As the old year draws to a close (and holy hell, I can't believe it's already 2010), I look back over my resolutions and see that I haven't done such a stellar job following through with what I promised. However, that's only to be expected...2009 saw the end of my senior year of college, an absolutely hellish summer, a cross-country move, and my first professional job. All this brought both personal and interpersonal emotional baggage and drama, but the new year looks bright and clean, a smooth pathway towards...at least an interesting future.
But my life is changing, and changing rapidly. I have things to think about and be careful about that would never have occurred to me a year ago. I have a job to devote myself to (although that won't be a problem, as I really enjoy it), an income to manage, a 401k plan to stuff (Jesus, I have a 401k plan), school to consider getting back into, and family and friends back home that deserve more communication from me than I've been at leisure to give.
But leisure is one of the things that I foresee this job will not increase. Already as I become more and more skilled and valued, my free time gets shorter. Last week I worked six days, and I can tell that's not going to be uncommon. Besides having to work extra hours, I also have to consider getting thoroughly acquainted with my job...I must know these products and companies inside and out. That means sacrificing (well, if you call it a sacrifice!) my free time to go experience all that Expedia has to offer in Hawaii. On the surface it sounds great, and really, it is, especially with friends along for the ride, but sometimes waking up early on your day off to spend half your day somewhere else can be draining.
On the other hand, I don't really have to worry about my entertainment budget. My company pretty much covers that!
Speaking of budgeting, I'm taking a leaf out of Suze Orman's book and trying to track my expenses for the month of January. Then maybe I can stop money from disappearing from my wallet! Although, on that score, I have almost nothing to complain about...were it just worrying about rent and expenses, I could spend to my heart's content and not need to worry about running out. But I've got to think about the future...I want to fill up my 401k, and I want to take my mother to a great 60th birthday celebration in Great Britain (and doing it earlier would be wonderful!), and all of that is going to take careful money management.
And then there's returning to school...much as I want to study EAS again for a master's, I don't know if that's really where I should be going. I want to get higher in this company or another, in the future, and being a mere GSA (guest service agent) or concierge is not the way to go. Commission may contribute lots of extra money (though I've not seen that yet), but a higher salary is the only guarantee. So I'm considering maybe studying management, or human resources, or other aspects of the travel and tourism industry (a la marketing) that will allow me to get higher in any travel agency. I really like working for a travel agency; the perks are second to none. And I want to take advantage of the opportunity I have through Expedia to transfer anywhere in the world. But all the jobs they advertise elsewhere are not for concierges (although I don't doubt that they exist). They are for marketing managers, HR supervisors, and other jobs for which I have no qualifications.
Of course, I would still love to go to school for creative writing. My heart, no matter where else I try to put it, is still steadily inclining in that direction. I can't change it...recently I've started writing again (as my situation has stabilized) and it's wonderful...but I don't know if I'll ever be published without focusing on it wholeheartedly. Getting myself an agent, working for publication in magazines, online, anywhere...it's uphill work nowadays, and even though I'm good, I'm still not satisfied. There's a gulf still between my writing and professional writing, and I don't know how to bridge it quite yet. And this job, fun and consuming and happy as it is, does tend to take up my free time, as already noted.
And it's ridiculous to think that Expedia would cover a master's in creative writing. They reimburse only for studies that benefit the company, as well they should.
Last but not least, my personal life. I'd hoped that Expedia would provide the grounds for me to make friends, but that, so far, hasn't been the case. There are no concierges even close to my age, and even though I'm friendly with the majority of my coworkers, I wouldn't call any of them my friends. In general, that's okay, because I have Debbie and not a lot of spare time to need other friends, but it would still be very nice. Such as now, for example, when I'd love to go out and celebrate New Year's Eve, but have no one to go with. I'm so used to my friends just finding me, that I wonder how to go about finding friends when I have no time for interests outside of work.
Well, I'm not too worried about that last. It'll happen organically, one showing up here, meeting another there.
So tonight I'm slowly forming resolutions for the new year, trying to make them more attainable than last year. At least, this year, I have good reason to believe that my situation will be more stable than last, and have many fewer worries in general.
In any case, I've had some of the hardest challenges in my life in this past year. I strugged through the last semester of college with opposition from the one person who should have tried to help me, and overcoming the difficulties regarding my thesis, but finally graduated with honors. I faced up to the fact that jobs were not forthcoming on the east coast, and took on extra work to make the move to Hawaii possible. I frickin' moved to Hawaii. And despite the terrible economy and my own inexperience, got exactly the kind of job I was looking for three weeks and two days after I got here.
If there's one thing this past year has told me, it's that I've got the grit and determination (or pig-headed stubborness, say it how you will) to get what I BLOODY WELL WANT.
And that's comforting to know for the future.