Honest Life

Word of the Year: Secure

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I used to be a big resolutions person. I would make this big list in December and have all these great goals for the year. Unlike a lot of people I would actually accomplish them all too. But I moved away from that this last year. Even though it was great from a productivity standpoint it wasn’t good from a mental health standpoint. I’m the kind of person that puts a lot of pressure on myself and when I say I’m going to do something, I do it. Even at the cost of my wants, needs and usually my sleep and sanity. For me, resolutions were starting to breed unhappiness in my life.

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This time last year I started this website and I was using it to force myself into monthly challenges with weekly updates. It was fun and I really enjoyed it at first. Then it started to become burdensome. I was not adjusting my challenges to fit realistically within the balance of my life. I was overworked and overwhelmed and then I realized that the only person putting pressure on me to do these extra things I had no time for, was me. I was the problem. That’s always a fun realization…

So I have had to learn to let go. I threw my resolutions out the window in July for the first time ever and I started to teach myself to be in the moment and realize it was okay to (in my idea of the word) fail. What I didn’t realize at the time was I wasn’t failing at anything. I was allowing myself to be free. To take each day as it came. I was allowing myself to set goals, but being more realistic about the outcomes and time limits and realizing the goals can shift and change constantly based on what’s going on in my life. AND THAT IS OKAY.

This was a huge eye opener for me. Around this time I started following a lot of great blogs and writers who were throwing the idea of resolutions out the window as well. Why toss on added pressure in your life? It’s great to set goals and to have plans! It’s still one of my favorite things. But those plans and goals should be flexible and able to be adjusted. One of the blogs I was reading was talking about creating a Word of the Year for yourself. Instead of a giant list of things you want to get done and forcing yourself to do them and hit target dates you go through your year with a word in mind. A word that will guide you.

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If this is still confusing here is a great website devoted to creating a word of the year. Fair warning, the site is little religiously devotional so just side step that stuff like I did if it’s not your thing.

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With a word of the year, goals can still be set, lists made, but with a word of the year they turn more into guidelines. The idea is to guide yourself throughout the year based on this one word. So if you have a goal to get healthier and be more fit this year, rather than setting a weight goal or a calorie limit (because we all know how well THAT always works out) you could have your word of the year be ‘intention’, and you can go through the year doing everything in your life with more intention and you can focus that word on what you are taking into your body. Not only are you leaving more wiggle room for yourself for when life gets in the way (and it will), but you’re going about your day with the word in mind. This word not only helps with a health goal, but can be focused on a work or family goal too. Go about your day with more intention in your mind. Don’t just do things to do them, feel the intention behind those actions, words or even food choices.

I like the word of the year because it’s more of a mind set rather than a specific thing you need to do. It should be a word that sets the tone for every day for you this next year.

My word for 2020 is SECURE. I’ve been getting obsessed with my finances lately, which has included factoring my net worth, paying down debt, saving up an emergency fund, and investing for the first time outside of my 401k. This year was all about gathering information about all of those things. I’d like to use this word to guide me in taking action every day in what I do. I chose ‘Secure’ over ‘Save’ or ‘Money’ because it’s the one word I felt really spoke to me about the importance of having a financial backup plan.

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I learned how to spend at a young age playing this game.

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to spend money! I’ve got trips planned and fun things to do that involve money this upcoming year. Key word being ‘planned’. But what my word odes mean is I’m not going to jump into any money spending without thinking about it first. My word will help me ask questions with every action I make: Did I plan for this purchase? Is it an emergency purchase? Does this help me towards my monthly saving goals? Is this necessary?

And then bringing it back around to my word: Will spending this money I didn’t plan help me feel more secure?

See how a word can guide your decision making?

I turned 30 this year and I have stared to think more and more about the future, while also trying to live in the present. I don’t want to go crazy and leave myself with $100 every paycheck and squirrel away the rest. I want to still go have a good time, see the world, see my friends, see Taylor Swift in concert again (July!), but I also want to be feel secure in knowing I planned for those things. They weren’t last minute shopping sprees placed on a credit card (I can thank Barbie for teaching me that was normal and okay).

At the moment I am only four paychecks away from having no money. If I don’t get paid for three cycles I will have nothing. Okay, I’m being dramatic. I have a husband who could pay the bills until I get another paycheck. If we both lose our jobs we could dip into 401k and withdrawal for hardship (I NEVER RECOMMEND THIS, but still it’s an emergency option), and we have great family members who could help lend us money if it really did come down to it. But I don’t want to have to do ANY of those things. I want to feel secure with my finances and my life so that if an emergency pops up I can take care of myself and feel secure in my life. After all, Millions of Americans are just one paycheck away from ‘financial disaster’.

So to avoid all that, I have some financial goals this year, but my overall goal is to feel more secure in my wealth and savings by the end of next year. I think the best thing people can do is be more transparent with their finances. We’ve been taught that discussing salary and wealth is taboo, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s also more helpful for everyone to use REAL NUMBERS when discussing finances to help others see what it takes to become more financially smart. Here are my goals, and I put these out there KNOWING that they might change or need to be adjusted, but keeping these goals in mind with SECURE at the forefront:

  • Save 10K in an emergency fund
  • Max out 401k for the year
    • FYI the max for 2020 is $19,500 and if you’re not AT LEAST maxing our your employer match DO IT NOW. THAT IS FREE MONEY.
  • Open a Roth IRA and max it out for the year
    • I STILL HAVEN’T OPENED THIS YET AND IT MAKES ME FEEL SO BEHIND – FYI the max is for 2020 is $6,000
  • Pay off car
    • I owe $11,781.44 on my car and plan to pay it off by June – a year and a half early

My last bit of advice for a word of the year is to force yourself to see it every day. I’ve got the word pinned on my desk, face wash drawer, computer at home and even on my bedside table. It helps me visualize it every day and keep it at the forefront in everything I do this year.

What’s your word? And if you want to go this route and are still having trouble choosing a word, one of my favorite bloggers, Jessica Rose Williams just posted about her word and gave some great tips on how to choose yours including:

  • What do I want more of in my life?
  • What do I want less of in my life?
  • Imagine yourself a year from now and allow yourself to dream. What’s changed? How do you feel?
  • What’s the name of your ship that’s about to set sail to that island where you want to be?

Let me know your word!

A Simple, Honest Life · Honest Life

If You Don’t Prioritize Your Life, Someone Else Will

Oh Hey, It’s Me
Northern California Coast Line

I remember May. I remember Memorial Day Weekend. I remember the redwoods and the northern California coastal air, how it smells like it’s always going to rain and how the fog blankets the coast every morning. I remember camping early in June and hiking up the butte that tried to kill me, but instead gave me an epiphany about turning this site into a reflection of honesty and simplicity. I remember feeling like summer was just about to start.

And now it’s September.

I had a really great summer planned with restful self care weekends in between some of the bigger ticket items such as visiting my parents, going to Spokane, three camping trips, a walking relay event and one of my best friend’s wedding. But even the best laid plans…

Slowly dying inside at our LA office

Work got in the way if I’m being honest. Not just some hard weeks at work, but work travel on top of that, which is never as fun as it sounds. I was down in LA seven times this summer for work and even pulled a 15 hour turn around trip followed by three more days in a row. One good thing is I got really good at packing a suitcase and bringing only what I knew I’d need and wear. But putting in all that work travel against my carefully laid out summer plans meant I was busy. So busy I have barely had time for myself.

That’s not to say I didn’t have a good time this summer, but since my May revelation I’ve been wanting to focus more on my needs and my time. When I can manage those things first, I become a better person at home and with my friends and family. I can allow myself to be in the moment when I’m with other people and give them my full attention and focus because I’ve taken care of myself first. Which leads to the fact that I have not taken care of myself this summer.

I have felt completely out of control. Like things were happening TO me, and I was just a bystander going through the motions because I felt like I had to. I felt had no control to stop these things from happening and I just had to follow through and do them. I’d like to preach about how we all have control in our lives and I could have canceled things or told my work no, but that is always so much harder than it sounds. I think most people don’t feel in control of their lives. We have bills to pay and people to please and plans to show up for.

The best plan I showed up for: Claire’s wedding with my BFFs

So I’ve been having these thoughts in the background about putting myself first and being in my control of my time and my life and meanwhile I’ve just been going, going, going. And when I’m finally able to stop, I end up sleeping because I’m so exhausted. Going to bed at 7 or 8 and when I can sleep in I’m sleeping until my alarm goes off at 9 am. I have to set an alarm because I will sleep even longer than that if I can. So what is that telling me when I’m so tired my body wants to sleep more than 12 hours? It tells me I’m doing too much.

Luckily work is slowing down a bit. There shouldn’t be any more crazy travel for awhile. That helps. And I’ve tried to be more honest with my personal plans. I’ve been trying to say no more. And instead of saying ‘I can’t’ I’ve been trying to say ‘I don’t want to’. Not to hurt people’s feelings, but to put my time in more perspective with myself. It’s not that I don’t want to hang out this week, it’s that I don’t want to make that a priority this week. I know that I won’t be my best if I schedule something this week, I need more time to put myself first and then when I do make plans with someone – when I am truly up for it – I will be more present than I would have been if I had forced it into my schedule. Into my time. Remember, time is our most precious resource. It is literally all we have.

It is okay to say no. I know that it doesn’t always feel that way and there are truly things that we can’t say no to. Work being the most obvious one. If we want to keep our jobs, keep the people in charge happy enough to keep us around, we more often than not feel forced to say yes. I think a lot of people feel this way and I want to share some pieces of a great book I finally got around to reading this summer called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. There are some great tid bits in there about saying no in a work environment and how nos can sometimes be really well received.

Here’s one of my favorite tips:

For example, if your manager comes to you and asks you to do X, you can respond with “Yes, I’m happy to make this the priority. Which of these other projects should I deprioritize to pay attention to this new project?” Or simply say, “I would want to do a great job, and given my other commitments I wouldn’t be able to do a job I was proud of if I took this on.”

Excerpt from Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

Saying no isn’t easy for fun, but you can definitely take a moment to feel awkward about saying no and live with that moment of awkwardness for a short time or you can say yes and live with a day, a week or even a month of regret for saying yes.

“Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

Honey Badger Champs

What do I feel deeply inspired by?” and “What am I particularly talented at?” and “What can I do that meets a significant need in the world? I don’t know yet.

I have to keep working because I have bills to pay and honestly I like the people I work with. We are dodge ball champs after all – another thing I signed up for this summer thinking I’d have more time in my life. Is my work my passion though? No. I’m not there yet. And in the meantime I don’t need to be killing myself and sleeping in 15 hours increments when I can to make up for working so hard. Now that things are a bit calmer at work I’m hoping I can re-prioritize my time and my hobbies and really start to think about what I want to do with my life and how I want to make a difference in the world with the time that I have.

Mary Oliver wrote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” I’m still figuring it out, but while I’m working through it I’m trying to make sure I’m giving myself the time and space to do so.