All posts by Joy

The Horrors of Shopping this Season

I support women having the OPTION to purchase trendy items, but when every single professional clothing section (especially my go-to of Nordstrom) has their standard nice work clothes destroyed by the the following trends:

  • Ruffles
  • Bell Sleeves
  • Fringe
  • Oversized Everything!
  • Flood Pants

Ok, so the Velvet trend can be acceptable, but not in its current incarnation paired with the requirement that the velvet garment also have giant sleeves. No, no and no again.

With this new job, I figured I’d treat myself to some new professional-looking clothes. I didn’t want to spend a fortune, but I figured 3 basic outfits that look nice would do. Maybe that would cost me about $600-$800, not cheap, but not as much as the ONLY THING I COULD FIND THAT WAS NOT HORRIFICALLY UGLY… a $300 Theory shirt that was beautiful, but, $300. F that.

Ok, so I moved on to another store. Anne Taylor. The bell sleeves and on-trend everything was a bit more reserved, but still quite present. I couldn’t bare to try on any more clothes that made this 5’3 curvy figure look like a literal clown. I went home, defeated. I thought – at least I returned $500 worth of items and didn’t spend ANYTHING, so there’s that. Do you KNOW how bad the fashion has to be for me to leave the mall EMPTY HANDED? Yea, it’s that bad.

Ladies – where do you buy your work clothes?

I have a bit of a conundrum as working in Silicon Valley in a business-side role, I can’t overdress, but I can’t underdress either. Quite frankly, I have no idea what to wear. I used to love shopping, but not any more. I need help. This is important because I need to look executive without trying to hard to try to look like an exec since I’m not one. I recall the one female VP I met with (who is, of course, amazingly skinny), wore skinny jeans with a nice blazer. It looked effortless. But I feel underdressed in jeans. I used to wear dresses to my last job, but I always feel silly in dresses and fat since anything that covers my stomach doesn’t look professional… so spanx and tight-enough-to-show-my-PCOS-belly sheath dresses it is.

It’s not the end of the world, but the reality is my inability to figure out what to wear every morning, and feeling ugly in what I put on, doesn’t help in my getting to work on time or feeling confident to do the job I was hired to do. I want to look great and feel great. Is that so much to ask?

Facing the costs of IVF… how are we going to afford this?

Yes, I can sell a bunch of stock to try to have a baby. I’d prefer not to. I’d prefer to keep that money for all the costs that come after having a baby and maybe one day buying a house. But, instead, I’m looking at $40,000+ for a chance at having a child. Even for someone like myself who has managed to save $500k, that’s a lot of money.

The clinic I went to today has high reviews, and equally importantly, is located close to my apartment and has appointments at 6:30am so working women don’t have to miss hours on the job in order to go through IVF and FET. I didn’t love the clinic to be honest – the doctor seemed good, but the other people there were a bit off… but at this point, I have to consider location and ability to have early morning appointments above all else, except maybe cost.

IVF fees are confusing, even when the clinics try to make them straightforward. And, the reality is, no matter what the fees are, there’s still only a 30%-40% chance each cycle will result in a live birth (give or take depending on age and other factors.) So, besides spending tens of thousands of dollars, you’re also confronted with the reality that you may end up with no child in the end. How much will you spend before you give up?

Few states cover any IVF fees. California is not one of them. So, we have to come up with $40k out of pocket to do this. Before we do that, we still have the option of doing timed intercourse with ovarian stimulation and trigger shot ($1000 a month) or IUI ($2200 / month), which may work, and will be a heck of a lot cheaper than IVF. But it also has a much lower chance of working than IVF, and $1000 a month isn’t pennies after a year of trying.

The one really good thing about IVF (at this clinic anyway) is that they have a model where you can bank extra embryos in advance for your second child. This is important to me because I will be over 35 when I have my second child (probably closer to 40 at this rate) and at least then if I have embryos banked it will “only” cost about $10k for a round to transfer them… not cheap, but cheaper than another $40k (as long as one of them sticks.)

I’m still in a bit of denial about the cost of all of this. I’ve never spent $40k on one anything in my life. The most I’ve spent on anything is $13k on my (used) car. It kind of goes against my entire principle of saving to spend $40k on ANYTHING. I also, deep down, still believe that this should happen for free. I mean, my body doesn’t want it to, and I’m going to be 34 in two months (crazy) and I haven’t gotten pregnant yet… but maybe I can. Or maybe I should put more faith into the Femera cycles with timed intercourse and  a trigger shot. Maybe the $1000 a month after a few months will work and I can avoid the $40k IVF… at least this time. But if I avoid that now, I won’t be able to save my younger eggs… and then my chances of having a second child are very slim. Maybe I should just splurge on IVF as insurance for my future, bank my eggs, hopefully get pregnant in the first two cycles… it could work. It could work very well, who knows.

Or it could not work at all – with the exception of draining our bank accounts.

Quick Update: Personal Finance this Fall

Wow, it’s been too long since I’ve updated this blog. I’ve been heads down focused on finding a new job and figuring out my life, all while trying not too dip too much into my savings. Fortunately, it seems all as worked out, for now.

My net worth this month hit $509k, which feels really good given my goal for the year was $500k and I haven’t had a job since June (though that doesn’t feel good.) I’m finally getting caught up on all of my money issues (hired an accountant to do our 2016 taxes so those will be turned in on time…) and mostly have old medical bills reimbursed properly after my COBRA election turned into a bit of an administrative nightmare.

This is all really good because I’m starting a new job NEXT WEEK! That’s right, I finally have a new job. I am really trying to be optimistic about this opportunity because, while it isn’t the most exciting job I’ve had, it’s one I think I might actually be able to succeed in. Without going into too many details, it’s a role still in tech, but it’s in a larger company where I’ll get to focus on what I’m good at (writing, mostly) instead of trying to do way too much and running an entire department in a smaller company. I had a few offers for the “run it all” in a small company but I turned them down because I know that’s a recipe for disaster.

While this role was a considerable pay cut in base salary from my last few positions, it more than makes up for that in potential bonus and stock. I’m pretty stoked about the RSUs, since I’ve never had them and they actually are worth something if you stay at the company for a year – versus stock options where you have the privilege of buying them for “lower than their worth” (even though you can’t sell them and they’re really worth $0) and then paying taxes on what they’re supposedly worth based on a whole lot of lies (I’m not bitter. Am I bitter? Ok, I’m bitter.) Meanwhile, RSUs are basically a promise that you’ll be given a certain number of shares if you keep your job each year, and you can immediately sell those shares for cash. Yes, the taxes on RSUs are high, but they’re worth something – and if the company performs well they can be worth a lot. I’m very fortunate that the company I’m joining has a lot of room to grow, and seems to be in a really great spot, so all signs are pointing towards this being the right move.

As I’ve been out of work for four months, I’m REALLY ready to get back into the swing of things. The forced sabbatical has been nice, but it’s time to have a day job again. Consulting didn’t work out this time around — my one client couldn’t raise money and only gave me a small project, and I’m not great at drumming up business. Maybe one day in the future I’ll have a good enough reputation to land me projects with the full time security, but for now — my main focus is figuring out how to and if I can have kids, which means I need good health insurance, a stable income, and a role that doesn’t require me to be on a plane every week. And that’s what I’ve got. Woohoo. More on all of this later… but I wanted to check in since I haven’t written anything since August!

Why there aren’t more women in tech? Why the Google Manifesto matters.

While the day-to-day subtle and less-than-subtle sexism in the tech industry is something that usually doesn’t get national press, this month a Google employee’s manifesto — “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” —  about the supposed biological differences between men and women — had everyone talking about Silicon Valley and gender bias. Even Fox News got in on the action, will all the hubbub making manifesto author James Damore an insta-star of conservatives everywhere.

If you’ve been living under a rock, or think that companies don’t care about corporate liability after an employee writes a literal manifesto about why men are better than woman at certain things, you may not know that (or understand why) Damore was fired from Google. He was. And he isn’t going down without a fight… Continue reading

Annuities are FUCKED UP… aren’t they?

As the resident personal financial advisor for my family (despite that I have no idea what I’m talking about half the time), I’ve jumped into understanding my parent’s financial situation (the good the bad and the ugly) as I will have to help my mother manage her finances for the rest of her her life once my father is gone. He may live longer than her but she is relatively healthy right now and he has terminal cancer, so it’s likely I will be the only person able to really help ensure her quality of life since she understands zilch about money.

My parents are doing ok financially – not great – not as good as they should be doing given how much my father earned throughout his life — but they overspent and now they’re left with about $300k in retirement funds and $400k in real estate, give or take a few hundred thousand since I can’t get a straight answer from my father (who unfortunately doesn’t like to talk about this stuff because his go-to answer about any important financial question longer than a few years out int he future is ‘i’ll be dead then’). Continue reading

Still unemployed… Still not sure WTF to do with my life.

The further away from my last day of work I get, the easier it is to romanticize the role in it’s high-paid, occasional feeling of mass victory glory. But then I remember just how miserable the job – the career – made me, and I’m desperate not to go back to it, despite the lure of a substantial amount of recruiters knocking on my doorstep, basically asking me to let history repeat itself yet again.

As I take this pause in my career to dissect what I like and dislike about my prior roles, I know that I find it very difficult to put 100% daily into a job where the majority of my waking hours are dedicated to trying to get people to buy software for their businesses that helps those businesses run more efficiently. I enjoy this in spurts — I do believe in efficiency and find it rewarding to help people stuck in old ways break free of traditional processes and technologies and move to better ways of doing things, especially if these better ways impact lots of people. It’s just at the end of the day (or even about 2 minutes after I wake up) I feel this heaviness of dread — knowing that there is so much more to be done to make the world better than improving business processes. Continue reading

I spent $2000 for a week at fat camp…

Did I really volunteer (pay $2000 to) work out 5+ hours a day and wake up at the crack of dawn six days in a row? I asked myself that quite a few times over the last week while I was doing my nth set of reps or sprints at the weightloss resort my friend and I had spur-of-the-moment booked a trip to — how could one week of health-based torture hurt?

I really wasn’t sure what I had signed up for — would it be military-style “yelling in your face” bootcamp, or something a bit more gentle? Would everyone there be morbidly obese – and I, just “barely” obese, would be the fittest in the bunch, outpacing the others and not pushing myself hard enough to get any value out of the program?

It turns out that the program we picked had quite the mix of people – from those who were really already quite fit seeking to lose a few pounds to people who were well over healthy weight. Many guests, to my surprise, were staying for multiple weeks — and quite a few were repeat visitors, which I saw both as a good thing (they liked the program enough to return) and a bad thing (they couldn’t stick to the healthy lifestyle on their own so they have to come back to the program again and again to lose weight.)

Even though I had quite a few qualms about the program, overall I think it was a very positive and worthwhile experience. My husband thought I was a nut to spend $2000 on a week weightloss program because you can’t actually significantly change your weight in a week. I know that. It took me six months to lose 40 pounds and six to put it all back on. But one can accomplish a lot in a week mentally. Sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone to break through places you’re stuck.

While all the exercise was helpful in getting me from barely-able-to-move to sprinting for two minutes at a time again in a very short while, what really impacted me was the nutritional element of the program. We were fed breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, which amounted to about 1200 calories per day, and were provided with snacks (take as much as you want) which were limited to hardboiled eggs, almonds, fruit, and a few other protein items. We were supposed to be eating about 1500 calories per day.

When I lost 40 pounds last year, I did eat about 1500 calories per day on average, plus exercised 3 times a week for 1 hour (not 5 hours 6 days a week.) However, my diet was very unhealthy. I felt sluggish and hungry all the time. In this program, the chef made meals that were perfectly balanced so that we’d feel full and not hungry before our next meal, despite all the working out. I supplemented with two hardboiled eggs for breakfast and a fruit, and a serving of peanut butter before going to bed if my stomach was growling. We were also allowed unlimited access to the salad bar which was not so impressive but it did teach the lesson that one should fill up with salad before eating to help eat enough nutrients and feel full. Lunch always was a tasty soup around 75-95 calories and a main dish. Dinner included a main dish and a desert. Breakfast was a protein, a carb and a fruit, with one serving of fat – such as eggs, a piece of sprouted toast, small dab of butter, and a few pieces of melon.

For someone who typically eats NOTHING *or* Half-a-loaf-of-bread for breakfast (with half a stick of butter) — it was a new experience to be eating a healthy balanced meal every day at 9am, especially after already having worked out for two hours on a challenging (to me) hike.

By eating balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day, I rarely got hungry, and I also discovered my mood to be much improved. It may just be that I was on vacation, or that the endorphins from suddenly exercising five hours per day were making me loopy – but I could feel my blood sugar remaining balanced, which really helped me not experience the depression dips that I’m used to (and I went off my starter zoloft for the week because I didn’t think I needed it.)

At the end of the week I lost 3.5lbs (1.6% body fat) and about 2 inches in my waist. I still have a long way to go to be healthy (I wasn’t really healthy last year when I was 140 pounds, nor am I healthy now at 173.) But I’m going to try REALLY HARD to stick to this food lifestyle and eat 3 balanced meals per day. No more binging. No more wasting calories on sugar that mucks up my emotions. I really feel like I’ve experienced a substantial change and I’m ready to see this through – the rest of my life. I don’t want to be one of the people returning to the program year after year (nor can I afford it.) I want to be my own success story.

Next Steps in This Unemployed Life + Starting on Zoloft

SSRIs are supposed to take many weeks to work, but I swear this very small dose is having more than a placebo effect on me. It’s helpful at the moment, given I was seriously depressed and now it’s like that spot of my brain is muted. It’s like it’s still there but I can’t access it… I’m not exactly happy either, but the deep sadness where I sit and cry all the tears out of my head also is gone. I guess I feel a bit numb emotionally. I don’t know if that’s a good thing long term, but short term a vacation from my emotions helps me focus on more rationally evaluating all the variables of my situation and hopefully makings some decisions that will positively impact the rest of my life.

I’ve found that obtaining interviews for specific types of roles is relatively easy, while getting considered for the roles I actually want is impossible. Funny enough the “easy” interviews are more senior roles. I don’t end up getting them, but I do get calls quickly as my experience seems relevant. I’m disappointed that all of the jobs I’m remotely qualified for are within the same 3 block radius in the city, which is that lovely 1.5-2 hr one-way commute from my home. I think that’s a bad idea – but I’m not sure long-term what else to do. Hubby and I discussed moving, but we really like our apartment, we like that it’s $2350/month with a washer+dryer and big living room and large bedroom and that it’s within walking distance from every major supermarket one would ever want to shop at. If we move to the city, to get anything remotely comparable it would be $3500, at least. We could move CLOSER to the city but that might put us further from public transportation, making the commute time about the same even though we’re closer..

I know that obtaining a job close to home is not the solution to all of my work problems. I HAD a job that was 20 minutes from my house and that didn’t go over well. I was still depressed, wasn’t confident in my responsibilities there, and would show up late because I dreaded going into the office. And, I’ve had good weeks in jobs that are far from my house, because I’m excited about the work and feel like I can do the job justice. So, location isn’t everything.

Still, given that I really want to focus the next year on having my first child — and the reality that I have to go to lots of doctor’s appointments for infertility treatment – I need to think about logistics. Right now my infertility clinic is actually IN the city — I’m planning to switch to one closer to my apartment (on their waiting list for early 2017) — I know I’m horrible at being consistent about anything but if I want kids (and I do want kids) I HAVE to focus on the infertility treatments, eating healthy, exercising, losing weight — this takes a lot of time and energy (and money), so thinking about having a 3-4 hour commute 5 days a week AND doing that AND knowing myself is something that doesn’t add up.

Are there jobs by my apartment? Well, there are large companies that aren’t far away. But they never call when I submit apps to them. They know better. They are looking for people who were really good at school – who are able to focus and study and work hard and who are ok doing the same thing over and over again even if the result of that work will never see the light of day. I do like small companies because I know the work I’m doing will be used and it will have an impact – and I like that no two days are the same. But I’d like to be able to work at a larger company — somehow. It would be good for my and my family’s future. And the commute situation. And small companies have PLENTY of cons/issues too.

I’m even struggling with my small freelance project at the moment. It’s a messaging exercise for a very young company. It’s not that it’s hard for me — I just find that either I’m in a state of mind where the creative juices are flowing and I can do work really fast (usually, unfortunately, at 3am) or I just can’t do work. It’s not like I’m writing the next great American novel, I still need to channel a certain kind of creativity that comes and goes to do the work. When I find it, I can be VERY productive. My clients seem happy with the work thus far – but I have to turn around the next rev of the assignment today and I’m currently blanking. I’m writing this blog hoping to quite my mind and get the writing juices flowing. Hoping it will help.

But this issue is a microcosm of what happens in a full-time job. At least with this project I am able to spend a huge chunk of time sitting at a cafe, writing a blog post to clear my mind, feeling the warm breezes and sun on my back. In a full-time job, you don’t have hours upon hours to take mental breaks… nor are you able to do your work at 3am and wake up at 9-10am.

All of this leads me to the very serious question of – why the fuck do I want to have kids? It may be biological, or that i’ve been conditioned to think kids are the most important thing in life. I don’t know. I know that if I don’t have kids, I’ll regret it. I also know all signs point to me being the type of person who should NOT have children. Kids aren’t a job you can quit or get fired from. If I can’t handle maintaining a job, eating healthy and exercising without any other responsibilities, how on earth can I add to that being a mother?

On the other hand, I’ve saved $500,000, and I am in a pretty good place in terms of being mentally grown up. In the world, lots of women become mothers when they are in significant debt — or when they’re still basically kids themselves. There’s nothing wrong with any of that either (if it works for them and it’s what they want), but there are some good things I have going for me on this journey to parenthood. And I have a husband who will be a great father and who loves children and who will gladly take over the childcare when I need a break, especially when the kids are young.

I don’t see us being able to stay in this area and have a family… maybe for a few years, but not long term. Right now, even if I manage to get pregnant by early 2017, I won’t have a child until end of 2017, a year from now. Then – while it’s not ideal – we can definitely stay in our 1 bedroom apartment for 1-2 years with one child. So – that’s at least 2-3 years when we can stay where we are. Maybe that’s 2-3 years of staying where we are and commuting 3 hours a day while having young kids — not sure how that works, but people do it. So maybe I have to do it. Maybe the missing ingredient has been SSRIs. Maybe this medication will do wonders and I’ll be able to wake up on time and calm down and get my work done and have a child and be a good mom. Hey, it’s wishful thinking, but perhaps it’s possible?

I do know I’m exhausted right now. I haven’t really adjusted back to the time zone after my trip and I’m not doing the best job of going to sleep at night or waking up in the morning. I can’t imagine being at an office right now! I am fine doing work, but I’m a hot mess.

Speaking of… I’m headed home to take a quick nap and hopefully find some energy to get this project done in the afternoon. I definitely wouldn’t be able to do that if I had a full time job.

Update on Life after hitting $500k and losing my job

My current psychologist is – interesting. She is unlike any psychologist I’ve had in the past and at this point I’m seeing her because she’s actually covered by my insurance at $25 a session and that’s not much more than the cost of a movie for pure entertainment value. I’ve only gone to three sessions with her thus far, but she is, in a very odd way, helping me work through my issues.

We are culturally very different – she’s an Indian who was a trained engineer, so she just approaches life quite differently. For instance, today when I shared that I was disciplined with a belt in my childhood, she mentioned that it’s normal for boys to be hit with a belt and not girls, and I stared at her and explained that I think that must be a cultural norm for Indians but not in the U.S…

Anyway, she has a very strange way of telling me how strong I am whenever I provide information about doing something in my life that isn’t wallowing in depression, and she always has her head slightly cocked to the side with a slight crazed gaze in her eyes, just a bit too intense in a room with high ceilings, bright white walls and two chairs. But I’m rolling with it… because I need help. Because I’m depressed and anxious and really unsure how to make life work.

I did have a pretty big breakthrough today – but she didn’t catch it or care. I said I had a drinking problem from 2001 to 2014. This is a pretty big deal as while I’ve admitted to drinking too much at parties and such before, I never fully admitted that I had an actual PROBLEM with alcohol, and for so long. This stemmed from her asking me the standard doctor question of “how many drinks do you have per week.” I answered, in my typical I don’t know how to answer that question fashion, that it’s either 0 or — too many on one night. I haven’t gotten that drunk in a while, not head spinning pass out drunk, so when I mentioned that I occasionally have one class of whiskey at night to go to sleep she seemed concerned (despite that this is much healthier than the once a week social binges that ultimately caused my DUI) — anyway, it felt good to say that I had a problem, to admit to this, and to really feel like I’ve distanced myself from this problem despite partaking in social drinking on occasion. Maybe I’ve just grown up. A little bit.

While I’ve grown up in some aspects of my life, I haven’t in others. I’m not sure what to do about this job situation, per the usual, but now that I’m back from my trip and looking at my bank account, I am tempted to jump into something with a consistent paycheck. I have one freelance project that may turn into something ongoing, but that’s still not enough to cover the cost of life – rent, food, health insurance, etc,  and having a child. There are recruiters reaching out to me about jobs in a position I’m qualified for on paper but don’t want to fill, and there are jobs I apply to that I don’t hear back from because I’m not qualified for them at all, at least on paper. It’s frustrating.

The best scenario would be that I build my freelance business quickly enough that it makes sense to be self employed for good, or at least long enough to gain experience in the areas where I actually want a full time job. But it’s also hard to turn down offers that pay $150k-$200k when I’m currently making $20k on unemployment and less than that if I start consulting, lose unemployment benefits, and it doesn’t work out. I can sell stock if needed, but I really don’t want to dig into my net worth if I don’t have to. I’m not in a financial crisis or anything, but the goal is to not cause one later in life when I’ve worked so hard to build a cushion.

I’m figuring I’ll have a full time job by October OR I’ll have 2-3 ongoing freelance clients that are happy with my work. Otherwise, I’m going to be in trouble. People tell me that I should just enjoy my time off but I have a hard time doing that.

Island Hopping in the Seto Sea and Trying to Find Peace

I haven’t traveled alone a lot thus far in my life. After my trip with a friend to Thailand half-a-decade ago I stayed on for a few more days, got food poisoning in Bangkok the morning of my flight to Singapore, managed to make it to my flight and wander around Singapore solo for a few days before traveling back to the States. That was a lonely excursion and it was only a few days solo, but I did enjoy seeing Singapore and it was easy-ish since everyone spoke English.

Japan has been different because English is definitely not common here. I knew Japanese would be the primary language, obviously, but I thought there’d be more English speakers. It’s actually quite strange how the country seems to be obsessed with American / English-speaking culture, yet few can speak the language. Case in point, in most hotels and spas, there is English jazz music playing… but no one understands what the singers are saying. Even many shops have their signs written in English… one wonders if the people who work in the shop have any idea what the sign says…

The good thing about Japan is that the train system is so easy to navigate. I heard this from friends who have been in the past but I didn’t really believe them. Japan has a crazy amount of train lines and for international visitors you can get a 7, 14 or 21 day “all you can eat” pass which (in my 14 day version) I’ve certainly been putting to good use. The pass doesn’t cover all the trains, but an app makes it easy to figure out which trains can be ridden between one destination and the next. There are local trains – which are subway style – and then there are long-distance trains which range from fast to super duper fast (the super duper duper fast trains are not included in the pass.) The train I’m on right now is going 170 MPH…

Most people on their first trip to Japan do the Tokyo-Kyoto loop, some adding in Hiroshima (which is south of Kyoto). My trip has been Tokyo-Kyoto/Osaka-Hiroshima-Kyoto-Naoshima-Hakone (extra fee)-???-Tokyo. I considered heading down to the south island to visit Nagasaki and get out of the normal tourist loop, but am glad I didn’t because they’re having crazy rains down there right now and bad flooding… so this worked out much better.

I’m spending too much on this trip– I don’t even want to add it up at this point — but I also acknowledge that once I have kids (and, hopefully, another full-time job) I won’t be able to travel like this. Even with PTO, I would never relax and enjoy traveling if I had a job to go back to. It’s unfortunate but true – I can’t NOT think about my job. So – traveling when I don’t have a job is something I can’t take for granted at all, even if it sucks that I have to pay for health insurance and such being gainfully unemployed.

The trip was extra expensive because I – probably in bad judgement – decided to offer my sister a free trip to Japan as a belated college graduation gift (I had promised her I’d take her to hawaii if she graduated college, which then turned into Japan somehow). The trip in total is probably about $7000-$8000 not including “free” flights w/ points (I’ll do a final tally once it’s over)… with my husband’s portion around $2000 so I’ve spend $5k-ish total on the trip. Was it worth it? (Is it?)  Yes, definitely. There are a few over-spends where I see I could have saved cash but overall, for 24-day trip it’s not so bad. Without stays at a few fancy traditional-style inns (Ryokans) and spurges on dining (A5 Wagyu was worth it) I could have cut out $2k probably, but – YOLO. Right? I said it. YOLO.

Hubby and I are still planning on going on our ACTUAL honeymoon in September… to New Zealand… and I’m itching to also explore Australia while we’re in the down under parts… but I’m not sure I want to do another 3+ week trip. Husband definitely doesn’t, he maxes out his travel acceptance at two weeks… and since it’s our honeymoon, I think it would be nice for us to fly there and come back together. Bummed we can’t stop in Fiji but Zika is still prevalent there and on the off chance that I can actually get pregnant I shouldn’t be getting myself Zika (Mosquitos love me so I doubt there would be any way to avoid them.) Supposedly there is no Zika in Japan… if there is, well, my bumpy, itchy legs are not a good sign.

I’m glad I’m getting to travel extensively now, it is helping me scratch that itch so I don’t feel like I’m locked up and away at work for the entirety of my healthy years. Even now at 33 and out of shape I’ve definitely noticed my body does not travel as well as it used to — my feet have taken a beating unfortunately. We had been walking about a half marathon a day for the first two weeks of our trip (from sitting on my ass all day) so I pretty much f’d up my feet badly. The last few days traveling solo I’ve been able to listen to my body a bit more… when I need a break, I take a break. When I need to take a bus, I take a bus. When I need to stay at my hotel for the night because I can’t move, I do it. I’m feeling much better.

Part of this trip, I hoped, was to lose some weight. I am really ashamed that I managed to gain back all the weight I lost and then some. I was at 182 at my highest and then got down to 170 fairly easily, but the 30 pounds I lost took a lot of dedication and hard work over six months… then I got depressed, started binging like crazy and was up to 184, unsure of how I went from 140 to 150 to 165 to 170 to 184… but I did, and I felt awful. With this trip only being 3 weeks, I realistically can only lose 6-9 pounds at most. I don’t think I’ve lost much, but I’ll be quite happy if I get back to the states and I’m under 170 (I was about 175 when I left on my trip.) If I can get to ~169 from Japan, I have the next month including a weightloss bootcamp I’m going to for a week, where I want to lose another 8lbs, getting me closer to 160 by mid August. I’d love to be back at 150 for my honeymoon (I was briefly at 140 but my wedding weight was 150 and I think that was a good place to be) … so I’m targeting 150-160 for mid September. Going to probably have to go Keto for Aug/Sept to make that happen… but it will be worth it. And maybe, with doing that, I can actually get pregnant… which will save a good $50,000+ in IVF fees when that probably won’t work anyway.

With so much going on, it’s good to be alone for a bit and slow down. It would probably be helpful to unplug but for better or worse this country has really good wifi and I have a rental device that has me more connected than I’d be back in the states. I’ve tried to put my phone down for a bit… and take it all in. I love seeing new landscapes and architecture, getting lost down random alleyways (as long as I feel safe, which I always do in Japan), and just embrace being a nobody in this world. Yes, I know a few random people who live in Japan but odds of running into them are quite slim. I’m anonymous here even though everyone sees me, as no one looks at me, no one notices, no one cares. And in forever terms that would be awful but for a week or two it’s kind of nice. I don’t have to worry about what I look like (as long as I’m culturally presentable) — if my hair is frizzy or my stomach is bulging out because I’m not wearing Spanx… no one cares. Despite my mother complaining that my digitally-shared photos don’t include enough Japanese people in the background for her friends to believe I’m in Japan when she reshapes the pics (face palm), I have no pressures here, no annoying parental voice that linger in my head despite my long departed youth, no worries other than getting to my hotels on time, not getting my things stolen, and not running out of cash.

I know the real world will be back soon enough… and I HAVE to figure out a model of real world that works for me in perpetuity. It’s becoming more and more apparent that a career change is a necessity. It’s still hard to make the decision to leave a career that pays $150k-$250k annually for a job that may, especially to start, pay $60k-$100k and only see $150k in many, many years, if ever. But, I really want to have a family, I want to have time with my family, I want to be able to travel but I don’t need to travel luxuriously, and I’m almost ok with not being able to afford property and just to be a renter for the rest of my life. I’m trying so hard to take it one day at a time, and failing frequently, but getting closer to finding some sort calm admits the whirling storm of my ever-anxious mind.