It’s been one whole year since I started this little weekend series of mine, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

Originally, I started this series because I have a natural tendency to be pessimistic. I’m usually a cynical, glass half-empty kind of person.

I wanted to change that as much as I could. Having that kind of perspective on life can be warranted at times, but it was as if I had cast a permanent cloud over everything.

The practice of gratitude can put things into perspective, as you learn to focus on and be grateful for the things you do have, rather than focus on what’s lacking.

After a year, I can tell you I think it works.

What I'm Being Grateful For in 2014

Even in my worse moments, I can realize the situation for what it is, and overcome it by reminding myself of the things in my life that are going great.

I also figure that in a month, this will just be a microscopic blip on the radar, and I won’t even remember it. It helps me let go easier.

That wasn’t the case over a year ago, where I stressed out over every little thing constantly, worried constantly, and always thought the worst was going to happen anyway, so why bother caring.

After I (mostly) overcame the horrible depression I endured in my teenager years, I realized that life was not worth living in such a dark light, but still didn’t reach the point where I am today.

I fully believe that we each deserve to be happy. To wake up every morning and be thankful that we’re still here. That there’s still another day waiting to unfold.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so what’s the use of living each day with such a crappy attitude?

There really isn’t any, and I’m glad I’ve made a huge stride in that department. I’m not perfect at all, but I am grateful for the change in perspective this series has brought me. It’s become ingrained in me to be grateful.

So with that long intro out of the way, here is a recap of all the things I am being grateful for in 2014.

Our Dream of Moving Came True

Let’s start with the biggest highlight of the year – that was our move.

R and I knew we wanted to leave NY at some point (I wrote that over a year ago!), simply because where we were was expensive. We couldn’t afford much beyond what we had. That needed to change in order to make any headway on saving or paying off our student loans.

Our storage unitLong story short, R got a job that would allow him to relocate after a year, and he would also get promoted in the process. Win-win.

As his first year approached in April, he started looking at the available openings. Ideally, we would move closer to my parents, because I missed them and worried about them. =)

He got an interview for a position in SC, but unfortunately, the guy ahead of him got the job. It turned out to be a good thing: after his interview, they told him to go to another store just 15 minutes away, to interview for a different type of position, which happened to involve a raise.

We didn’t need any time to think about it. R accepted the next day once we got home, and we started packing. The rest is history. We’ve been here for 7 months now, and it both does and doesn’t feel that long. I still sometimes can’t believe we made it. Moving seemed like a pipe dream when we were first together, yet here we are!

I’m very grateful all the pieces fell into place on this one. While we’re not sure if Charlotte is where we’re going to stay forever, we’ve enjoyed it so far.

I Left the 9-5 Behind and Started Freelancing

With the move came the loss of a job for me. Because we didn’t know where we would end up until the last second, it was impossible for me to search for a job.

In full disclosure, I was making less than $15/hr at any job I ever held in NY. I majored in Criminal Justice in college, with the thought of eventually getting into the FBI, and obviously, that didn’t happen! I ended up working entry-level admin jobs, which didn’t pay very well.

I figured it would be the same story here. I decided to give freelancing a try, as I saw so many fellow bloggers rocking it, making more than I ever had in a month!

I am really happy to say after many, many difficult months of self-doubt, fear, slight depression, and all around craziness, I made the right decision. I won’t write off returning to the workforce fully at some point, as I know there are some really cool companies out there. But for now, this is right.

I never, ever thought I would be a freelancer, or a solopreneur. There are no entrepreneurs in my family to speak of, and I didn’t recognize it as a possible career path. It’s been quite the learning and eye-opening experience.

Being Grateful for Blogging? Yes!

Which is why I am so very grateful for blogging. It has opened my eyes to all of the possibilities available for those that want to take advantage of it.

Without blogging, I don’t think I would have fully known that side hustling was a thing. I wouldn’t have thought of doing half the things some people to do earn money.

I never thought anyone would be willing to pay me to write, or manage their social media.

And without blogging, I wouldn’t have met some of the awesome people I am happy and grateful to work with. I also wouldn’t have become acquainted with my awesome readers and blog friends!

Weekend Trips to Visit Parents

When we moved, we essentially left behind all of our friends and family. My parents are the only ones that live down south.

Enclosed porch we hang out in at my parentsYou only get one set of parents, though, and I happen to be really close with mine. As I’ve gotten older, I realize my family isn’t getting any younger, either.

And while I worry about my grandma (especially since she was in the hospital twice since we left, which had never happened when we were there!), she is retired and can come visit at any point.

Besides that, freelancing allows me the flexibility to go back home.

For the most part, we have been visiting my parents one or two weekends out of the month.

To put things into perspective, I decided we couldn’t miss Thanksgiving with my parents last year. We drove 12 hours down, and 14 hours back, just to spend 3 days with them, because that’s all we could take off for work.

This past weekend, we drove 3.5 hours, with our cats, and enjoyed 4 days with them. Coming back took 4 hours because of torrential rain, but it’s still way better than 14.

For Christmas, we’ll spend 6 days with them, and none of us will have to risk driving in the snow to get there (hopefully?).

That’s the perfect example to show how things have changed for us, and all I can say is, I’m being grateful upon reflecting just how much things have changed this past year.

What are you being grateful for this Thanksgiving? What’s changed for you this past year?

 

34 Comments

  1. Alicia November 26, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    I am so glad this series has allowed you to “snap out” of the pessimistic tendancies. I also have those – and I find it very helpful to try to reframe things, though it can be a little difficult at times. You’ve mentioned before that I should start something similar, and I don’t disagree :)

    Your life has changed a lot (!) over the past year :) My last year hasn’t changed all that much. I’ve been working to debt-free for the past year or so and I’m getting there. Give me another 6 – 8 months and then we’ll talk ;)

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 26, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      I hear you on that. I don’t think I would have made as much progress without R, too. He’s the complete opposite of me and encourages me to be optimistic even when I just want to succumb to the awfulness that can be self-pity. Gratitude usually kicks my butt in gear. =)

      Hey, 6-8 months is really not that far off if you consider how quickly this year has gone! You’ll be there before you know it.

      Reply
  2. Kirsten November 26, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    I’m thankful for our little support group of freelancers. That’s been awesome. I’m thankful for the outlet and challenge of online work. It’s hard, but I love it.

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      I second that! Becoming friends with fellow freelancers has really helped me grow and not feel so lonely in my journey. I’m sure good things are in store for you as far as freelancing and blogging goes!

      Reply
  3. Mrs. Maroon November 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    2014 has been a whirlwind of a year… new jobs, new state, new house, new baby. We have a new outlook on life as we have started our journey to financial independence. And new to blogging, which is bordering on an obsession for me now. I’m immensely thankful for these things and many more. I don’t expect 2015 to be as eventful, but certainly as exciting!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      Whew, I think you take the cake for life changes in 2014! We only had new jobs and new state. =) Glad to hear you have a new outlook on life due to financial independence and are enjoying blogging. That happened for me when I was introduced to the PF world as well!

      I think I’ll be happy if 2015 isn’t as eventful as this year has been! I just hope to continue along, making progress. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Liz November 26, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    I’m grateful I found your blog Erin. I’ve truly enjoyed reading your blog and following your journey. I would love if you continued the Being Grateful series. You’ve inspired me to reflect more often on the great things/people/experiences in my life.

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 26, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Aw, thanks, Liz! That means a lot. I guess I can be grateful that my own gratitude has inspired that of others, huh? =)

      Reply
  5. Brian @DebtDiscipline November 26, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    I’m grateful for the personal finance community, a great group of people! Oh and being debt free! Happy Thanksgiving Erin!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 26, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Brian! Being debt free and the PF community are two very amazing things to be grateful for. =)

      Reply
  6. Kassandra November 26, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    What a positively challenging and eventful year Erin! I can relate to it a lot. :)
    I’m very happy to have met you and get to know you a little better. I wish you and R all the best for this Thanksgiving holiday and the days ahead.

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Same here, Kassandra! It’s such a shame I moved away around the same time you moved to NY. I hope you and your family enjoyed a very Happy Thanksgiving. =)

      Reply
  7. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini November 26, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    I am so happy for you. After conquering the blogging world I’m sure you feel you can do anything now. I have decided that I will be pursuing the same dream to support myself after the military. I am so excited about it. Thank you for sharing your story and allowing newbies like me feel hope.

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      I wouldn’t say I conquered the blogging world, but it’s a start! =) There are so, so many opportunities out there for freelancers now. It’s just about finding what you’re good at, what you’re happy doing, and people that will pay for it. There are a lot of reasons to have hope you’ll be able to succeed. =)

      Reply
  8. Melanie @ My Alternate Life November 26, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    I love this series and can’t believe it has been a year! I am also naturally pessimistic, but I’ve tried to retrain my mind. I wake up and think “I’m grateful for another day” and I go to bed thinking about what I was grateful for that day. Your life has changed so much in the past year and I’m so proud of you. You are doing a great job as a freelancer and of course I’m happy we are friends. Have a great holiday!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      It’s certainly possible to retrain our brains to think differently! (One of the many reasons I love psychology.) I think that’s a great way to do it, too. The beginning and ending of our day is important!

      On the subject of change, you know I admire you and all the work you’ve been doing, and you’ve accomplished so much with freelancing already! I’m happy we’re friends, too. =)

      Reply
  9. Mrs. Frugalwoods November 27, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    This is so awesome, Erin! You’ve made incredible transformations in your life this year–wow. It’s really inspiring. I used to get so hung up on little things and would worry constantly too, but, I’m also a reformed worrier (for the most part) and it’s so freeing to fully enjoy each day. Still a work in progress, but, such a better way to live life!

    And, I’m with you on gratitude for blogging. I had no idea how much I would love it and how many amazing people I would meet–like you! Happy Thanksgiving :)!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      “Freeing” is a good way to describe it. I can be an uptight planner, and when things don’t go as I’d hoped, it gets to me (which leads to worrying about plans). Realistically, it’s a horrible way to function, since most plans have to be adjusted at some point! At least we’ve recognized it and are working on it – changing your mindset is a huge undertaking, and I imagine it’ll be a work in progress for me for some years to come.

      Agreed! So glad you started blogging. =) I hope the Frugalwoods family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      Reply
  10. kay ~ lifestylevoices.com November 27, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    That was such an inspiring story, Erin! You write so deeply. I’m grateful for bloggers like you who are willing to give so freely of yourselves. Happy Thanksgiving Erin! I look forward to reading your posts for a LONG time to come :)

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Thanks Kay! You’re always too kind. I’m glad I could be a little inspiring. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

      Reply
  11. Myles Money November 27, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    I am so glad to hear things have improved such a lot and that you are feeling so much better than a year ago. And I’m sure that 2015 is going to be even more awesomer!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      Thanks Myles! I hope it will be. Anything can happen. =)

      Reply
  12. Tre November 28, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    Thank you for sharing with us every week. I think sometimes we get caught up in everything going on and forget to be grateful for what we have.

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      We are all definitely guilty of that, myself included. That’s why it’s so important to me to keep going with the series!

      Reply
  13. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life November 28, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I made the shift from pessimism to gratitude a couple years back and it was life changing. The proof is in everything you just listed. Congrats Erin!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      Thanks Stefanie! Glad you also made the switch. Life is a lot happier this way. =)

      Reply
  14. Amanda @ My Life, I Guess November 28, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    This is awesome! I’m so happy that things are working out so well for you. I’m a pretty pessimistic person, too, and I’ve tried using some of those “Happy Apps” that ask you to track 3 things you’re grateful for everyday – but I always give up after a few days. Perhaps the weekly approach is a better way to do it?

    This year has been full of ups and downs for sure, but as I sit on my couch next to R with my Macbook and cat on our laps, a ring on my finger, and sore muscles from playing with kids at my new job, I REALLY can’t complain :D

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      I’ve never actually kept a gratitude journal – this weekly series is all I do, aside from mentally tracking things I’m grateful for. I’m not a huge fan of tracking things (besides spending, of course), as in doing so, it feels more like “I have to do this” rather than “I want to do this”. With tracking, you’re kind of being “forced” into it. It’s almost like homework or a chore.

      I make a conscious decision to document what I’m grateful for here, and my main motivations have been inspiring others, and keeping things in perspective. I know it’s still kind of tracking, but it just feels different!

      That is a great attitude. =) And I love that we have all of that in common sans the kids at the new job, haha.

      Reply
  15. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver November 28, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    Erin, this is lovely! I’m so glad you guys made the move, too – it seems like it was really all-around beneficial for you. Hey, don’t forget getting engaged too – that’s pretty exciting! And R sounds great, so he gets kudos ;)

    I’m personally grateful you started blogging, too, because I’m lucky I got to meet you! :)

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Ha, isn’t that funny, I forgot the engagement. It still hasn’t sunk in yet!! R and I were just talking about it again yesterday. I guess it’s because we haven’t even thought about the actual wedding yet. Nothing feels different!

      But yes, I am grateful for R, because without him getting the job he did, none of this would have happened. You’re right that the move played a HUGE part in how everything fell together this year.

      Now we just have to meet in-person next year. =)

      Reply
  16. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank November 29, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    Erin, you made the right choice for leaving NY. My brother lived there for a while but he couldn’t bear the expenses and the high-cost of living so he transferred to Arizona. Now, he owns a house and has a high-paying job. It really nice to know that it was really a good move for both of you and are working out so well. That is surely something that you and my brother should be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. November 29, 2014 at 9:52 PM

      I’m glad your brother was able to move! Not all parts of NY are really expensive, but I know property taxes are crazy in the Northeast in general. I’m sure AZ is much more affordable! It’s not easy to move to a new area, but the savings can be worth it, especially if you can find a better paying job.

      I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

      Reply
  17. Lisa December 2, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    I love this post! Being grateful is incredibly life changing and it’s been great seeing how being grateful concretely changed your life!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. December 3, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      Thanks Lisa! I’m glad it has been beneficial for both of us.

      Reply

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