The ongoing blog of the Tomchak family, in Wheaton IL USA

Welcome 2015 – A Year of Gratitude

By on January 21, 2015 in Photo Post, Text Post with 0 Comments

A Christmas gift from Andrew this past December. It was precious.

 

If there’s one thing I’ve had to come to admit to myself, it’s that I start far more projects than I finish. I seem to say “yes” to so many things – both for myself and others. As much as I continue to prioritize and scale down that list of things I want to accomplish, I don’t feel like much has really changed. But I have let one thing slip that’s very important to me.

Andrew doing one of his new chores to earn money on the weekend.

Andrew doing one of his new chores to earn money on the weekend.

One of the monkeys that’s always on my back is adding new blog posts here. Not because I feel obligated to, but because i really believe in the reason I started doing this in the first place. And as I get older and look back at older blog posts, I actually enjoy seeing them myself. It’s a nice memory aid to my aging mind.

In Detroit celebrating my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary.

In Detroit celebrating my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary.

So this one post is a desperate attempt to bridge the gap of the last few months. I need to make it more of a habit/priority than it’s been in the last few months. The truth is, I actually do enjoy it.

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Behind the scenes of the pumpkin picking shoot.

 

2014 Thoughts

Last year was a tough year in many ways. I don’t really need to get into all the dirty details but it was a real low point for me personally, financially, socially and in some ways professionally. It was significant enough that I spent a lot of mental energy really thinking about where I am, how I got here and how my own decisions played into it. I don’t mean to imply that I’m beating myself up, because (most of the time) I’m not. And I don’t mean that I have regrets. In truth, I really don’t. The good and the bad have all made me who I am today – which I mostly like.

Maybe it’s part of getting older, and seeing that age 50 is no longer way off in the distance – but whatever the reason last year was a catalyst for change.

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Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo in the fall.

 

There is something to be said about taking stock in your life and seeing what lessons there are to learn. How you can change life moving forward in a positive direction. And I guess that’s what I’m thinking 2015 is all about. It’s about celebrating the blessings I have and making changes that put me on a path of success in areas where I feel improvement is needed.

Sydney joined in on a visit to see one of Max's doctors in the city of Chicago.

Sydney joined in on a visit to see one of Max’s doctors in the city of Chicago.

The kids had great end of year birthdays and holidays and I loved being around them more during their Christmas break. I am still trying to finish up a video that I started for Sydney celebrating her birthday (back in November) and plan to have that done in the next few weeks. I decided to edit it using a program I’m trying to learn so the entire process is taking longer, but I am in fact learning the program (FCPx) pretty well.

Andrew at his holiday show, trying out some new flirting techniques I taught him.

Andrew at his holiday show, trying out some new flirting techniques I taught him.

Three Little Blessings that Keep On Giving

One thing I can say with total confidence is that the kids really keep you grounded and remind you of what’s important in life. They can take a bad day and make you forget what you were so upset about. People often say that the age they’re at now (7 and 5) is one of the best, and I can see why. They are pure joy and entertainment. They’re now old enough to hold a conversation with you and have their own options, but the world is also still mostly full of wonderment and surprises that get them excited.

Bath time. Their very last "group" bath time. They're just getting too big and too old now.

Bath time. Their very last “group” bath time. They’re just getting too big and too old now. Poor Max has is one eye turning in. But we’re still working on that with the doctor.

2015 Goals

I’m not going to call these new years resolutions because I’m taking it more seriously that just trying something new for a few weeks (that’s my impression of “resolution” based on my own experience). These are more ongoing goals, but obviously the change of the calendar year does make a good time to refocus and assess how far you have come (or not come).

Swift, the new Apple programming language introduced in 2014.

Swift, the new Apple programming language introduced in 2014.

Programming – OMG yes I know I say this every year.  As a good friend pointed out when I said “In 5 years I’m going to be a programmer”, yes I did say that 5 years ago and I have not made any significant progress. But I have not given up. I know it’s my future in one way or another because the desire to program and create still burns strong in me. Not a day goes by that I’m not spending time thinking about it in one way or another.

Andrew vs the monkey bars - and Andrew lost.

Andrew vs the monkey bars – and Andrew lost.

Taxes/Finances – The last several years have been financially difficult, but I think we are close to turning a corner in 2015. We are very close to paying off the house (a first and second mortgage) and we will soon be caught up on tax returns since closing our business in 2012. I think if we can keep our momentum and not encounter any serious setbacks we will be in good shape by the end of the year.

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Special Book Project – On the professional side, there is a book that I really want to write. I see a need for it, there are no other books that cover the topic (believe me, I wish there had been a few months ago when I wanted to buy one) and I’m in the process of creating a outline to decide if it makes sense to do or not. But if I can pull it off I think it has the potential of being very good for my career and maybe some nice additional income on the side.

Max had to come home early from school because he wasn't feeling well, and Sydney decided to read to him while he laid in bed.

Max had to come home early from school because he wasn’t feeling well, and Sydney decided to read to him while he laid in bed.

Health/Fitness – The endless battle of becoming and staying healthy will continue to be a main focus. Like so many people I keep getting on and off the bandwagon. One thing I realized over the last few years was that I am a emotional eater. Stress or depression causes me to head straight for fast food in a serious way. I guess it’s not as bad doing a line of cocaine but still… it could kill me just the same if I let it get out of hand.

The biggest positive I can say is that I have never, not even once, totally given up. Even at my worst I always knew it was a setback, not a defeat. So with that in mind I will recommit to not eating myself to death this year. Maybe next year, but not this one.

Andrew doing another one of his new chores.

Andrew doing another one of his new chores.

 

I am looking forward to 2015 being a year of growth and positive change, and I kicked it off just now by finishing this new blog post. More to come soon.

 

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