Tag Archives: life

My Best Decision Ever

I was going to write about my choice of college.  That experience truly shaped the person I am today. I can attribute many later decisions to those 4 years.  However, I could also imagine myself being happy if I had gone to my second choice college.

I was going to write about events that led me to meet my spouse.  Yet, while I can’t imagine anyone making me happier, if I had found someone else, I would never have known and could have been happy, too.  I didn’t even mention children but I’m glad I have them!

Then I thought about choices that led to my current job.  Despite minor complaints, I’m pretty happy with work and I could easily pinpoint good choices that resulted in finding my position and field.  However, my work isn’t  a “true calling” in the sense that I can’t imagine doing anything else.  Since I’ve had several good bosses and many great  co-workers, it’s also easy to believe that I could have landed another job with another company and be just as content.

Then the answer hit me…

It was so obvious….

My best decision ever was moving closer to my work (and parents).  With a shortened commute, I enjoy 2.5 extra hours with my family daily.  I’m more relaxed when I come home and have energy to play in the park, take walks, chitchat about our days, and even exercise on occasion!  In the mornings, I get up later but I now have time to eat breakfast and do light exercises (though it’s usually light stretching and trying to touch my toes!)

Since I don’t battle freeway traffic every morning, I’m more pleasant to be around at work, too.

And no matter where I work, who my spouse is, or where I went to college, I can safely say that a shorter commute is the BEST choice I ever made!

Topic choice courtesy of Ginger at Ramble Ramble.

A Second To-Do List

I currently have my main to-do list (with about 10 items) and a 2nd priority list that comprises of less important things that still need to be done but with less urgency.  On occasion I can delete things but in general all these items really need to be done,  at some point.  I realized that I’ve simply been moving items from my main list to my 2nd priority list just to get the feeling of getting things done.   Sad, I know!

Note: Most of the items cannot be outsourced. It’s either small stuff like handwashing sweaters or financial/health-related (privacy concerns).

 

Why I Am Not A Work Superstar

Recently I had the opportunity to take on a highly visible project at work, one that most people would jump at and one that two others are actively fighting over now to control.  There’s only a slight chance that this project would lead to a promotion or raise but it would definitely lead to valuable new skills.  The fact that I turned this down is the reason I’ve never been the work superstar.  Note: I am taking on another project that would take just as much time and hard work but is simply less exciting and with less in-fighting over responsibilities.

After making this decision, I realized that I have often make “bad” decisions in terms of career because I don’t go for the highly visible projects or positions.  This is not always a bad thing.  I still find ways to challenge myself.  I do lead interesting and valuable projects and I’m not the one saddled with grunt work while everyone else gets the high-profile projects.   However, I don’t invest enough in my career to make that superstar impression and that’s the reason I continue to be the “valued yet despensible” employee rather than the true star with management potential. 

I would be lying if I said that this doesn’t bother me on some level.  It might have been good if I had planned out my career path in my late 20s or early 30s.  At the same time,  I try not to dwell on regrets.  I am a professional with many valuable skills, enjoy my job for the most part, and have always balanced work with life.

If you’re looking for ways to be a superstar at work, you’re at the wrong blog.  I do give advice about enjoying your work and career, but I admit that it has never been my top priority.

What qualities do you think make someone a “star” at work? Are you a work superstar? 

Financial Independence And Co-Dependence

As I get close to the end of “Your Money or Your Life”, I alternate between feelings of inspiration and depression, for lack of a better adjective.  Chapter 8 of YMOYL focuses on the cross-over point, when you reach financial independence and reap the rewards.  There are many success stories which are inspiring. Some people quit their jobs to volunteer, spend time with family and friends, and/or travel.  Those are the kinds of stories that I expected to read.  However, many people take a sabbatical and then go back to work.  The point is that choosing to work is very different than having to work. 

At the same time, I get somewhat depressed, or deflated, when I think of taking that next step and the consequences.  The big “What ifs” pop in my head.  I’m ready to move on to the next phase of my life but I can’t imagine feeling so free mentally in regards to finances.  I am used to a steady paycheck with paid vacations;  I imagine that financial worries would seep into my muddled head.  We’ll see how this plays out….

Financial independence is harder to achieve when your spouse is not onboard.  My husband is just not interested in reading or discussing finances.  I have told him about my readings but I doubt he’ll ever read the book himself. 

Like it or not, our financial lives are intertwined.  I don’t believe in separate finances, other than some fun spend money, because it all comes out of the same pot in the end.  When we don’t jointly focus on our household spending now, we both end up spending more.  Luckily he has adjusted to my frugal tendencies over the years even though he thinks I’m a bit obsessed.  Our backgrounds are so different that it’s hard for him to imagine a life where you can’t fall back on your parents as a last resort.  Even when he worries about money, I feel that he believes things will work out.  I don’t think like that.  I imagine worse-case scenarios.

I guess I really need to pay attention to Chapter 9, which talks about managing your finances.  I also lined up another finance/lifestyle book for reinforcement and ideas. Next up: All The Money In The World.. I really hope that I can reach a place where I view money as a tool and not be so paranoid.

Have you crossed over to true financial independence? If so, what’s your story?

To Do Or Not To Do

Another Every Wednesday Post…

I am toying with the idea of not having a to-do list. Would that really be possible? I don’t remember having one in college and I was fine.  It’s probably not completely feasible.  For one, I would still have to keep the following lists:

  1. To-do list for work (I don’t think boss would appreciate my ban on lists)
  2. A shopping list (I don’t want to wander around the supermarket for hours)
  3. Calendar for appointments (I think doctors don’t like it if you forget appointments)

However, it would be nice to wake up on a to-do list to follow and check off.  What would that day look like?  Would I run out of underwear? Would I run out of food? Would I forget to pay bills?  Would I remember to have fun? 

I think I have a “fear” of not planning and this goes beyond to-do list of chores and errands. To sum it up, if you remember that fable about the grasshopper and the ant, I don’t want to be the grasshopper.  I fear that if I give in to my grasshopper tendencies, five years will go by and I will be in the same spot, a spot that I don’t love very much. 

While I don’t think planning life to the last detail is great or even really feasible, I do think that planners I’ve met accomplish more than those who live day-to-day.  That’s not a bad thing if your goal is to just enjoy life, but I think most of us do have goals, big or small, that would make us feel happier but can be easily forgotten in the frenzy of life.

Do you keep a to-do list? Could you live an unplanned life?