Have you heard of this man? I didn’t until just a couple weeks ago. My co-teacher and I have a number of similar tastes; one of which being our taste in music. After learning of my love of lofi hip hop and jazz (coupled with …
I think I speak for most of us when I say 2020 was supposed to be the year. The year of change and new beginnings and growth and self improvement.
And in a way this year certainly challenged the lot of us, didn’t it?
However, with every new plan to overcome came a whole new way to fall; eventually sending some of us into a vicious cycle of discomfort and ignorance.
I became uncomfortable with my surroundings, my diet, my relationships and lack of determination.
I found I was ignorant to my needs, personal boundaries, rate of growth and need for self care.
In other words, 2020 might not be exactly the year I had originally pictured, but I would be lying if I said nothing was coming of it.
It took months for me to figure out new routines, how to set boundaries and just myself overall. I don’t believe in waiting until the first of the month or Monday or the New Year to make a change. Besides, I always feel change move into my life during autumn the most. That being said, here are the changes I’m making or have made to bring me back to where I had planned to be.
For anybody who knows me or has seen me on IG or YouTube, you know I’m one scrawny, bony, chicken legged woman with noodle arms. But beyond being thin, I was never one to truly keep up with my health for long periods of time, sans one specific time in my life…
When I was a vegan.
I can still remember waking up during that time with a smile on my face. (Despite being nothing near a morning person.) My weight never fluctuated, but I was happier, glowing… After I found that my mother had been diagnosed with diabetes, the realness of my health came rushing back to me.
I made the decision to go back to that vegan diet; little by little so as to not be wasteful with the food I already have.
Besides turning in meat for veggies, I also wanted to make an effort to get more active. I have always had a love for weight lifting, but due to COVID and my asthma, I found it best to stay out of the gym. And since I couldn’t afford free weights, what’s a noodle arm woman to do?
I remember hearing a quote by Aileen from Lavendaire that changed my viewpoint: “Done is better than perfect.” I may not have a current gym membership or weights, but I do have a love for squats and hip thrusts. I do have resistance bands. Even if it isn’t at the level I envisioned, it’s something. That’s better than nothing.
It dawned on me recently that the reason fall was my favorite season as a kid was because that’s when we’d all get catalogues for the Scholastic Book Fair. I can still remember grabbing markers and pens and circling all the books I wanted to beg my mother for. Then when she’d finally order some (and more educational ones that she wanted me to have), I’d keep the catalogue just to look at the books.
Yeah, I was that kid.
But as I got older, though my love of books didn’t change, the way I spent my time did. For the past couple years I used to lean on the excuse that I just didn’t have enough time. I was “too busy”. Not only is that not true, but I have plenty of time! So what was happening?
I wasn’t making good use of my time.
It seems so simple or like common sense, but it still astounds me that I was able to fool myself fo so long. I used to truly and actually believe that I was busy and had so much to do. But when I look back at the fruit of my so called labor, what I have to show for it is pretty subpar at best.
With this new understanding, I’m making time to read again. And not just YA fiction (even though that’s my favorite genre. Bless Rainbow Rowell…) but finance books. Psychology books. Self help and decluttering and spiritual books. I want to be honest with my current self and make a better way for my future self.
I never truly understood the value of money or the importance of saving until I worked as a bill collector for an auto finance company. It was one of the best jobs I had to date, and I still even miss working there sometimes. There were so many opportunities for me to learn about the world and finances and how they coexisted.
That being said, I somehow came across things like minimalism and F.I.R.E and tiny houses and 4-hour work weeks that sparked something in me. I immediately became engrossed in my own finances and set on a journey to become financially free.
And then… COVID.
After getting sick and spending 2 weeks in the hole, I am now more on a journey to get back on track. I have since gone back to the basics starting over with Felicia’s Wallet to help me reorganize my budget.
It’s honestly not that bad and this woman makes it so simple and kinda fun. Her style of budgeting fits perfectly within a quote I’d read not too long ago that went something like, “I don’t budget because I can’t afford things. I do it so I can have freedom in getting things I want.”
Or something like that… If I find it again I’ll update this post.
Besides knowing where my money is going, I also kind of miss investing. Back with I was a bill collector, this was much easier. I had a great salary and a matching 401K. Now, while I don’t have as much as I once did, that doesn’t mean that I have to stop what was working for me in terms of saving money.
I started slow by reopening my app Stash to put in a couple dollars a week. What I love most is that you only ned $5 to invest. So many other accounts or CD’s or other will have pretty large limits that make you feel you need to save money just to invest. For people who aren’t savvy with investing, finances, retirement funds etc, I highly recommend putting at least $5 in Stash and going from there. To help get you started, you can click here and receive an extra $20! (But only until September 30, 2020)
I am unapologetically Christian. Will forever be.
However, I believe there are many ways to enhance one’s spiritual journey. While I may talk to God on the daily, I realized that my moments of silence, gratitude or just utter stillness are growing slimmer and slimmer. Some days it’s completely nonexistent.
This does not sit well with me.
Beforehand, I used to set up a little space in my bedroom and have a set time that I’d go to it to spend time with Him. But with a new kitten who suffers from separation anxiety, sometimes I don’t get to go to my little patio at exactly 6:30 am for 25 minutes. But if I go back to that mindset of done being better than perfect, this would mean that I am able to sit with Him at any time of day anywhere in my house. As long as I’m devoting that time to Him and Him alone, that’s what truly matters.
I also remember a time in which I would practice yoga just before going to bed. You can’t really tell by just looking at me, but I have scoliosis in my lower back and arthritis in my left shoulder. Because of this, some days are pretty painful, and I found that yoga is a pretty good way of relieving the stress in my body. But in doing yoga I also found that it’s an excellent way to relieve the stress in my mind and spirit.
My emotional health has never really been something I ever focused on; partially because I wasn’t all to sure of how.
After participating in a photo meet with some friends of mine, I didn’t just learn about new lighting techniques and how to not smudge your lipstick. I sat back and listened as the photographers and models talked about creativity, getting inspired and setting boundaries for themselves. Being an up and coming creative myself, it was an amazing opportunity for me to assess myself and the way I take care of myself emotionally.
Since then, I’ve been making creating new ways to practice setting boundaries with myself in regards to my art, family, friends and more.
Besides setting boundaries, I also went a step further and treated myself to something that made me feel good. I try to tell myself that I love being a practical woman; coupled with my love for keeping my finances in order, splurging nowadays usually means on something I can use for a long time.
So what’s the practical thing I splurged on?
Underwear. Oh yeah, adulting at it’s finest.
There’s something about matching, good quality underwear that makes me feel as though I can conquer the world, amiright ladies?
Even though 2020 is practically over, there are still a few more months left in it for me to practice these new rituals. This year came with a boatload of lessons, struggles, opportunities and challenges that really helped me create a better way of creating my best self.
I did not knowwhat ugly wasuntil I fell in lovewith a manwho looked like meand who loved womenwho did not looklike him. I did not knowwhat ugly wasuntil I foundmy love languagehas different accents;how affirmation sounds so close todestruction. I found uglyin black marketsand ethnic …
While I work during the day as a therapeutic preschool teacher, I often deliver groceries in my spare time. With school coming up, more grocery delivery drivers saturating the market and the second wave of COVID-19 just around the corner, the stores are often packed. I circled the parking lot a couple times before finally finding a very crooked spot far from the entrance. While the car on the left side of the space parked perfectly, the car to the right was horribly crooked. To make matters worse, the car in front of the space had pulled too far in. Desperate to get into the store and start the order, I parked the best I could and moved about my day.
When I had finally finished at the checkout line and made my way back to the parking lot, I stared in wonder at just how empty it was. I didn’t think I was in there for that long, but apparently it had been long enough for everyone else to call it a day and leave.
I made my way towards my car and paused. Attached to the windshield was a little white note flapping in the wind. I used to scroll through hilariously aggravated posts on Tumblr and YouTube in my youth; I knew exactly what it was before even reading it. I’m not sure what possessed me to pick it up and actually read it, so I had nobody but myself to be upset at when I greeted my spirit with words like, “Learn how to f*****g park. You b***h a** m*****f****r. :)”
Even though I knew what it was going to say before I plucked it from my car, I still felt heat rise into my chest and throat. I immediately thought of any petty thing I could do to make my point clear. Call the company that was printed on the notepad paper and demand to speak to whoever wrote such a disgraceful note and violently explain to them why my car looked like it was parked by a blindfolded, one legged, starving billygoat?
But then again, what good what it do me?
I knew what had happened. I knew how my car looked with and without the presence of multiple vehicles who also looked as if they were parked by a herd of billygoats. What was explaining going to actually do? What would calling a whole company to chew out a single employee do? I’d be just as petty as the guy who wrote the note in the first place!
What truly mattered was that I got my order done on time, I did my job, nobody was hurt and I did my best in every aspect of that adventure. Forcing someone else to learn about my perspective wasn’t going to make my life or theirs any easier. Someone either wants to understand or they don’t. And if they feel the latter, it simply isn’t my responsibility.
Nor is it yours.
Ever since I worked as a bill collector for an auto finance company, I’ve been extremely passionate about my finances. Coupled with my mother’s teachings of the importance of a savings account, I believed I had all the knowledge I needed. The concept of stashing …