Dream Life

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs

Recently I wrote about Dream Jobs. Today I’m going to write about your dream life. It’s a favorite topic of mine because I think everyone deserves to be able to live a dream life. Please note, NO ONE has a perfect life. Life is full of challenges and pivots and that’s okay because learning to respond to those is what makes us stronger.

I was looking back through some of my old posts and found this gem from 2017 where I had set some goals for my life in 5 years. Most of those goals have come to fruition.  My boys have both graduated college and working full-time and my car is paid off. Michael is living about 2 hours away but I’m able to visit him several times a year. I just took a vacation with Michael to D.C. and in a short few weeks I’ll be taking by dream vacation of a cruise. I’m living in a condo and technically now I have a room that can be dedicated as an office even though it’s not set up great yet. I also ended up changing jobs and although I really miss my old co-workers, this has been great for me career-wise and financially. Continue reading

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Finding Your Tribe

group of friends

Photo by Ashford Marx

How many of you have a tribe in your life? How many of you know what I’m talking about when I ask this? Your tribe are YOUR people! They’re the people you call when you have a crappy day or a great day. They’re the people who love your kids almost as much as you do. It’s the people that you’re just as comfortable laughing with as you are crying with. Your tribe is quite simply a support system!

My greatest fear when I lost my husband is that I wouldn’t be able to raise our boys by myself. Guess what? That was a legitimate fear. I have two awesome young men now and it’s because I had such a crazy, large, awesome tribe over the years. I certainly could never have raised them without the support of these people. Continue reading

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January…Out with the Old

Photo by Darina Belonogova

We’re a full week into 2023. How many of you have dumped your New Year’s Resolutions? Not me! I’m still excited about my 2023 goals. Several things to look forward to this year, including my first ever cruise. I set sail in 34 days and I’m super excited. I’ve also really turned a corner in my recovery from my foot surgery. The foot is looking and feeling good. I’m able to get out and about more independently now and it’s done wonders for my mental health.

So I said in my last post that I was thinking about doing some monthly challenges this year. 30-day challenges are great for a couple of reasons. Sometimes the things we really need to do are not the things we really want to do. 30 days is a finite amount of time and it’s not a crazy long time period so your odds of being able to complete the task are good, even if you lack some will power. 30 days is also a long enough time period to create a habit. Continue reading

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2023: New Year and New Goals

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

It’s 2023 and I’m excited. I love the New Year’s Holiday, it’s honestly my 2nd favorite holiday of the year. It would probably be bumped to the number one spot if it weren’t for the fact that I don’t generally get to spend it with my kids now that they’re grown. The idea of a new year and an opportunity to set new goals for the year is exciting to me.

Anyone that reads my blog knows I love setting goals and resolutions. It’s my thing. I know a lot of people think New Years resolutions are a waste of time (GASP!!). Okay, I guess if I’m being fair that’s a legitimate complaint since I read that 43% expect to fail at their goals by February and 25% quit on their resolutions the first week in January. Continue reading

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Surgery, Going Crazy, and a New Year

new years resolutions

Photo by Polina Kovalevahttps

Foot Surgery

So it’s been a little over 5 weeks since my foot surgery. My doctor made it very clear that I would be off my foot completely for around 6 weeks and limited weight for a few weeks after that. That wasn’t going to be fun but I was sure I could handle it. I would just rest a little more, read some extra books and catch up on my writing.

Guess what? I totally underestimated what a TERRIBLE patient I am.
I am not good at sitting around with my foot propped up. Not driving, and depending on other people to get me where I need to go is driving me crazy! Leaving my second floor condo means scooting down on my bottom. Getting back up the stairs is done on my knee. The simple task of taking a shower is another ordeal in itself since my foot is still wrapped up and can’t get wet. And I feel like a terrible mother because I don’t have enough Christmas presents for my boys because you know…online shopping sucks and I can’t drive to the store. Sigh! Continue reading

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10 Frugal Ways for Self Care

Self Care

Photo by Natasha Fernandez

Self care is something that I’ve discovered is sooo important and yet something that we (especially women and moms I think) tend to neglect. I don’t think I’m the only one that finds myself running around like a crazy woman between my job and running a household, and trying to have some semblance of a life. Living life this way can create some serious burnout. I can go a thousand miles an hour for just so long before I find myself snapping at people and often ending up semi-sick.

Okay, so we know self-care is important but maybe you’re thinking, I don’t have the time or money to spend on myself. Or maybe you’re thinking it’s selfish to spend time and money on yourself. Well guess what, it’s not selfish and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 10 frugal ways I practice frugal self-care. Continue reading

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Dream Jobs

 

What’s your dream job?

I’m going to take a guess here and say something pops into your mind fairly quickly when I ask this. I’m also going to guess that very few people will say their current occupation is their dream job.

What’s my dream job? Glad you asked. My dream job is to be a paid author/writer. I’m halfway there…I just need to keep plugging away until I get to the paid status.

What Is Your Dream Job?

What if you don’t know what your dream job is? Let me ask you this, if you hit the lottery tomorrow and making money was not a factor, what would you like to do day in and day out as a profession?

Writing is my passion. I spend a lot of time doing it even though it’s only made me $200 so far. Truthfully, I know that I will always be a writer, even if I don’t ever finish my novel, or find someone to publish it when I do. I write because I need to write. Obviously, I would love to be a famous author one day but until that day I will continue to write for myself and my 28 or so readers on this little blog (thanks to all 28 of you! LOL!)

What do you love doing? Landscaping? Decorating homes? Coaching or teaching? Cooking? Public service?

What If I Don’t Have My Dream Job?

One of my sons told me the other day that most of his friends weren’t happy with their jobs. I know a few people that love what they do for a living but honestly, I know a few that are definitely not happy with their current work situations. 

First off, I’m not naïve enough to believe that we can all have perfect dream jobs. It’s called work for a reason, right? I do believe though, that no one needs to be miserable in their careers.

I’m 48 and I’ve been working since I was 15 and it’s amazing how the workforce has changed just in my 33 years of working. There is so much opportunity available today. It’s no longer an environment (for the most part) where you’re likely to work at one job/company for your whole life. In fact, some would argue that you’re probably going to advance much more quickly, both in experience and salary, by changing companies throughout your career.

Action Steps To Find That Dream Job

  • Figure out what you might want to do. Again, what would you like to do if money wasn’t a consideration?
  • Interested in a certain job or company? Reach out to your contacts and see if you can find a way to talk to someone in the position/company you’re interested in.
  • Do your research. Will you need further education for this position? Can you substitute experience for some education?
  • Quitting your job and jumping into something radically different might not be smart or even financially feasible.Can you take some baby steps though?

      Let’s say that your dream job is to open a restaurant. You could find a restaurant                    similar in the style to the one you want to own one day and get a part-time job there to        learn the ins and outs of restaurant work while you save up to get your own one day.

      My day job is a Treasurer for a small city. You’ll find me hunkered down somewhere            writing most weekends and some evenings though. Last year I even took a writing                sabbatical and splurged on a hotel room out of town for some hard-core writing time.

Don’t Settle in Life

My sons’ life experience thus far (thankfully) doesn’t match what mine was at their age. I was married at 22, quickly had two children, and became a widow at 25. It took me another 5 years to finish my accounting degree while working full time and being a single mom. I was so very fortunate to have family to help me out with my kids and occasional babysitting. I was also fortunate to find jobs that provided insurance and allowed me some flexibility in my work hours to attend my kids activities.

That being said, I regret not being brave enough to venture out of my safe, comfortable job for better opportunities. It was a huge leap of faith for me to leave my last employer. I loved my coworkers and was very comfortable with my work role after almost 12 years there. My current job kind of fell into my lap though and with the lure of some pretty fantastic benefits I accepted the offer. December will be my 4 year anniversary in my new position and although it’s sometimes crazy, especially with all the extra work Covid has created in the role, I’m glad I’m there. My salary has increased substantially and so has my skill set.

My current mission in life is to encourage my sons to take bigger leaps in their lives. They are hard workers and very smart. I just want them to be confident enough to not live their lives in safe mode like I did for far too long. Every position might not be your dream job but set yourself up for a dream life. Maybe that means finding the dream career and maybe it just means finding a good enough job that allows you the time and money to live your dream life outside of your working hours.

What’s your dream job? Are you happy with where you’re at now?

 

 

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Vacations, Surgery, and Money

cruise ship

Photo by Bruno Castelli

I feel like I have a pretty dull, predictable life most of the time. It’s a very simple life for the most part. I work (a lot!), have book club once a month, and have a core group of friends that I hang out with. I hang with my kids when they allow it, and that’s basically it. Oh yeah, and I take an annual trek for a day or two to a small amusement park a state over each summer and other than the occasional trip to visit my son one state over, that’s been it for a long time as far as any vacations per se. In fact, I had to do some research to see when the last time I took a “real” vacation was. 

I went to Cancun in October 2010 and February 2014 and Jamaica in September 2012. Those were very nice trips and my former company paid for those. I took a trip to a friend’s condo in June 2013 and took a trip with friends to South Carolina in July 2014. So yeah, it’s been 8 years since I’ve had a nice vacation.

Big Plans-Good and Bad

That’s about to change. Covid cancelled a planned vacation to Washington D.C. in 2020 and thanks to a generous relative, she’s gifted those plane tickets to me and Michael since she can’t use them. That trip we’re going to attempt to take at the end of October since they have to be used quickly. 

I also have a cruise that I will be going on in mid-February 2023. This was also a postponed/rescheduled trip due to Covid. 

Oh, and did I mention that somewhere between those two trips and a super busy time at work, I will probably need bunion surgery that is going to greatly limit my mobility for a few months. Just typing bunion surgery makes me feel like an old lady. I live in a second-floor condo and, more importantly, I am not the type of person that can sit around my house immobile for very long (like 2 hours or more…lol), so this is going to be quite the challenge.

So, 2 trips scheduled and an unexpected surgery that is all happening within 6 months. That’s going to be pricey but I certainly can’t turn down these opportunities and unfortunately the foot issue needs to be addressed so it’s time to go on budget lockdown and come up with this money so I can have a fabulous time and not have to worry about money considerations with the trips. 4-6 weeks with no weight on my foot and another 2-4 weeks with limited weight will not be fabulous but at least I can console myself with books after I figure out my out-of-pocket insurance costs.

First Things First

Good news is that I have the main costs of the cruise outlined. Plane tickets have already been purchased, cruise ticket due by end of November, and our drink package has to be paid before we board the cruise. Also have to renew my passport (ugh, more $$). Oh yeah, and splitting one night in a hotel and then that trip is pretty much paid for.

Plane tickets for our D.C. trip have generously been covered. We hope to stay somewhere in the middle of everything so we can walk or take public transportation there. From what I understand, a lot of the spots we want to hit there are free. So, hotel and food will be our biggest expenses to watch.

I’ve already had some medical expenses this year that I’ve incurred. Assuming I can fit this surgery in before December 31st, I think the most I’ll have to come up with to meet my out-0f-pocket expenses on my health plan is $800.

Also have Christmas, several birthday gifts, and 2 baby shower gifts here but luckily I am a fantabulous budget shopper so not too worried about these. 

Budget Lock-down Begins

Now I have a general idea of the money I need to come up with over the next 6 months. It’s a good chunk of money for me but it’s “time to take the trips” as my friend says.

Here are some of my plans for coming up with the money I need:

  • I was already paying $85 a month towards some interest-free financing on some expensive car repairs I had done last year. Just paid that off last week so I’m going to throw that in my vacation fund now since the amount is already in my budget
  • Keep earning and use my various rewards. I have one cash back credit card with my bank.  I also do various survey and rewards type programs that pay out in cash or gift cards (Shopkick, Receipt Hog, Ibotta, and Surveys). Currently I have $588 saved up between those. 
  • Earmark my expenses that I get back from work. I get reimbursed for mileage at work. That adds up in the summer months when I’m handling our pool stuff and making daily cash deposits at our bank. I’ll have one more decent check there and I’m going to dump that into my vacation fund.
  • Sell anything I don’t need. I have a few books I know I can sell. I may try to flip a few items again, haven’t done that for awhile.
  • Reduce my variable expense categories on my budget (Groceries, gas, entertainment, and restaurants).
  • More free activities until our trips. Library, hang out with friends, catch up on some tv shows, bookstore browsing, etc.
  • Worst case scenario, I’ll dip into the emergency funds and pay them back ASAP with any tax refund.  I  really think this is manageable though and that won’t be necessary.

It would definitely be nice if I could have spread these things out a bit more but I’m definitely going to make this work. Plus, the cruise is an early birthday trip for myself. I’ve been working hard these past few years and it’s time to slow down a bit. Plus, the oldest man-child definitely needs a vacation. The youngest man-child had 2 big trips this year already so don’t feel sorry for him, lol. 

Bonus: A cruise has long been on my bucket list.

Anything special that you’re saving up for?

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Slowing Down-Whether You Like It Or Not

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

I’ve always been a person who has trouble slowing down. I seem to thrive with a busy to-do list. Part of my issue I think is that there’s so much I want to do in life. I need to work lots of hours, I want to write my blog, I want to write my novel, I want to work out 5 times a week and read all the books and of course, I’ve got to make time to hang out with family and friends. Guess what? There’s not enough hours in the day or week to do this but I sure give it my best shot each week. I wrote a little about this 2 1/2 years ago on this blog, you can read that here, so this obviously isn’t a new issue with me.

This past week I woke up at 2:30am in the morning not feeling well at all. It was a little scary. I debated for about an hour on whether I should head to the ER and since I’d just had a physical that included lots of bloodwork that was fine a few weeks earlier, I decided to just go back to sleep and see how I felt in the morning. Still didn’t feel great when I woke up so after some prompting from a friend and my son, I decided to take the day off and head to the ER. 5 hours and 2 blood draws, and 2 EKG’s later they released me with instructions to follow up with my primary doctor to get a stress test done. Moral of the story…sometimes if you refuse to slow down, your body will make you. Continue reading

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A Lottery Ticket and a Dream

Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy

The Mega Millions jackpot last night was 1.28 billion dollars. That’s right, I said Billion, not million. I can’t even imagine winning a million dollars, let alone a billion dollars but it’s fun to plop a few dollars down for a chance. Spoiler alert: We didn’t win.

I’ve done a couple of these blog posts in the past when the jackpots got big so I thought I would do another for tonight’s big drawing and then go back afterwards to see if time and age and circumstances have changed my thoughts on what I would do if I won big dollars. You can read my previous posts here and here and here if you would like to see what I wrote before. Continue reading

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