I’ve been thinking a lot recently about Stuff. How much I have and how much I want. I think it’s easy to want lots of things. All those cute outfits my friends are wearing. All those nice shoes. The bike I see on my way to work. The candles at my friend’s apartment. The cute vases with the little succulents. Sure, it’s nice to have less stuff and less attachments, but what if I really want that accent chair, or really want that dress covered in a lemon print. I won’t be able to wear it many places, but it still makes me happy. Is it worth it?
For awhile I’ve been trending towards buying less, but better quality stuff: dresses which are lined, things which have timeless style, shoes which can be resoled. I’m trying to be less consumeristic, but sometimes it’s really hard. (I really want that lemon dress, you know?) It’s hard in the city where I live and the job where I work. It’s hard in America and it’s hard as a woman.
BUT I found a good system for me. I let myself buy one nice thing a month beyond gas and groceries and rent. Definitely an indulgence still in that it’s not helping me towards my goal of financial freedom, but there’s a cap on what I can buy and I find this is a good system for me.
If I want things, they go into my excel chart – one thing per month. If I decide I want something sooner, I move the other thing out of that month. So, for example, in July I wanted to buy a black, silk dress I’ve been eyeing it for awhile. It’s expensive, but also extremely versatile. And then I happened up the 10 Step Korean Skincare routine. So I moved my dress out of July and into September so I could buy a multitude of skincare products instead. Which means 12 things a year to indulge in.
I’ve found something else which will help me spend less. If I want something nice (my black dress isn’t cheap), I divide how many hours it would take me to work to buy it (after tax!). Do I really want to devote twenty of my working hours to this dress. Maybe. But I definitely don’t want to devote 13 working hours to the lemon dress.
It’s a good tool on top of my one thing per month chart and I think it will help me evaluate my purchases more clearly than I already do. I’ll report back.
(And just so you know not all my purchases are so pricey. October is a mug I want – 1 work hour.)
Eek! It’s already been 35 days since I started this blog and I feel like I haven’t made much progress. I’ve made a bit, but not as much as I wish. Still I went to ballet class this weekend and I’ve been writing pretty consistently. But I want to have done more!
One of the main problems I have with myself is that I can never live up to my fantasy self. You know the one? The one who eats healthily and jumps up at the sound of her alarm to write. The one who exercises regularly. The one who writes like she’s running out of time. The one who is always in a good mood at work and ready to help. The one who is ambitious, but not too ambitious to be slytherin-like. 😛
I call her my fantasy self and sometimes I feel so, so far from her.
She’s who I want to be; the person I’m striving to be with this blog. Too often I fall short, but that’s not such a bad thing, is it? To have something to strive for? To aim to be the person I want to be. To reach beyond who I currently am?
No, I think it’s a good thing, but I also have to remember to forgive myself when I fall short. Tomorrow is another day to live up to my ideal person, but it’s okay if I skipped writing for one day because I was just too tired from my job which pays my rent. It’s okay if I skip yoga one day because I’d rather lay in bed and drink coffee. It’s okay to not be perfect all the time, to not be my fantasy self (she is a fantasy after all). It’s okay to fail as long as I make a note and course correct. And then there are the days I succeed – the days I align who I am with who I want to be – even if it’s only one moment at a time.
Sooo…somewhere along the line my days got messed up and I’ve been numbering everything wrong for the past month. Typical, but that’s okay because I just googled how many days it’s been since July 23 and the answer is 31. Back on track! (Hopefully)
I’ve decided to do monthly check-ins to see how I’m progressing in the long term and where I can improve! TO THE EXCEL DOC!
Okay, it’s a screen shot of the excel doc. Now let’s revisit my goals in Day One.
- Become a Novelist – The righthand column with the bunch of “Yeses” are every day in the past month (plus some) that I’ve written. Sometimes it’s only a few minutes, and sometimes it’s much longer, but the important thing is that I work towards what I want every single day. I’m not there yet, but now I can see patterns in my behavior. Weekends seem to be tough for me to write some reason. I know 8/5-8/7 and 8/15-8/20 were the days I was dog sitting. And the end of July was when I got sucked into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Still, I think I’ve written more consistently since I started this project and that’s a win. Hopefully next month it’ll be a row of green.
- Ballet! – I took a few months off of Ballet and I’ve just gone back. I’ve also tried to take up yoga, which I’ve gone to a few times and pop physique (groupon!), which I haven’t managed to go to yet. I’ve made a little progress in that I’ve started going to something once a week, but I really do need to go more and hopefully once I make it part of my routine, I’ll be more green and less red.
- Promotion – No movement on this front, but I didn’t think things would happen in a month, so I’m content to wait. I should ask for more opportunities at work to learn new things so I can be a good candidate when the time comes.
- Credit Card debt – Still chugging away on this one, but I’ve been set back a bit because I had to buy a few flights. Next month I hope to make a serious dent in it, but it looks like it’s going to take longer than expected. (As many things do.)
- In a relationship – Nada on this front too. Although I did try a few new activities and met some new people. Who knows what the future holds there? 🙂
So that’s my monthly check in. I’m doing better overall than I was a month ago, but I still have a long ways to go and need to put some serious work in.
I don’t really take much stock in astrology, but I like the idea of turning points and today is apparently a big one. I think big events that don’t happen very often have a way of making us reflect on where we are in life. New Year’s Eve, Big Birthdays and Historic Events whether human or celestial. They make us think about where we were in the past and where we want to go in the future.
Clearly I’m already thinking about what I want to be next year or even next month or even tomorrow. But the next Eclipse in North America is happening in 2024 – seven years from now. I put it on my calendar. And I’m wondering where I’ll be then. Will I be married with a kid on the way? In a different city? In a different country? Or will I still be in the same place I am now? Will I still be in my same apartment? Will I still be working for the same company? Will I be happy or will I be thinking how I wished I would have changed the way I lived seven years ago during the last eclipse?
It makes us think in the long term, whether in months or years or decades. It’s so easy to get mired in the everyday aspects of life: getting to work on time and eating right and exercising. But I think it is so, so important to think about where you’re going and to take small (and large) steps to get you there. After all, do you really want to be the same person seven years from now? And what are you doing to get you where you want to go?
Still dog sitting. She is lovely and it’s nice having the ever loving, ever forgiving presence of a dog in my life. But my goodness, she is A LOT of work. She is adorable and sweet and ALWAYS WANTS TO PLAY. Our schedule is as follows:
6 AM – A walk in the morning after she shoves her wet nose in my face. (At least half an hour.)
6:45 AM – Coffee for me. Breakfast for her, which she does not eat and picks at through the day. -_-
8:30 AM – Quick walk to pee before I go to work. (10-15 minutes around the block. Depends on how fast I feel like walking.)
6 PM – Long walk to burn off all that energy from sleeping all day (30 minutes) OR a quick walk and then an hour long trip to the dog park.
7:30 PM – Time to eat.
8:30 PM – TIME TO PLAY. GOSH I’M SO EXCITED YOU’RE HOME. TIME TO PLAYYYYYYYY.
9:30 PM – Another long walk (30 minutes) And bed.
I barely have time to do much else besides take care of her. I’m rather glad she’s going back home this weekend, although I’m sure I’ll miss her when she’s gone. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.
If nothing else, I’ve realized how much time I have on my hands and how much of it I spend puttering around not working on the things I want to be working on. (Plus I get many, many steps in.) And now it’s almost time for our last long walk of the day before we head to bed.
So back on track! Still dog sitting and still tired, but I’m back on track for now. And I’m sure I’ll miss a day tomorrow or next week, but for now I am here and I am writing.
And that’s pretty much the secret to my editing success. Originally I would set a timer for one minute and then write, write, write and then after sixty seconds I was done. You really can do anything for a minute. While it was tempting to do more than one minute, I get easily deterred and discouraged if I did half an hour the day before, but couldn’t manage it the next day. But I can do one minute every day – squeeze it in before I go to work, while I’m cooking or right before I go to bed. Easy peasy. And then suddenly you have a habit.
I’ve slowly been upping the amount of time I edit, so at the moment I’m at seven minutes. It doesn’t seem like a lot (and it’s not really), but something is better than nothing. I’m chipping away at the pages of my book slowly, but surely – one minute at a time.
Gah! I meant to blog, but then I kept forgetting! Dog sitting again has thrown off my whole schedule. It’s not that it’s hard…it’s just that she’s a high energy dog and takes up huge chunks of time, which I normally devote to other things. I am getting my 10,000 steps though!
Other good news is I did go to yoga today! I’m tired and it’s getting to be my bedtime, so I think I’ll have to share my writing tip another day. (Hopefully tomorrow…)