Before I sit down and plot out my 2012 goals, I figured it’d be helpful to go over my 2011 year; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As I write this, I am sitting on a VIA train, speeding off to Montreal. Our original plans were to drive, but after reading reports of freezing rain, we made the decision last night to take the train instead. I will never again attempt to drive through a storm like the one on Christmas. So I am happily writing and taking advantage of the free wi-fi, and Frenchie’s reading a book beside me.

2011 was, for me, a year of upheaval. It has also been a year that has taught me to be grateful, to savour every moment, and to be forgiving to myself and others.

Cute sentiment, but I definitely need some changes.

Professional

At the beginning of 2011, I finally summoned up some courage and asked my bosses for a raise, a very necessary one. Although I did get the raise, the process I had to go through to get it was horrible.

In March, I was headhunted through a resume I had stuck up on Monster in January, and interviewed for an assistant position at a start up brokerage in Liberty Village, a very trendy neighbourhood. I was promised $45,000 salary. My new boss would train me and get me ready to do sales on my own. Everything would be great and lovely and…hang on.

Explosion!

Boss turned out to be a crazy lady. Miserable, and now on the couch of my friends’ home, I quit my job without anything lined up.

Fortunately, that same week I interviewed for my current position and was hired on the spot. I was extremely lucky, and only had 8 days between the two jobs.  I’ve been there ever since, on a salary combining a bonus and base, totaling $42,000 (though with my Christmas bonus, this was rounded out to $45,000). I’ve been here ever since and have enjoyed it. I am very grateful that I am even working, as many of my friends have been laid off, and many people in my generation are experiencing unemployment.

I also began working as a freelance writer in June, taking on projects through a friend of my aunt and uncle’s. About once or twice a month, I get a project to write a resume and cover letter based on questionnaires and previous resumes. I enjoy the work immensely, and it has allowed me to hone my writing skills.  I’m sincerely hoping to build more sidework like this in 2012, through tutoring and writing. I currently get paid $25/hr.

Locational

I had been living in a cute, basement bachelor apartment in February 2010.  I loved that little place.  I had a garden just outside my door, and everything I needed in the immediate area.

So when my new Liberty Village boss suggested buying a tiny 381sqft condo, and showed me how it’d be almost as inexpensive as renting, I decided to go for it.

The condo wound up being a bust. My new boss’s clients wound up buying the condo, and offered to rent it to me.  But after they increased the rent 5 days before I was set to move in, and 5 days before I had to move out of my apartment, I had to bail on the deal.

I now have a large, one bedroom apartment on the tenth floor of a high rise. It’s fairly cookie cutter, but it’s very spacious (maybe 800sqft?), has an indoor pool, and I finally feel like I have space to breathe. In the spring, summer and fall, I have access to the incredibly scenic trail that runs straight past my house into the downtown core, only taking 45 minutes or so. I love that bike ride.

Which leads me to…

Physical

Holy moley!  I’m an athlete!

In May, I participated in the Goodlife annual race through downtown Toronto.  I trained for the 5k race. I won’t bore you by reiterating the details, but the thrill of racing and doing it in 27 minutes gave me the biggest natural high that I’ve ever felt.

So I signed up for the Give it a Tri Triathlon. I did it in under an hour, although it was incredibly difficult and I was more tired than I’ve ever felt. But I was hooked.

Since my athletic eyes have always been bigger than my stomach, I decided the next logical step would be signing up for a Half Ironman. I’m not having a quarter-life crisis at all. No, siree.

Since then, I have been running weekly in a Half Marathon clinic, and I acquired the world’s best running buddy.  I can now easily run 15k. I am signed up to do the 30k Around the Bay race in Hamilton at the end of March. My body has changed, and I’m considerably less squishy.

I’m planning on having a giant eagle tattooed in henna across my back for the Half Ironman. I want to look like the warrior goddess that I feel like inside.

If you’re interested in following my physical transformation, and the occasional vlog, you can do so at Rabbit on the Run.

L’amour

I am dating an awesome guy who I want to introduce to my Nana. Enough said.

Financial

This section is pretty short, because my next post will be discussing in further detail how well I fared with my financial goals, and where I’m planning on going from here.

At the beginning of 2011, I had close to $11,000 left of my car loan. I paid that sucker off in full in September.

I increased my salary from $30,000 to $45,000.

I bought a Cervélo bicycle, and enrolled in a ton of athletic events, each ranging from $50 to $220.

The cost of paying off my car has been a complete depletion of my emergency fund. As of January 1st, it’ll be sitting at $1645.  I will continue to contribute $150 biweekly, in lieu of car payments.

In November, I made the mistake of brushing up against a car’s bumper in an overcrowded parking lot. Unfortunately, I had to claim it as an “at fault” accident and get insurance involved. The other driver was reasonable at first, then increased her demands. Which means if I do keep my car, I will be looking at a huge premium increase when my policy renews at the end of July.

Which is why I started really analyzing why I need a car. Especially after my incident on Christmas, I don’t want to own a vehicle anymore, not in a city like Toronto where it is almost criminally expensive to be a driver. Taking the TTC to work today reaffirmed to me that owning a car is not all it’s cracked up to be. It only took me an additional 15 minutes to make it to the office.

Zee Blog

This year, my blog was featured in the National Post, and two articles about me (the real me, with my full name and everything) appeared in the Globe and Mail. Though no major newspapers have come knocking at my door recently, I have done some giveaways and promotions, which has meant that I broke even on the costs of operating this blog.

I’m proud of Money Rabbit. But I’m not perfect (shocker). I write about everything in my life, including the stuff I’m not proud of. I’ve talked about my achievements, but I’ve also confessed my mistakes, faults, and wrongdoings. This can sometimes be quite scary, since I know I’ll face harsh judgment from people who don’t even know me personally, and sometimes even from the people who do know me personally. Though it is easy to criticize my choices and errors, at the end of the day, the main goal I’m trying to accomplish is personal development. As I stumble towards improving my character, it is thrilling and terrifying to share every step.

What I learned

  • I am a warrior goddess, and a triathlete.
  • I’m not the big city girl that I thought.  I am already looking forward to moving to a smaller town.
  • Debt must be destroyed. Use whatever resources you can to eliminate it. Paying off my car in full should have been done at my earliest possible opportunity. But it’s done now, and that’s what matters.
  • My family is immensely important to me. My mom is my closest confidante. My family are there to offer support and encouragement when needed, and I am happy to provide it in return.
  • Life’s too short to put up with partners who don’t treat you right.
  • Life’s too short to feel trapped in your career. If you’re unhappy, start planning IMMEDIATELY how to get where you want to go.
  • I need to change careers.
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6 Responses to “2011 – A Year in Review”

  1. What an eventful year! Looking forward to Money Rabbit 2012 :D

  2. april says:

    Just wanted to point out that the work you are doing isn’t Tech Writing, it’s Copy Writing. You wouldn’t want to misrepresent yourself on your resume; the two are very different and require different skill sets.

  3. Country Girl says:

    2011 was quite a year! I absolutely understand lure of small towns, so I’m interested to hear what smaller town you’d like to end up in. I am in awe of your running abilities too, wow, what a bunch of accomplishments!

    Happy New Year!

  4. It’s been quite a year for you.
    Hopefully 2012 will bring more fortune for you. (ie: no more crazy boss ladies).

  5. Two Degrees says:

    Sounds like you learned a lot and came out in a better place! :)

  6. Iffy says:

    When I look back on 2012 in twelve months time I only wish I could see so much change in my life, because that is really awesome. Heh, that should be my new year’s resolution.
    Only think what you will accomplish now that you have your mind set on it!

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