Trying

Today’s swissmiss quote is so poignant for me right now. Sometimes I am too resigned for my own good. This year will be full of changes and I’d rather take them on bravely than my usual way of caution and worry.

The husband and I have tried to incorporate one new recipe a week into our usual dinner rotation. Yesterday we made Joy the Baker’s Sausage and Mushroom Risotto with the little sis. It turned out really well although spicier than my wimpiness usually takes it. Last week we made Smitten Kitchen’s Chana Masala. The week before we made Creamy Caprese Pasta. The change in routine definitely staves off the temptation I have to eat out. Plus there was this great moment where the husband was sauteing onions, the lil sis was watching the chicken stock simmer and I was pretending I knew how to chop mushrooms that I thought, This is exactly where I want to be.

Frugal Blog Burnout

After binge reading my go to personal finance (pf) sites, I generally feel a sense of reinvigoration to make course corrections, big or small, in my financial decisions. At the very least, I live vicariously through internet pf comrades that will soon or have already reached financial independence in their 30s and 40s.

These past few days have been different though. I’ve felt a worrying sense of ennui. I don’t want to retire to the woods. In fact, most outdoor activities lie somewhere at the bottom of my list of things to do for fun. Allergies to most trees, grass, pollen, dander and mosquitoes will do that. I don’t own a bike and haven’t ridden one since an unfortunate tumble in the fifth grade left me with a chin full of stitches and scratched up knees and hands.

Aside from the errant ksl purchase (my car, computer, and an old couch), I’ve never bought anything second hand. I am not an engineer nor a manager, mid level or otherwise. Neither is the husband. Our combined income is modest compared to the pf folks I’ve been reading. I once tried to ask for a raise and got so nervous I sabotaged myself and only received pitying looks from my supervisor.

The husband and I don’t own any rental properties nor do we feel inclined to do so in the future. We have never maxed out our 401ks. We break most of the things we try to fix ourselves. We are picky eaters and I can’t stand the taste of rolled oats. I don’t want to eat rice and beans for lunch every day. I like eating meat. I like eating out. I like consuming entertainment. I enjoy the occasional vacation to places far outside my zip code.

I like my new house and the pretty things in it. I would like to put more pretty things into it. I went this morning to a yoga studio of which I’ve maintained an almost 8 year patronage. I also got my eyebrows threaded and I buy fancy shampoo.

This listing feels incomplete but long enough. Confessing even a fraction of my excuses/complaints makes me feel a little better though. As I look through all of this whining, I am struck with one clear thought. I have a good life. I could keep at this pace, with these habits and be fine. The husband and I save around 40% of our net income. We have no revolving debt besides our mortgage. We both have secure jobs with adequate benefits and cheap commutes.

What I need to do to shake out of this funk is stop reading what everyone else is doing, and find what’s going to work for me. What do I want?

  • I want to be able to raise a family without being paralyzed with worry over money or spending too much of it.
  • I want to have more mindfulness in the activities I pursue and the decisions I make.
  • I want a financial safety net to help me be brave and overcome my more practical/realist/boring sensibilities.

I’m still working on it.

Review

strawberrycake

My persistent introspection tends to highlight my shortcomings over my achievements. Sometimes the days blur and time, or its passing, starts to feel monotone and flimsy. I write to remind myself. 2014 was a good year. It was a year of exciting changes. It was a year of promises and previews.

I became a homeowner. I turned 30. I convinced my husband to go on a diet with me where we pretended eating fish for 3 days straight and giving up sugar and bread wasn’t the total worst (okay, it wasn’t the total worst). I read some lovely books. I watched some lovely movies. I got a much needed Lauryn Hill do-over. I went to my first Comic Con. I visited Red Butte Garden for the first time. I made my first trifle. I baked muffins and corn bread and French bread and cookies.

I was assigned an actual grown up food assignment for family Christmas dinner that was not a veggie tray or chips. I celebrated six years with my husband. We expanded our portfolio and met most of our financial goals for the year. I tried to ignore all of the times I didn’t quite measure up to my expectations or the personal goals I set for myself. I tried to remember to breathe. I tried at least as often as I stood still. 2014 was a good year.

Matilda

I finished Matilda by Roald Dahl narrated by Kate Winslet (thanks, Mark!). Surprisingly, this was one of those classic books I never read as a kid. It’s too bad. I gravitated towards books about children, especially small girls that were weird or alone or otherwise misunderstood in some way. I read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time over a dozen times and admired Meg Murry. Likewise Jonas in Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

I guess I was the weird kid that held onto her ‘smart girl’ badge as tightly as she resented (and secretly disbelieved) it. I’ve been trying to come up with who I want to be in 2015, what I want to do or how I want to succeed. I’m struggling with the details.

Random from swiss miss, this is gorgeous and lovely: