These last two goals concern two of my difficult areas -- home & finances. For those who have been following along with us at home, by now you have figured out that Earth is not my strongest element. I am an air person, so in my cosmology earth is where my demons live. I generally suck at caring for my health, home and finances.
This past year, I made huge inroads into this area. I improved my health significantly, had major repairs done to my home and late last year faced some of my biggest financial challenges head on. So 2008 finds me in a much better position in respect to earth than I have ever been before.
This is also an area where I get the most projections from people. So I was hesitant to share these goals for fear of triggering even more unfounded abuse than normal. However I know that I am hardly the only one facing issues such as these. So in the interest of both helping myself and possibly helping others, I decided I could survive the scrutiny.
Beautiful, Welcoming And Nurturing Home
I love my house, again. I used to hate it. I thought it was falling apart on purpose, as if it was trying to make things hard on me. I am slowly making peace with the reality of almost constant home repair and maintenance.
I have also given up on having a spotless, a clutter free home where every room looks like a photo from Architectural Digest. All of it revolved around my accepting that a person with the illness and limitations that I have will never be able to handle the upkeep of this house all by myself.
Lowering my expectations allowed me to get to know my house all over again. And so I started breaking up the work into manageable chunks and asking for help. Putting the emphasis on my use and enjoyment as opposed to worrying about what others might think really made it possible to improve my experience of living in my house.
And in the process, I began to love my house again.
But now I need to translate that love into action. There are so many areas that need work and attention. I have developed a set of routines that have helped me to keep up with many of the basics. Now I need to concentrate on correcting several problem areas and resolving some long-term issues.
I took a huge pay cut when I decided to retire early, and the subsequent changes in lifestyle have been painful. But I would not change a thing. The freedom to do my work is so worth it.
But as energy costs go up, and things start to fall apart, living solely on my pension is becoming more difficult The money I make from teaching can no longer be justified as quality of life funds that pay for things like books, hobbies and classes. I need to find ways to trim as much as possible from my expenses, build up my reserves, and find alternative sources of income.
When you live on a fixed income, many of the habits you build up when you received a salary or wage no longer work. I no longer have to save up reserves in case I lose my job for example, but I do need them for large expenditures like car repairs. Also my habit of paying large sums each month to quickly pay off debt no longer works, because I no longer have the luxury of earning way more than my expenses. So I have to change my relationship to debt completely. My credit cards which never went more than nine to twelve months without being paid off suddenly started to inch up. I had to relearn habits from my younger days and avoid debt completely. Now I only pull out my credit card for things that are two large to pay immediately and are part of project where I have planned how to pay it off. I use my debit card as a credit card instead of writing checks, but that simply makes it easier to track my expenses. So I use less cash overall.
But no matter how much I cut expenses, I still need another income source besides my pension to meet the higher costs.
Best-case scenario, I produce enough web designs, books, and teaching gigs to help me fill the gap. Otherwise a part time job may be in my future.
I also need to finalize/update some long-term items associated with finances, such as my will, life insurance beneficiary list and power of attorney documents.
- Repairs and reorganization -- 2008 Focus
- Kitchen (4 projects),
- Bedroom ( 3 projects) and
- Closet (2 projects)
- Build up my cash reserves
- Will and Power of Attorney documents
- File Taxes in Feb/Mar, no extensions
- Weekly & daily routines
- Repairs and reorganization planning
- Budgeting & financial planning