2017 – how did you get here so quickly? Time continues to fly by, and although my bank account is looking healthier than it did a few years ago, I am still the same old person. 2017 already looks a bit shaky given our political climate (how on earth did Trump get elected president? So #unpresidented). Anyway, 2017, here are some things I want to accomplish in you — which sounds awkward but you are a year and therefore I’m not doing anything obscene by entering your cavernous orifices via January 1. Continue reading
This past week, from making the collage on how I see myself in therapy, to traveling through NY for work and experiencing a moment which must have somehow spiked my lips with the bitterness of passing time and sweetness of nostalgia, I’ve decided I need to focus on what I actually want to get out of life. If I don’t have a series of constantly moving goals in life, I know I drop into a depression, but that isn’t good reason to chase after goals, which mean little to me.
- Sell my artwork to someone I don’t know
- Finish writing a 200+ page novel
- Ok, start a 200+ page novel
- Live in New York City for a year
- Spend a month in Italy
- Take a cruise to Alaska
- Go on a safari in Africa
- Feel healthy (physically)
- Feel healthy (mentally)
- Write one good song
- Write a play… that is performed in New York City
- Find my true singing voice (i.e. learn how to breathe)
- Figure out how to sing the right notes all the time
- Get cast in the lead role in a show specifically for my voice
- Learn how to cook meat and vegetables perfectly
- Have a group of friends to travel with
- Have my artwork shown in a recognized gallery
- Grow old gracefully
- Share my passion for honesty with the world
- Make people laugh. Everyday.
- Own one dress that makes me feel like a million bucks.
- Have somewhere to wear that dress that isn’t a Halloween party.
- Spend a week in Japan, a week in China, and a week in South Korea
- Help others get more confident managing their finances
- Develop and nurture a strong extended family
- Regularly volunteer and help others
- Run a mile without feeling winded
- Have my artwork appear in a national magazine
- Write a second novel.
- Perform stand-up comedy.
- Spend one week a year at some tropical beach.
- Read 12 fiction books per year, minimum.
- Hit $1M in networth at 40
- Quit my FT day job when I hit $1M networth at 40
- Spend way more time with my sister. Visit her 4+ times a year
- Have a too-hilarious tweet be tweeted by a verified twitter user
- Write blogs about the meaning of humanity that people enjoy reading
- Sing in a choir again. Travel through Europe with said choir.
- Learn how to tap dance
- Learn how to play the piano
- Learn how to play the piano and get good at it
- Get really good at giving speeches
- Stop caring what others think about me
- Cut processed sugar out of my life
- Get serious with my photography
- Have my photography displayed in a gallery
- Dance like nobody’s watching, even though they are
- Design a product’s UI
- Visit Yellowstone National Park
- Visit Maine
- Write an album of songs
- Have a kid or two.
- Teach them to love themselves
- Teach them to speak up for what they feel is right
- Teach them that adults don’t know what is right any more then they do
- Learn how to oil paint really well
- Draw the human form realistically
- Learn how to use a professional film camera
- See the northern lights
- Do one pull up. No, seriously.
- Perform at an open mic
- Keep a clean, organized, decluttered home.
- Learn to be happy with what I have, instead of wanting more.
- Be respected for what I have to uniquely contribute
- Have perfectly sculpted eyebrows
- Have a bikini-worthy stomach
- Fit a size 6
- Drive a Tesla
- Have a threesome, or a foursome. (I didn’t realize this was #69 until after I wrote that. I swear.)
- Or at least write some seriously hot erotica about this
- Publish a book of erotic short stories under a pseudonym
- Paint on a really large, museum-size canvas
- Stand up paddleboard
- Go beginner surfing in Hawaii
- $2M in networth before retirement, pref $5M
- Have my paintings shown in a major museum
- Write a third novel.
- Come up with the recipe for a signature drink.
- Consistently sleep 8 hours a night
- Make peace with my father
- Make peace with my mother
- Sit poolside on a hot, humid evening at least once a summer
- Become a hugger. (Of people, not trees.)
- Win an international art contest
- Attend a swingers party with non terrifying people and hide in the corner
- Write an incredibly erotic story about it afterwards
- Spend a week at an Orangutan refuge
- Volunteer for a week with Octopuses if such a thing exists
- Take a long cross-country road trip across the USA
- Learn how to ride my bike better and not be scared of it
- Do some sort of long bike ride down a coast somewhere
- Learn how to not lose every matching earring and sock.
- Visit Amsterdam
- Visit Paris with someone who can show me how locals live
- Experience a very fine wine so I understand why they are so expensive
- Fall in love with life every single day.
- Wake up in the morning and exercise as a routine.
- Design a beautiful, unique bathroom to come home to every night.
- Be a good friend to people who deserve a good friend.
- Don’t die. So I have time to do all of these things at least twice.
So in today’s talk-about-myself session, we discussed a variety of topics, namely my issue with stress-related binge eating and my fear of doing things that might make me happy. The takeaway and assignment was to pause every hour to a notification that would remind myself to “try, it might be fun.”
I have so much damn anxiety about everything that the simplest activities become overly challenging and complicated. It’s frustrating because it really hinders my relationships, professional opportunities, and damages my health. Most of it, clearly, is all in my head, but that doesn’t make “it” any less real. It is real, because it effects what I do every second of the day.
She asked me to think of my life if I just did what I wanted to do, versus caring what other people think. Problem is, I have no idea what I want to do. My entire life has been based on what other people want. It would have been nice to grow up in a household where my parents supported one being average as opposed to being special, just like everyone else versus an asset to brag about. But that wasn’t the case. Yes, I’m 30 now and I should get over it, but therapists are in business for a reason.
But what would my life be like if I could do anything and not care what anyone else thought? Geez, I really don’t know. Maybe at this point I would take some of my life savings and move somewhere more affordable, get a job with a flexible schedule and take art classes. I’m not sure I’d really do that or want to do that. I wouldn’t be happy dipping into my savings when I could be earning six figures a year. I’d always be berating myself for giving up the income and security later in life. I don’t know if my fantasy of living in Santa Fe and becoming a waitress actually makes any sense. I love living in the Bay Area because of the climate and the energy. Could I find a place I loved differently but equally anywhere else?
I feel like if I did that one day I wouldn’t be able to tell my parents. I’d just make up some story about how I’m still working for my startup years later… or I’ve started working for some big corporation where every single asset I write is published under other people’s names. I’m just an anonymous well-paid stable sufficient healthy regular worker who everyone loves and who will never ever be fired. But in reality I’m working for $3 an hour plus tips in Santa Fe, dipping deep into my savings to afford healthcare, and taking figuring drawing classes on the side. They’d never have to know.
That said, I would. I’d have to know what I left behind. The opportunity to save $50k per year… and instead trying to make enough to break even. Being some sort of half starving artist with a savings to prolong pre-starvation purgatory. What kind of life would that be? I never felt like a true artist, the one who gives up everything to create. I’m not really talented, or that talented. I could learn, but even then — I don’t think I’d ever want to paint to sell my work. Artists who paint for a living have to create what other people want. That would be much, much worse than a career in marketing. I don’t think I’d be any good at it.
Try, it might be fun. Well, if I say that about every whim I have I’ll try a whole bunch of things and end up… I’m not supposed to be thinking negatively about everything but I do. Because I’m a practical person. So maybe I shouldn’t try everything. But I could try something. I just want a hobby that I can commit to which inspires me and makes me feel like my life is about more than work and sleep. Because really right now that is all it is. Which is pretty pathetic for a childless 30 year old.
It’s time to get serious about these personal financial goals, beyond “try to save $5M for retirement and fail because that’s near to impossible on $100k a year.” Below, I’ve prioritized my top 10 goals in life, tied to personal finance. It’s good to make one of these lists every five years are so to make sure you have your personal priorities in order before making any life decisions.
- Contribute to a series of successful startups or projects from the ground up.
- Found my own company/product that helps people (potentially a health or finance product) or own a brick & mortar business.
- Understand that business well and make a few million dollars off of that business or product.
- Have a large circle of friends with a small number of close ones that I see frequently and can travel with.
- Travel around the world – there is so much I haven’t seen yet. I want to live a long life and when I’m on my deathbed, smile at the memories of all the places I’ve been.
- Rent or own a property where I can feel like it is my “home” and decorate accordingly.
- Have enough money where I can start to give freely instead of being an inconsistent miser.
- Raise a family of healthy, well adjusted children who have great self confidence without being pretentious. Potentially take time off when my kids are young.
- Nurture a successful and happy marriage – till death do us part. Love relentlessly. Compromise. Stay young and laugh together always.
- Have enough money for early retirement so when I get to 50/55 if I want to I can stop working and travel the world painting *or* I can found another company without the risk of going broke.
Ok, so how do I frame my life and my investment portfolio to meet these goals?
1. Networth = $200k (by 29, $250k by 30).
This is going to be difficult given I’m making $90k per year, and my current networth is $145k. With any luck the economy will recover a bit and my stocks will see me up to $200k, but I’m also going to make 2012 a super frugal year. Still, saving $2500 a month is only $30,000. Either I need some side income or a serious raise next year to hit this goal. I need to save $4166 a month to save $50k in one year, and after taxes I only make about $4200, so that’s not going to work.
2. Write and publish a (really good) business book
I already have a signed contract, so in theory, this one shouldn’t be so hard. Then again, I have 300 pages to write outside of a more than full-time job, in six months, and it needs to be really good. For it to be really good I need to interview a lot of people and that is what I don’t have time for… but if I can successfully achieve this goal of writing and publishing a book, I will, for once in my life, be proud of myself.
3. Lose 40lbs
My weight has become a huge issue in my life, and I haven’t had time to deal with it. I can’t believe I’m up to 170lbs (and I’m short at 5’3). This is going to probably be the hardest goal of all, but I need to do it if I’m ever going to be a healthy and happy person. Continue reading
It’s not what you think. I’m not determined it’s time to buy my own place because the housing market is down and mortgages are still low, though that’s part of it. Given I’m not sure how low the market has really gotten in Silicon Valley, the $500k 1br condo prices don’t really merit jumping into the housing market. I’ve all but accepted that my rental days are only numbered by the days between rent, not the time I’ll be living here.
But then there are nights like this. I hate feeling like an old stodge, but I’m rarely home, and tonight, on a Saturday night granted, I’m home sick, in bed, asleep, at 2:30am, and my roommate comes home from a night out with her sister who is in town visiting, and she seems to forget she has a roommate who is sick and asleep. If it were midnight, ok, I’d get over it, but it’s 2:30am. They’ve been bouncing a ping-pong ball as well for some reason. While the noise has all but simmered to a murmur now, the damage is done. I’m wide awake (hence the reason for this blog post.) Perhaps my sanity is reason enough to buy my own place.
In the meantime, today I read a bit about the markets, and freaked myself out over the potential to lose all my cash, even with a switch to more value investing. I’m not stupid, I realize that’s a risk with investing, but suddenly I’m thinking my $60k in stocks might be better spent on the downpayment for a condo. The dollars still don’t add up — not unless I want to be the on-site landlord to roommates, and I’m not the responsible type who would be up for that challenge/drama.
So it looks like rent is still in my foreseeable future, as are nights like these.
Many of us have issues with our bodies. Either that keeps us fit or causes us to slip off the diet deep end. I’ve struggled with my weight and eating all my life, even more than my money issues. They seem to be heavily connected.
For starters, I was raised with the notion that it’s the worst thing in the world to not finish all the food on your plate. Leftovers are ok, but my family always overate so leaving any food on the plate just seemed odd. So I grew up somehow assuming that restaurant portion sizes (and parental portion sizes) were what I should be eating. Of course I know better now, but it’s hard to change that mindset.
After spending a week at home with my father calling me fat about 20 times, it continued to upset me when he’d also comment on how I should have “half” of his dessert when we went out to eat. My father, morbidly obese throughout his adult life and now dying of cancer among other things, surely had good intentions — he doesn’t want me to be fat like him. But the way it comes out of his mouth always feels like an awkward jab, not to mention his constant oohing and ahhing over how “good” my sister’s figure looks (girl isn’t exactly healthy but she eats one meal a day, so she’s much thinner than I am.)
What hurts me the most is growing up with no idea why I was gaining so much weight – especially around my mid-section. Whether the PCOS caused my fat or my fat caused the PCOS is a chicken or egg discussion that’s null. The fact of hte matter is my father took me out every week for McDonald’s where he’d let me get two cheeseburgers, supersized fries and a supersized coke, he wouldn’t push me to exercise (“we just aren’t an athletic family”) and then he’d constantly make comments about my weight. It’s sad to think that although I knew my candy and fast-food eating ways weren’t the healthiest, I had no idea HOW unhealthy they were, or that a certain number of calories would make you gain weight. I don’t want to think about how many calories I was eating when I was 6-11 years old, the years I ate those supersized meals.
Regardless of all that, my challenge is facing my eating issues (just as I’ve faced my money issues) without letting my parent’s voices get in my head. Even if it feels like I’ll be losing the weight for them, it’s really for myself — I’m the one who, long after their gone, will be struggling with tons of health problems from all this built up, artery clogging visceral fat. This is really a change in my lifestyle that I needed to make years ago, but I think as I approach 28 (and the curves on my body start looking like they belong on The Biggest Loser) the change is not an option.
Luckily, my boyfriend – also overweight – is committed to getting healthy as well. He’s not going to play any games about it. If I ask him to run with me, he runs (unless it’s in the morning!) I also met a new workout buddy through Craigslist who is getting married in a year, which is great motivation for us to stick to our workouts (I have less than 4 months to lose 40lbs for my high school reunion.)
My commitment for the next month is as follows:
- Walk/Run *at least* 2 miles 6 days a week
- Aim for 4-6 miles a day 3 days / week
- Basic muscle toning workouts 2-3 days / week
- at any given meal, eat half what i’d normally eat. leftovers are my friend.
- minimize gluten intake and cut out all sugars except limited whole grains
- try to eat 5-6 small meals per day (really small)
- drink 3-6 glasses of water per day
Last year I made a list of goals. I’m going to ignore the fact that I probably didn’t accomplish most of them and start from scratch. I’ll check in monthly to report on my progress. This year is different because I am on ADHD meds so I can focus. Maybe this is all do-able.
- Have $150k – $170k in savings/investments by Dec 31, 2011.
- Read 1 book per month (12 books total) — 6 fiction, 6 non fiction?
- Teach myself math. 1 Subject per month. Algebra I (February), Algebra II (March), Geometry (April), Trig (May), Pre Calc (June), Calculus (July & August)
- After learning Math, take GMAT &/or GRE, depending on career enlightenment by summer (September)
- Lose 50lbs (now ~ 170lbs, want to be 120lbs. Mini goals 160lbs by March 1, 150lbs by May 1, 140lbs by August 1, 130 by Oct 1, 120 by Dec 2011.
- Go to “ADHD Support Group” twice a month
- Be a good friend and roommate. Friend-wise, invite 2 friends per month to do things (2 different times.) Roommate-wise, keep the house clean, offer to help doing things, random fun gifts for roommates
- Volunteer!!! Figure out a place to volunteer on a regular basis. Once a week(?) Maybe join mentoring program. Start this by March 1.
- Write a book with boyfriend. I have a really bad sci fi plotline written down and my bf likes the overall idea but says the details are ridiculous, but is willing to write with me and maybe turn my ideas into a good book.
- Kick ass at work. I’m behind right now, but decided that first I need to get my life in order at home (today!) by cleaning my room, car, everything, and then I can focus on the kick ass at work thing. This is most important of all. I am going to be a marketing goddess. I have a lot of ideas, right now the important thing is to prioritize and get shit done. I want to feel like I’ve accomplished this goal by March 1, and then up the ante each month for the rest of the year.
- Be a good sister. Even though my sister is far away, I want to stay in touch w/ her and even send her some fun things on occasion. I want to make sure she knows I’m always here for her, not just the 2 times a year we see each other.
- Dedicate 1 weekend day a month to painting or drawing. 6 hours minimum.