I’ve started and set aside quite a few posts in the last few weeks. Life has been rather uneventful lately, introspective rather than busy. I’ve spent a lot of time on my balcony (it’s been a beautiful spring so far!), baking, being active, reading, and introspecting on life, not money. Surprisingly, this has provided little inspiration for blog posts.
A relationship ending closes a life chapter, but opens a new one. It helps one to re-think what one wants out of life, without thinking of someone else at the same time. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks thinking about what I want out of life. Financial goals have always been easy for me to come by. They’re easy to define, measure, chart, and feel a sense of accomplishment. But life goals? They’re a bit more wishy washy. They’re harder to measure and to define and you often can’t really chart them, though many of them probably go in a zig zag pattern. I’m at a point now where I feel like I can do almost anything money will buy, it’s just a matter of finding the time. It’s an interesting feeling.
I’m probably missing something, but these are the six quadrants I see to my happiness:
1) Home: Many people told me that I should spend my twenties renting since I don’t really know where life will take me. But for me, my home provides a real sense of contentment that renting wasn’t really giving me. It provides a sense of stability that helps cement me while I figure out the rest of my world. I absolutely hated my temporary place last year by the time I finally moved to the condo. This condo is probably the nicest place I have ever lived in. I feel fortunate every day that I am able to easily afford this place. I love my bedding. I love my bedroom, including the painted wall I color matched to my decorative pillow cases. I love my shower. I love my closets. I love my mirrors. I love the photos I’ve put up throughout the condo of my travels. I love having an office / guest bedroom. I love the windows in all the rooms. I love my balcony. I love my pantry and my kitchen sink and how easy it is to clean my stove. I love the entryway. My patio furniture is growing on me (it’s still pretty new!). I love my neighborhood. It really does feel like a neighborhood and it is quite walk-able. I do miss being a bit closer to work, but I like this area far more than anywhere closer to work. I love that I am paying less per month to own this place than I was to rent a place almost half the size. I don’t like my electricity bill. I will conquer it some day.
2) Fitness: Being single allows me to set my own schedule. The onset of summer provides a lot more flexibility in this as well. I’m still walking to/from work every day, which gives me ~25 miles/week of walking. I also am a huge fan of combining socializing and fitness, so I picked up another sport for the next few months. I like doing more than one sport each week – more variety for the mind and body, using different muscles. There is now enough time to run in the evening, but it’s hard to convince myself to go for a run when I’ve already walked 5 miles that day. Since I’m trying to maintain a certain number of miles of activity each day, I am trying to run on the other weekend day without the extra sport. It’s a bit of a juggling game, but the routine I’ve been developing so far has been rewarding.
3) Social: This is probably the hardest one for me while single. I’m rather introverted and work exhausts a lot of my available social energy. But there isn’t quite enough social in my life right now. So I need to find the energy each week to find people to hang out with each weekend day (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) for a few hours. The extra sport satisfies one of these, but I still need to fill the other two. That should satisfy my social needs.
4) Career: This one has been a strange up and down lately. I’m still evaluating whether this new job was the right move or not. I’m making a plan for what I want to do next and what I need to do to get there. This thing I’m contemplating, I’ve been debating doing for over three years now and I haven’t actually pulled the trigger yet. If I’m going to do it at some point, now while I’m single and not super interested in traveling is the time to do it!
I’m going to stockpile a bit of extra cash over the next few months in case I need some to help figure that out. This means that I won’t make any extra mortgage payments between now and late July/August. I’ll write about this if I end up deciding to spend some of the stockpile. If I don’t spend the stockpile, I’ll just throw it at the mortgage and not much harm done! (I will be making the mortgage payment from the original loan though, so a bit extra will be going to principal each month AND it’s on auto-pay so I don’t have to worry about paying the mortgage for a few months!!)
I’ve also been debating taking a few months off before starting my next job. My employer lets you take a leave of absence, though it does make many benefits-related things a bit complicated, I think it could be worth it to help reset.
5) Financial: I’ve never really been in a position to worry about money. I enjoy fidgeting with my finances because they’re something that do actually make sense to me, unlike life many days. I only added it on this list because someone told me how fortunate I am that I am figuring life out in my twenties with a steady job and no worries about money.
Oh and neat update: I no longer have to pay for my expensive birth control! Yay for my health insurance plan year resetting!
I’ve been doing well with tracking my spending. It really doesn’t take that much effort when I’m not spending very much time spending money! I was having this need to enter some spending every day even if I hadn’t spent anything, so I added a column for “No Spend Days” and enter the date there if I didn’t spend anything or have any automatic bills go through. That helped with the need to enter something! I’m also not checking my online banking nearly as often as I was since all my spending is funneled through credit cards now. Way easier and I’m actually loving the automatic payments, though I am checking that they do go through. (Comcast forgot about it the first month??)
6) Food: I’m not really a foodie. I included this category because food solves a lot of my problems: migraines, sadness, lack of motivation, grumpiness. I’ve been meal planning somewhat. For just me, it doesn’t take a lot of effort since a meal will last me another night or two of leftovers. So I’m really only planning 1-2 meals a week. This means way less dishes, way less cooking, and more time in the evenings than I had while in a relationship. I’m most of the way through the month and have only spent $80 (!!!!) on groceries. I still can’t believe that. Disclaimer: $20 of that may be fancy chocolate. This $80 number really doesn’t make any sense… I have to be missing a receipt somewhere.
I’ve also been baking more than I was. I’m getting away from the muffin mixes, trying out new recipes. Some are flopping – I think I’ll stick with the mix for cornbread – and others have been amazingly delicious. Everyone is always surprised by some of the things I make from scratch. My parents never used mixes for anything, so that has never been my first thought. I tried them for the muffin mixes to see which muffins I even liked with less barrier to entry.
A good relationship would improve the social quadrant, the food quadrant (me not having to do all the cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping, and dishes), the fitness quadrant (adding more social to it), the home quadrant (more social, especially on weekends), and the financial quadrant (some expenses shared, well if I was living with the person).
Notice that travel isn’t on this list. I don’t actually value travel all that much right now. I’m taking a big trip this fall, but I’m not planning any short trips since I don’t find that they’re usually worth the planning stress. I’ve done a TON of travel in the past, in my younger days (haha), and right now, I want to settle in a bit more.
Readers, when was the last time you looked at your happiness quadrants? How are things going for you?