Friday, February 1, 2013
Day 2: Life Assessment Part I
1.What do I LIKE about this area of my life?
2.What do I DISLIKE about it?
As it happened, this played out as an imaginary conversation I had with Rosetta. Fairly lengthy, too, so I've broken it up into two parts.
I live in an apartment. It’s been a decade now and my living space is lovely. In ten years, you grow comfortable and DH is very handy and creative so our space is aesthetically pleasing to me. Home is sanctuary. It feels good. One of my most favorite things to do is wake up leisurely on a weekend morning, grind coffee beans and make myself a cup of coffee. I play meditation music or not, and sit quietly on my couch taking in the sounds and absence of activity in the early morning.
When I first moved in, our building was home to single professionals and two long-time elderly residents. Our building was quiet. Neighbors were friendly and helpful. Eventually, my favorite senior neighbors grew older and moved to senior residences (we’re now the long-term senior residents). Families with gaggles of children moved in. I really hate the noise and mess. I don’t have small children; don’t like other peoples’ children. I don’t have relationships with my neighbors anymore. They don’t stay long but always another family with small children move in.
The older I get the more I value peace and quiet. Children aren’t quiet. If I sound like a cranky old woman, okay. Despite the change in demographic, I love my private space and I don’t want to give it so I’m trying to make peace with living with other people’s children.
Right what I do for a living is just that, a job to pay the rent. It isn’t satisfying because it’s not my life work but it pays the bills and provides me insurance and a 401k. I’m grateful but not content, and at this stage, it’s insane to keep waiting to live my life. I’m at the half way mark. It’s, Girl, this is it. What are you going to do with the rest of life?
I’m glad I’m a life-long learner. I’ve learned a lot in school, training sessions, self-study, films, seminars, workshops and countless other places. You get the idea. I have few regrets in my life. The one nagging shame I have is my failure to earn my degree. At the ripe age of eighteen, a freshman in college, I decided to get married. I naively believed I would have a happy marriage and finish school. Neither worked out. I spent years as a single parent juggling work, school and parenting. Only thing I could manage with some success was work. Not finishing school isn’t my biggest failure, it’s the one that nags me because I could have successfully completed my degree. I lacked the discipline and maturity to finish.
Well, I’ve made more than I currently earn. How’s that for a start? When I made more I also spent more. I regret that. What I don’t regret is how much I gave. So many people supported me and helped me when I needed it so when I had it, I gave it. What I wish I had done was better managed my money so I could have given more and saved more so I could have taken care of my family and others better and longer.
I’m a lousy money manager and (a friend of mine has written an article on why to use ‘and’ instead of ‘but.’ It’s stuck with me.) I am getting better. My sweetie on the other hand will make a dollar holla as the saying goes, and his behavior and attitude are influencing me. This year, I opened a separate spending account so I can monitor and hold myself accountable for my spending, and my old account is now for savings. I increased my contributions to both of my 401k accounts. I’ve made arrangements to address some old debt and soon will have one paid off.
I want to stop being held hostage by debt. I want the freedom to do work I love, to experience more and do more in my personal life. I want to return to school. None of this is possible as long as I carry my current debt. This year, I’m going to learn how to live a frugal life.
What about you? How would you respond? Share your thoughts. Join me and others and commit to this challenge. Start here.