... by which I mean it was continuing to deal with my mom's stroke in 2012 (fuck you, 2012). But then sometime in the spring, I've forgotten exactly how or when now, laurie_robey and I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to leave Circle and start working on my own stuff at home, money or no money. The only way for that to work would be for us to radically cut our living expenses, including selling our house, and so we set a due date of "September or whenever the house is sold." And then Circle turned around and said, "Surprise! You're fired come September either way!"

Wow. Way to force me to commit, universe. ¬.¬

Unfortunately, selling the house was already a long shot before the gov't shutdown just killed the housing market for the end of 2013, so that part of the plan didn't work. On the other hand, that might be a blessing in disguise, as it was actually kind of a relief to have the stability for a little while longer. It took so much of our time and energy to get mom moved into the assisted living place that there really wasn't any left for us to be trying to sell our house anyway.

So, it might obliterate our savings, but we're still in the house for now. We might be able to back off on the price a bit come spring and put it up for sale again, and with all of the effort we've been putting into culling old stuff from the house, we should have a relatively easy time find a smaller (and cheaper) place to move into.

But the latter part of 2013 had some great bits in it, too. I got to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, and crushed it. I also wrote an outline for another novel and came up with a comic idea that I quite like. And laurie_robey and I have scraped off SO MUCH STUFF. Carloads of old clothes, old electronics, boxes of books donated to various places; and we've still got a garage of old Star Wars toys to put on eBay or otherwise dispose of that will be gone sometime in the next few months.

It's strangely liberating to rid yourself of things that have piled up over time. Our culture is so predicated on the acquisition of STUFF that without meaning to you end up dragging behind you a lifetime's worth of crap that you don't really care about and only weighs you down. In my case, I also inherited a tendency towards hoarding from my parents, and it has felt really good to not just beat that, but to completely overcome it. Getting rid of both literal baggage and emotional baggage at the same time? Win/win!

So, honestly, I'm quite hopeful looking forward into 2014. I think overall, our lives are moving in the right direction and I'm eager to keep going. :)

Now, to look back at last year's resolutions...

  • Reading: I have done better this year than in the past, at least partially thanks to the change in the job. By doing the writing and art as my day job, it has freed up time to pursue a bit more leisure at night, including finally getting some reading done. I want to continue this trend, however. I didn't quite make my "read a novel every month" goal, but I came close. In 2014, hopefully I can hit it.

  • Writing: Nailed that one. ;) Gonna nail it even harder in 2014.

  • Flossing My Damn Teeth: Meh. Still a struggle. I fall off the wagon and climb back on regularly. Still working on it.

  • Getting More Regular With the Gym: Well this hit a major snag, in that I can't afford gym membership any more. But I've still got the X-Box and my freeweights at home. I'll make something happen there.

  • Refresh the Wardrobe: I tossed out a bunch of stuff that I knew I would never wear again; but some of my older things are getting pretty ratty and could still use replacing. Budget is an issue, alas.

  • Sharpening Those Workplace Skills: This one got kicked to the curb. To hell with ColdFusion and the horse it rode in on. I'm a writer.

  • Tidy Up Around the House More: Making serious strides on this one. I'm very pleased, and I'm not about to stop now!

And resolutions for 2014...

  • Exercise: This one carries forward. I want to do a workout that leaves me winded at least three times a week. It can be calisthenics, weights, dance games on the X-Box, running around in circles, doesn't matter. Also I need to keep doing back and grip exercises. I have reached the age where muscles will atrophy with shocking speed if I don't make a point of keeping them up.

  • Publish a Novel: I am a writer now, after all. Along those lines, sell at least two and preferably three more short stories.

  • Launch the New Comic, Get Out at Least Three Issues: I'm aiming for a quarterly release, but sometimes shit happens.

  • Make at Least $5,000 w/ My Writing and Art: If I can get to enough cons, this should be easy. As a corollary...

  • Work at Least Five Conventions: FurTheMore, AnthroCon, InterventionCon, Midwest Furfest, and __________. Also, attend Dragon*Con (which means saving up).

  • Bring Our Income/Expense Ratio Back Into Black, Begin Contributing to Savings Again: By means of selling the house, making more money, etc. Right now we've got enough savings built up that we can coast for a little while, but we don't want to hit zero.

  • Floss My Damn Teeth: Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

That should keep me going for a while. :)

Happy new year, everyone. :) Love ya!

-The Gneech

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