Rant: Judging

I met with the Investment advisor last week and it was an interesting meeting. I have told you that I moved to my current country when I was a teen but I haven’t told you that I’m “a woman of colour.” That term covers a lot of ground so I have no idea who you’re picturing but I’ll leave that to you.

The reason I have never mentioned race is because a non-white immigrant brings up all sorts of ideas. While I like this guy’s values so far I’m seeing where his own bias is going to make this relationship troubling if I don’t speak up soon. He assumes that my parents don’t believe in change, that ML and I have had to navigate cultural differences, and that we still do.

This is our second meeting and I’ve told him he’s projecting. At which he admitted that he was but was attempting to understand where I was coming from.

Here’s my problem,if I were white he would assume that we’re coming from the same place. He wouldn’t attribute the way I handle my life to some other culture but to my personality.

ML and I have had very few societal differences. Like any married couple we’ve had differences based on our personalities. Also I can’t presume that someone who identifies as American is representing all American culture. Rather their family, schooling, and community has shaped them. “Culture” can be too broad a term. It’s like saying all Canadians are polite and apologetic (not true) and assuming a Canadian is polite because of their culture instead of the fact their mother has been asking them for the magic word before handing over dinner.

The other thing this guy does is let me know he paid for my policy and won’t be making any money off me for 10 years or unless I invest $100,000 per year. I should have slept on the deal but I transferred. Now I feel trapped.

To be honest I was lucky when my friend was my investor for years. We spoke the same language and I didn’t feel judged. 

I’m going to stick it out with this guy. He didn’t poo-poo my idea of paying down the mortgage and though he is presumptuous maybe this is my opportunity to educate him.

I think at the next meeting I’ll clear the air and give him a bit of a run down. I suspect his rudeness and, what I identify as, prejudice comes from ignorance rather than true ill will.

If not I’ll keep my eye out for another investor within the company. My mum has said,” I know your word is important but it is your money. You need to be comfortable with who is handling it.”

She’s right and I need to not trap myself because I feel badly about taking my business away.

Thank you for reading!

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Revisiting My Lists

When I began blogging last year I did a lot of work offline to figure out my goals. This was partly because I wanted to get to the point quickly but also because I wanted to create a community. I suspected that beginning by treating the blog like a diary wouldn’t be the way to go. I don’t regret the decision as my first few posts get straight to the heart of what I wanted to do and have served as great touch points over the last year.

Since then, I have grown in confidence and have become much more open in sharing my journey. When looking at creating another cohesive list to help guide my decisions I decided to look at my posts over this past year.

It’s been an exciting year where I have met so many wonderful, inspiring people and I’ve given myself the opportunity to live an intentional life. Part of the joy of blogging is being able to better keep track of the lessons I’ve learnt while continuing to learn from all those who comment on my blog or post on their own. In that spirit here are a list of posts in which I focused on goals or tactics to help me be the person I’d like:

My vision for myself:

How to get to where I want to go

Healthy Lifestyle

Working on consumption

While ML & I will continue to work on our lists together these posts will also give me a great overview of the person I am aiming to be and help me ensure that my What Matters to Me II list reflects my hopes and dreams for myself over the past year.

Do you review your previous  posts? What’s the most interesting thing that you find about doing that?

 

Assessing Life

I had a post prepared for today and then Dr. Jonathon posted something so appropriate to some of the things I was going to touch on that I’m making some adjustments 🙂

ML and I spend yesterday doing a host of exercises as a couple to talk about our core values, our definitions of success and our dreams. It’s still ongoing, we have a few more things to chat about.

It was interesting, because when I started a year ago I chatted with ML and I incorporated his goals into mine  but it was definitely focused on me and my values. When we were working through activities yesterday it became clear that our core values are quite different. I want to feel in control of my serenity, continue to explore my boundaries and generally seek ways to improve my life and be able to afford lifestyle. ML is focused on enjoying his life and having/being able to display makers of his success.

It was eye-opening to me as I realized that I often gently, but consistently, push him until I get my way so he loses some of the things that are important to him. An example is he has always said he wanted a large home. I’m the opposite so I worked on him until he saw that a large home was not necessarily going to be a happy home. I didn’t want to have to deal with the cleaning and maintenance that comes with a larger property or the hiring of staff and contractors.

Knowing that these markers are important to him gives me the opportunity to be supportive in other other ways. Traveling is important to him as a success marker. He further defined it as being able to take a big trip every other year. Knowing this I’m going to make it a bigger part of my savings budget so that we can take a big trip every 2 years.

There were a host of big activities that we did but in the end it centers around the questions: What are you doing now to help you achieve your goals and be true to your values? This is where Dr. Jonathon’s exercise  was a great thing to find today. I highly recommend doing it to see where the life you’re living and your priorities align.

What did you think of it?

Happy introspecting!

 

Achieving Goals 

I’m going to really show my age here and quote Dawson’s Creek:

recite-2gy0tu

The first time I saw this episode teenage me thought this was the most ridiculous excuse ever for making a bad decision. Your life was too good? Good grief!

As I’ve grown, the reason now  sounds selfish and reeks of an unwillingness to explore ways to continue to grow in existing relationships, however, I understand it. When I achieve my goals I’m often caught unawares. Like this character, I want to have something to strive for.

Though I’m still working on the what matters to me and my financial goals lists, the tasks are now rote:

  • I want to spend quality time with those I love doing interesting things.
    • This has become part of my normal. We host at least once a month and work on making plans with people to do fun activities.
  • I want to be good to my environment.
    • I’m much better than I was when I started blogging. I’ve given up paper towel, have learned how to use leftovers and my freezer, and have significantly cut down on my waste.
  • I want to be able to purchase new or upgraded items when something gets damaged without having to worry about using a credit card.
    • Yeah baby! My savings lines are in line with my lifestyle so I’ve been able to accomplish this
  • I want to improve my home. Not for re-sale but for me.
    • This was important because I was focusing on how to increase the re-sale value rather than our needs. As we’ve decided to not plan to move unless we have a significant job change I’ve been able to really look at improving the home for us to live in by decorating well and really taking care of it.
  • Financial Goals
    • I’ve included them in my budget so they function as automatic payment to the appropriate savings lines.

This isn’t to say that these aren’t good goals. They’re just not resonating with me in the same way as I’ve integrated them so well with my life. This makes it difficult to get excited about them.

I’m incredibly fortunate that I’ve managed to achieve the life I envisioned for myself 1 year ago. My reality is hard won and I’m not willing to sacrifice it by taking any steps back. The lovely thing about life is there are always new things to try. You may have noticed that recently I’ve had a few posts on goals  that I’d like to achieve (retirement, health to name a few).

Over the next few posts I’ll be revisiting the exercises I completed when creating my first list in the hope of creating a cohesive list to help me guide my decisions. My aim is to have an updated What matters to me list by my one year blogging anniversary on July 21st. 

Does this happen to you?

 

Anxiety Rears It’s Head

I’ve previously written about my anxiety on this blog and a in a bit more detail here. In the last few weeks my panic has been climbing in all aspects of my life. I visited my therapist and we worked on a plan for my next few weeks.

Since I know I’m not alone I thought I’ll share some of the things that I’m going to be doing to build my resilience.

Take vacation

Really take it next week! Relax rather than fill my days with to-do items. I realized that I am nervous about not having plans so I’m going to create a list of fun ideas for me to pick from rather than my usual list of should do.

Make having fun…fun

I’ve been scheduling fun which has been a bit stressful. For example I was attending a local craft night but it meant rushing home, changing out of my work clothes, eating quickly, getting to the event in the nick of time, HAVING FUN, rushing out to pick up ML, heading home to sleep. Doesn’t sound very fun does it?

Her recommendation was that I work with my moods and lifestyle.

Language!

I make fun plans with the best intentions. Tonight I’m heading out to dinner with friends and I’ve been looking forward to it. Last night I realized that the time I recommended we meet doesn’t actually work easily, it means that ML and I will need to do some creative juggling to ensure we both get where we need to go today.

Once I realized this I began getting stressed and began thinking things like: “How stupid to not realize that I should have booked it later or suggested another date!” or “This afternoon is going to be so busy I won’t get anytime to take care of stuff for tomorrow.” Notice how that language doesn’t sound like I want to see my friends?

Once I caught these thoughts I have worked to put some positive ones out instead:

  • ML is super easygoing about this, I should listen to him and not worry about juggling.
  • All I have to do for tomorrow is select my clothing as tomorrow’s lunch is taken care of.
  • It’s going to be fantastic to see them! I can’t wait to catch up

Emotional Bank Account

This is the big overarching thing and what’s gotten me in trouble. The idea is that our emotional resources are finite. I’ve been worried about finances, family, work and friends as well as feeling busy and rushed. As you can see my attempts to refill with ‘fun’ hasn’t quite panned out.

By taking a proper vacation, enjoying myself rather than rushing to and from ‘fun,’ and speaking kindly to myself my emotional account should move to the black.

I’ve slowly started this journey. This past weekend I ‘scheduled’ Sunday to be a fun day i.e. no chores! I spent the day watching movies, playing with Bunny, hanging out with ML and it was fantastic. Even when we did end up doing a few errands it was relaxing.

What do you do to relax?

 

 

 

 

My Anti-Bucket List

This post has been inspired by the lovely Georgie Moon who shared some fantastic prompts.

Bucket

I really liked the idea of an anti-bucket list because when I consider a bucket list it’s a things to do. I want to swim with dolphins, go in a hot air balloon, and visit England. Great goals that are meaningful to me but I noticed something about them. All of these things involve me saving my pennies and working hard to be able to check them off. They also function as bragging points and things I can use to make others feel a bit envious of my fabulous life.

When I saw the anti-bucket list I instinctively went with emotions. So here are a list of things I never want to do:

  • Wonder if my life has been useful to anyone else
  • Feel like I’m drowning in debt, again
  • Feel like my dreams are so far out of reach
  • Live in fear
  • Stop doing things that scare me – I seek every opportunity to pet snakes because they scare the bejeezus out of me
  • Stop dancing when the mood strikes me
  • Stop belting out songs when I know, or think I know, the lyrics
  • Live my life according to what other people think I should be doing (this is on the gotta stop list)
  • Have ‘friends’ who are negative and don’t brighten my world because I don’t want to offend them
  • Stop laughing at myself and silly situations
  • Lose the ability to see the wonder of a sunset, the way snow settles on trees or the waves crash upon the shore
  • Not feel like I can have people over to my home
  • Live in filthy surroundings (I’m thinking of piles of stuff everywhere)

It didn’t take long to create this list but it showed me a bit more about myself. Based on this list I’m someone who wants to live in the moment, feel comfortable in her own skin and enjoy the little things. Not bad things to put on my bucket list!

Image from here.

My Descent into Debt

This isn’t a financial post, it’s an emotional one and I’ve decided to be a bit more honest about a big part of my journey and my descent into debt.

I had mentioned that my Lenten goal is to be kinder to myself and had hinted that I’ve moved away from the Catholic Church, though I clearly still feel a kinship to some of the traditions.

This was the final straw for me: I can’t get pregnant.

That’s what I now say. I say that rather than:

  • I realized that my desire to have children was deeply tied to my desire to do the right thing (the Pope made headlines when he declared that folks who choose not to have children are selfish)
    • How awful to realize in the middle of a therapy session that I was treating getting pregnant like an item to cross off my to-do list to please my religious community and parents!
  • I suffer from anxiety which made getting pregnant without the use of therapy and fetal friendly anti-anxiety medication impossible.
    • I don’t need medication on a regular basis to function, so it’s problematic to me to be told that I would greatly benefit by being medicated to get pregnant.
  • The tests that I endured to find out if my body was ‘working’ were horrendous and humiliating.
  • Trying to get pregnant was making me an awful person. I would sink into deep sadness every month but try to gear up for the next one. I was livid when friends mentioned they had gotten accidentally pregnant.
  • I stopped living (stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine, stopped eating anything remotely ‘bad’, stopped booking travel plans, didn’t pursue job opportunities that would be stressful) for 1.5 years because I wanted to get pregnant and was bombarded by messages that if I created the right environment I would be able to do this.

In Knowing your Truth I hinted about this part of my struggle when I mentioned: My debt  came slowly at first and then more quickly after a rather rough patch when I wanted to prove to people that I was alright.

You see, ML and I were saving for the baby we were sure we were going to have. I had begun purchasing toys and clothing (these were the items that pained me during KonMari ). We were also trying to live off one paycheck as best we could so that we would have a savings to purchase diapers, clothing, medication, etc.  Once we came to the decision as a couple that our way of life was really not working I sank into a depression. I was ashamed for what I saw as my failure. We told our parents who were hurt and thought:

  • if we just kept trying things would work out.
  • If we didn’t give in to fear we would be fine.
  • Our relationship was so great that children would only enhance it.

I was also eaten up with guilt as my parents are still very involved in the Church so all their friends have grandchildren. I had now robbed them of this joy in their golden years.

I was consumed by the thought, “How could we possibly have meaningful lives as individuals and as a couple if we didn’t have children?”

So how did I combat it? I overspent. What were we saving for if our future was in shambles?  It did come slowly as I stopped putting money into the child account and started buying fripperies but boy did it speed up when we started saying to each other, “We don’t have a child so we should be enjoying the lifestyle.”

We were hearing that we were selfish from lots of corners and do you know what selfish people do? They blow money on themselves! So yes, we’re going out every night we’re able. It was a way of telling ourselves that the life we were now faced with was better.

It’s not. It’s not better or worst, it’s just different. I say we but ML and I handled this heartbreak differently. I turned my rage inward, hating myself for not being able to do this basic thing that my body is designed for and having a mental illness, all the while spending money to prove to myself and others that we were fine.

That breakdown happened 4 years ago. I still struggle when my parents mention babies,  strangers tell me that I’m young and should get pregnant now,  friends suggest that our home is the perfect place to raise a child (yep it was bought and furnished with raising kids in mind), and well meaning folks tell me that having a child would complete our family.

There’s no tidy conclusion to this post. No words of wisdom or solace. It was about honesty as I was re-reading my blog and saw all the moments I hinted at this ‘dark secret’. It’s not the only reason we’re currently in debt but that emotional turmoil did play a huge role in our debt decline.

New Year’s Resolutions

I love the new year preparations! There is something wonderful about taking a moment to reflect on the year that’s gone by and making a conscious decision to be a better version of me going forward.

I used to make resolutions the same way I make my To do list at work:

  • Exercise more
  • Eat well
  • Learn patience
  • Don’t blow the budget

The problem became that I would start out doing well but then a few months, even weeks, into the new year these items would be lost.

My next step was to take it month by month, for example, I’d spend January whipping my finances back into shape and giving myself structure, February I’d make a point of exercising everyday followed by incorporating more veggies in March. I wouldn’t plan out my year in advance but would promise myself to focus on something that made me better. This worked really well especially as it helped me build some momentum and kept my good habits top of mind.

This year, with the creation of this blog, I brought a lot of those pieces together. I spent a lot of time figuring out what mattered to me . When thinking of resolutions I revisited this list and my ways of tracking my success. It turns out I don’t have traditional resolutions this year, I’m just going to keep building on the success of 2015. I’ll be posting on how I plan to do this during the last 2 weeks of December.

What’s on your agenda for 2016?

 

Cleaning Your Space and Your Life

new life

As I’m cleaning out my physical space I’m finding the KonMari questions helpful but sometimes painful.

The life I thought I would have is not to be.  There are days that I mourn that fact and find it hard to embrace my new future. I am surrounded by little reminders of that lost potential future, they sneak up and cause me to start to doubt my choices. In this cleaning spree I touched more than a few items that caused me a sharp pang of sadness. Why in the world am I keeping these things? As a bizarre form of punishment?

It’s hard changing your life. When I made a decision a few years ago that took me off my planned path I was terrified. I had lost my map, forget that the map I was following wasn’t working it at least gave me the illusion of control. Even with great support it was, and continues to be, tough.

Putting those items in the bin, donation box or gift closet was so very hard and I still have more to do. I’m leaving one area until the very last because I know how painful it will be. On the plus side I know that by putting these items out of my home I will be saying goodbye to the person I was going to be and welcoming my future whatever it may bring.

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How can I Track my Journey?

The reason for this blog is that I’m writing to track myself. So now I have to come up with ways to track my journey.

I want to spend quality time with those I love doing interesting things.

This doesn’t necessarily require additional cash as I’ve got my eating out and entertainment lines. On the other hand, I’d like to travel so I’m going to have to save for vacations and activities that exceed my allotment.

I can keep on with this by:

  • noting how often I hang out with the people I love
  • creating a savings account for vacation
  • noting the number of times I eat out
  • making a conscious effort to explore frugal ways to entertain

I want to be good to my environment.

This doesn’t require oodles of money and can help me reduce costs. The problem with being good to the environment is that the upfront costs (I’m looking at you LED lighting) can be high.

I can keep on with this by:

  • keeping an eye on my electrical and water usage
  • noting how often I buy local in terms of grocery items

I want to be able to purchase new or upgraded items when something gets damaged without having to worry about using a credit card.

It’s funny that this is number three since it’s the whole reason for my writing. This boils down to my desire to not only be debt free but have a general savings account. Currently my vacation and general savings are in the same account but as I pay down my debt my plan is to create another savings account and re-route some of that debt repayment money into it.

I can keep on with this by:

  • noting the % of consumer debt that is paid down per month
  • noting the number of times that I use something if it’s an ‘extra’
  • including the % I’m over or under my budget monthly

I want to improve my home. Not for re-sale but for me.

This one requires money and to be honest a bit of it. Even if I didn’t have my debt it would take me a while to save for it all. For this one I created a list of all the things I want to do in my home and then ranked them in order of importance.

As this is the least important to me in the grand scheme of things, my aim is going to be pay off my consumer debt and then re-route some of that money into a home improvement fund.

I can keep on with this by:

  • noting the number of months that I will need to wait until I can start my fund