Day 556: Derailments

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, like the guy said. Yesterday, as covered, was a bit of a dramatic clustermug. Some short-term solutions but no long-term solutions, and we’re dealing with a situation that’s been handed off to us and seems to be the result of a shocking lack of long-range planning.

This is all sudden, and surprising, and has thrown off some of the meticulously tracked goals that I’ve set up for the quarter. But that’s okay. Nothing is really acutely time-sensitive with my stuff, so hitting “pause” on my projects to invest in long-term health and stability in the family is obviously the right move.

Finance doesn’t come up a lot here, because I’m not comfortable talking money. I don’t think most people are. But it’s super important, and if we’re talking about a project to improve health and happiness, you gotta talk stress. And if you’re going to talk stress, for 99% of us, ultimately you’re gonna talk money.

Not that I’m talking money today. But extended family issues have brought financial planning and sound decision-making back into sharp relief. So we’re thinking about money a lot right now. This is, again, eating into other plans, but ultimately it’s a good disruption because it’s drawing attention to a problem that will have a long-term negative impact. Goals like “improve this podcast” are deeply satisfying and may have benefits in the long term. But figure out your stuff for the long term is a goal that will definitely have benefits in the long term.

So — disruption is happening. It’s stressful. It’s anxiety inducing. But it’s ultimately really good.

 

Day 520: Big Morning Chores

I beat Beethoven this morning — not really, but ran an 8k in under 45 minutes, so I’m confident I could. Then I did a bunch of chores, including insulating an exterior furnace pipe, varnishing stumps, baking bread and more… right now, listening to the older cat growl at the younger cat from behind the barricade we’ve set up.

Talking to a colleague about optimizing yesterday — context being a swanky new journal-organizer thing I saw online. I’m deeply tempted, because I’m always questing for a magic bullet. But I’m also also… let’s say “frugal,” because I don’t want to describe myself as cheap. Paying over $40 for a three-month diary when I can just do the same thing either with my design skills, or a Hilroy notebook and some planning, seems… I don’t know.

It’s an investment thing, right? I want to _invest_ in something, because then I’ll be obliged to use it… right?

Well, that hasn’t worked so far. I have a variety of musical instruments and unfinished Udemy courses showing that just putting some money into something doesn’t equal follow-through.

So I’ll think about this planner thing. If I have a work colleague doing it, and if my wife is also interested, the mutual reinforcement thing might be good. But analyzing what makes it work and trying to homebrew something would be a lot more financially sensible… in many ways, I’d rather have $40 in a long term retirement account than tied up in a day planner.

Day 257: Money Stress

I don’t talk about money much, partly because I was just kind of raised that way,  partly because we’re… okay. Not amazing, financially, but I’ve got a decent job. My wife’s been out of work for a while, which is what it is, but we’re… fine, basically. We live cautiously (no car, no cable, budget) and kind of treat the mortgage like our entertainment budget (we love our house).

But even though we’re in Canada, my wife’s American, and it’s pretty amazing how the tentacles of America’s bonkers health care system can reach out to strangle you.

My father-in-law has been ill for a while, but insurance apparently ran out a while ago, and he’s recently had a number of crises. I’m not sure what the financial picture is for my inlaws, but it’s… bleak.

So last night we were both up a bit, feeling… precarious. Obviously there’s a lot of worry and concern and sympathy for our family, but the feeling of wanting to help, but knowing you literally can’t is tremendously distressing. Powerless and small.

Needless to say not a lot of sleep last night, which has thrown me off my exercise game.

Feeling very fortunate today, in terms of our personal health and relative financial stability. But there’s a cloud; a cloud that will probably not be going away any time soon.

In a weird way, this is reinforcing: keep up with good habits, personal and financial. Exercise, diet, wellness in general are all good moves in terms of financial security. Staying fit and healthy is cheap, ultimately. It minimizes the expenses you can’t control by minimizing the risk of expensive crap happening to you.

Sobriety is a move that ticks all those boxes. Immediately good, financially. And long-term good, financially: health, sound decision-making, etc.

But even making all the right moves doesn’t mean that the outside world isn’t going to reach in. Going to be some rough patches ahead.