It is that time of year when we look back and assess what we have done (or not done!) over the last 12 months, and in a mood of introspection I decided to write a post on my long-neglected blog!
I have much to be grateful for this year – 2017 has been kind to me and my loved ones.
Let’s start with the professional situation. In just a few days it will be the second anniversary of a major life-changing event: the sale of my company. On that day two years ago I reported to work at the corporate head office of the firm that had acquired my company and was given a bare office that would be my new corporate “home”. It was not an easy time but I have come a long way since then. Two years in I have made new friends and understand my new workplace a lot better than I did two years ago. I miss the autonomy I enjoyed when I ran my own business, but at the same time I am enjoying being part of a team. Being your own boss comes with a lot of perks but there is no denying that it also comes with back-breaking responsibilities and a can oftentimes be lonely.
I can honestly say that two years down the line I have no regrets whatsoever regarding the big decision I took in 2015. Horror stories regarding mergers and acquisitions abound, but happily our experience has been much more positive. This is probably due to the fact that while we became a part of a much larger organisation, it was still possible for us to retain our own team culture. There is no doubt that we have changed over the last 24 months, but the change crept up on us slowly, without any big bangs. As I look back now I marvel at how far we have come, without actually realising it.
On the personal front there is also much to be grateful for.
In May 2017 we finally achieved an important goal, paying off the last of our mortgage. Just a year earlier we had two personal loans (see the following two posts – Debt – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and An Update on our Debt Position) one we had taken out to purchase our home and a second we had taken out to purchase a sailing boat. At long last both were paid off and our family was finally free of any personal debt. It was, and still is, a wonderful feeling.
Paying off the mortgage was not the “wisest” thing to do. The interest rate we were paying was not very high, and we would have probably got a better return had we decided to invest the money instead of using it to pay off the loan. However at the end of the day after discussion we decided that we preferred to err on the side of caution on this one, valuing peace of mind over any additional gains we might have made on the stock market. 7 months later I am happy to report that we have not come to regret our decision.
It was also a good year for family time. We took a couple of trips during the year. Over Easter we went to Rome with some good friends and we had a wonderful time driving through the beautiful Italian countryside and eating like kings. In September we went on a road trip in the US, starting in New York and making our way to Washington DC (where we toured the White House!) and then on to Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. We were very lucky to witness the changing colours of the autumn leaves, which started a few weeks early this year!
The US is extremely beautiful and we were very fortunate to have excellent weather throughout our trip, notwithstanding the fact that Hurricane Irma was just then devastating Florida. The best thing however, was the fact that we got to spend lots and lots of time together as a family. We tend to take each other for granted when we are back home and do not invest as much “quality ” time together as we should. On this vacation, however, we got lots and lots of family time spent doing stuff we all enjoy, be it goofing around in canoes or scoffing down Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Yum!
On a personal level I also logged some wins. 2017 was finally the year I took the bull by the horns and started a running programme. I have been saying I want to one day run a half-marathon for years, but I have never done anything about it. Well, no more! For the last three months I have been following an online running “Couch to 5K” programme and a couple of weeks ago I participated in my first race. It was somewhat surreal when I arrived and saw hundreds of super-fit athletes and realised I was “racing” with them, but run I did and I made it to the finish line. I am now the proud owner of my first Personal Best – 5K in 43 minutes. Admittedly I run as fast as a snail but hey, it’s faster than those who are sitting on their backside on a couch 🙂
So yes, it has been a great year and I hope and pray that 2018 will be just as great. I am looking forward to running, and working, and saving and living the best life possible.
Bring it on!