In previous years I’ve joked around that single men don’t send Christmas letters. This year is no exception, so I will not be sending any actual mail to anyone. Consider this my holiday letter to family, friends, and readers.
2013 was an interesting year for me to say the least, and overall I’m better off for the experiences I had. Probably the most change was from work. The Peninsula Library was destroyed in Storm Sandy in late October 2012. Those last few months of 2012 were unique that we gave library services through a book mobile in a disaster zone. On January 8th, 2013 we upgraded to a trailer space, and things went back to traditional library service. We organized the small amount of the old collection that survived, and we had money to get new materials for the trailer.
In addition to getting bestsellers, this year we’ve gotten so many DVDs and Music CD’s that it’s been a learning experience. If you start with almost nothing in a collection it’s great to see it built monthly by the orders my staff and I made. In February we restarted the book club at work, and at some point we started the weekly writing group. I’m happy under the circumstance that I’m able to do these programs. That’s all for work, overall I think I did well, and I’m looking to continuing to work in the Rockaway Beach area for years.
Work probably did affect my personal life. I did not read any books until February after the Storm. For three months I did not read at all. However at the end of 2013 I’ve read over 30 books. In winter of 2013 I had a lot of colds, and in between colds I seemed to be drinking more than usual, and I was careless with how I spent my money.
In April, I went to visit my parents in Toledo. It was good to see them. On the trip there I had two nights at the new local casino. I played black jack for the first time, and won almost 300 bucks on one night. A few nights later I lost over 300. That probably started my self-evaluation of my spending habits.
By the end of summer I was making large payments on my credit card debt and student loan debts. I’ve gone out less, and grocery shopped more. From October to mid December I also jotted down on a notepad everything I spent money on. My goal was to spend less than 30 dollars a day on non-monthly bills. I did not reach that goal, but I’m proud that as of this month I’m out of credit card debt. In September I spent a week in Florida with my parents and uncles. Over a relaxing week on a beachfront I got some budgeting ideas from my family.
My skateboard network in NYC has expanded more this year. I’m just so happy to have something I’m passionate about outside of work. Unfortunately, I had lots of colds in winter of 2013 that set me back. In summer I first had a toe injury, and shortly after I hurt my foot. In September I gave myself whiplash of my neck and didn’t skate for five weeks. It’s possibly I skated less in 2013 than in 2012. But every time I’m back riding after some time off I know I can do this for years. I might not make quick or significant progression, but I can skate for a long time. I’ve met several skaters older than me that are much better, so my abilities have nothing to do with my age. They have to do with my physical fitness level and not skateboarding enough.
I almost forgot writing. I think I’d like to credit my weekly writing group at work for their positive motivation. I started a first draft of a novel, and I’m almost finished it. I started it on September 6th, and will probably finish around January 6th, so it took me four months. I’ve averaged writing every other night. That is the most frequent I’ve ever been with writing. Also writing most nights has kept me out of trouble. And all along I was able to keep up with regular posts on my blog too.
I think being aware of my finances, improving my writing, and over coming some negative tendencies in 2013 has been very good for me. I’m positive 2014 and the future will be good for me, and 2013 has steered me towards a good course. With that everyone happy holidays and New Year!
Matt Allison (creator of mallisonwhat)