Saturday, January 1, 2011


I am excited.  I could be excited because I have had 3 cups of coffee this morning.  I don't think that is the main reason I am excited though.  I am also excited because I am making some changes.  Some changes are small, some changes may not be so small.  Only time will tell the effect of these changes and whether the changes stick.

This time of year people resolve to make changes.  After all, it is the beginning of a new year.  We tend to look back at the previous year and reflect on what went well and what did not work well.  Some of the things that happen we have little or no control over.  Other things we do have control over.  It is the things that we do have control over that we can change ourselves.  The question is do we want to make changes.  This past week my hair dresser (Yes, despite my lack of hair on the top of my head, I go to a hair dresser.) said she is a person who does not like change.  However, change can be good.  Change can be an improvement in our lives.  It might be hard to adjust to change, but it can be better in the long run.  After all, if we don't accept change, we can't improve.  We can't become better.  We might actually get worse in some respects if we don't change.  If you think about it, life is change.  Evolving and changing is how the human race became the human race, and the human race will not remain the human race.  We will eventually evolve into something else, hopefully something better.  

Of course, the changes I am doing or thinking about doing are not so drastic as evolving into something else.  Some are minor.  Some may say I shouldn't be doing.  At least one change is minor in implementation, but it could have a major impact on my life.  Only time will tell that.

One change I made yesterday.  Several months ago I won a Zune HD.  I downloaded the Zune software from the Microsoft website and used Zune to manage my music library.  However,  a few months my Zune HD went bad.  The Zune HD screen now has a bunch of horizontal lines and is unusable.  For Christmas I received an iTunes gift card, among other things.  Yesterday I downloaded the iTunes software to my laptop.  It detected all of my music on the laptop, and now I am using iTunes to manage my music library.  I used the iTunes gift card to buy a Norah Jones album, The Fall.  The album only cost $13.99 plus any tax, much cheaper than if I bought it from a store like Best Buy.  I used iTunes to make a CD of this album, and I am listening to it now.  It sounds great on my 12 year-old Bose Wave Machine.  There are other things you can download using iTunes.  It is a popular piece of software, and considering the cost of CDs at stores, I should have downloaded iTunes a long time ago.  With the blank CDs I already have, I can make CDs for both home and my car.  Now I have to think about some sort of iPod to take my music anywhere I go.  This old gator is trying to get with it finally.

Another change I am thinking about is going back to Comcast for my TV.  A couple of years ago, I dropped Comcast because it was too expensive, and my finances could not handle it.  I was getting the regular digital broadcasts with HD, and I had a DVR along with getting HBO and something else of which I can't think of the name of.  Now my finances are a little better (not much better, but a little better).  I noticed in the paper that most of the college football bowl games are on ESPN, including the BCS Championship game (thankfully the Florida Gators' bowl game is on ABC this afternoon).   I am currently getting TV over-the-air, which is free.  However, the selection of over-the-air stations is not great, and I do miss some of channels I was getting on Comcast.  If I do switch back to cable, I will not get a DVR or any extra stuff like HBO.  I do hope to be able to get HD stations without much cost.  I will do some investigating next week and see if this change is doable.

I have already made a change that is small in implementation, but it could be a big impact.  They say you should pay yourself first before you pay your bills.  On December 1, I put $100 in my savings account.  Yesterday I put in $100 more in my savings account.  I could do so because my cash flow is good in December and in January.  The question is will I be able to keep this up in the months that my cash flow is not so good.  My income is not the same each month because I work part time, and not all the classes I teach are in session, and my math tutoring declines in the summer.  I am also going to try not to spend as much in the "good" months so that I have something to get me through the "not so good" months.  If I can do that, my savings account will grow, and my finances will improve.  As you see, this simple act of putting something away can have a big impact on my life.

Change can be good if it improves things.  We do not always have control of what changes, and that can be frustrating and hard to accept.  However, the change we do have control of can be both exciting and life impacting.  Year 2011 is here, and I can't wait to see it unfold.     

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