When I think about the last 12 months in our lives (mine and my partner's lives), I realize that I feel tired. Accomplished, but tired. I worked 6 days a week for the majority of the year. My partner worked full time all year, prepared taxes during tax season, had a few side gigs, and completed half of her Master's Degree. I know that she is tired too.
We had a huge checklist of items that we wished to accomplish by the end of June: a personal savings goal, a loan payoff goal, paid for a new roof, and saved for retirement. We got all of these items checked off the list. It was thrilling, but exhausting.
Now we have two months off. Well, technically, she is taking a class this summer, but neither of us are reporting to work. By the top of September, we will have established a new set of goals for the next 10-12 months. Until then, my goals are a bit different from what you might expect.
My space feels neglected, so we are doing a 30 Day De-Cluttering Challenge. I didn't create it; I've just modified one I've seen online. I'm not working extremely hard at it. I'm just doing one task per day, and recycling, donating, throwing away, anything that seems to make sense. As I see things come into order in my home, I notice that there is more clarity in my mind. I am very aware the physical clutter, clutters my mind. I don't tend to get rid of a ton of things at once, but I do like to selectively pare down periodically. Seeing a few things float out of my world makes me feel somehow lighter, just like eliminating my debt makes me feel lighter.
I have scheduled all of those appointments that I've neglected over the past nine months: doctor, dentist, DMV are all on my list. The appointments are all made and I'm checking them off one-by-one. I mean seriously, how can I rationalize being "on top of" every financial money move, but ignore my dental exam or the renewal of my license. While I don't enjoy most of these things, I do feel like my stress levels reduce greatly after I've completed them. Having things left hanging over my head causes me a lot of stress, and if I can cut that off at the pass, I will.
I am doing all of those "quiet things" that fill me up and make me feel good. I watch marathons of movies and old tv reruns of things that make me happy or feel inspired. I am sleeping in, meditating, exercising, cooking, getting a massage, and spending time outside. I try to do these things all year long, with somewhat patchy results.
Lastly, I am planning vacation. Sometimes, the anticipation of travel is part of enjoyable part of the experience. I am always careful to get a good deal, and not to spend any money that I don't have, but travel is honestly important to me. If I had credit card debt, I would not be going anywhere, but I haven't had credit card debt in a number of years. The major trip that is on the horizon for us, is to Stockholm, Sweden with a stopover in Reykjavik, Iceland. The idea of this vacation brings me so much joy. I also know that part of the satisfaction (for me) comes from knowing that it's all paid for in advance (with the exception of paying as we go for food and attractions). There are some smaller day trips and long weekends in the words as well. I am aware that I could save more money or pay something off by skipping the vacation. I'm not skipping it. I purposely worked this into our financial plan for the year.
Those of us who consider ourselves to be personal finance warriors can go months upon months without buying new clothing, or going out to dinner. We take great pleasure in seeing our financial worlds flourish. That being said, we need to make sure we are looking at our lives holistically. Don't be afraid to hit the reset button. My little "me break" isn't going to undo any of the great things I've accomplished. In fact, it will likely give me the fuel I need to go even further in the next year.
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