Don’t Let the Bad Habits Win

I was out to breakfast with my mom this morning and we were talking about the community garden I’m trying to join so I can dig in the dirt and grow some veggies. She said, “you don’t have time to tend to a garden everyday”. I responded with, “if I have time to sit on my patio to drink wine and smoke cigarettes then I have time to tend to a garden”. It got me thinking though about the battle of good and evil. Good habits vs. Bad habits. Why is it that the bad habits always seem to win?

I joined a gym when I first moved back to California. $49.99/mo. Talk about a waste of money right now. Why is a gym membership a waste? Because I never go. I DO drive by it everyday and think, yep I need to go home and change then come straight back here. But I never do. Is it because I’m socially awkward? Is it because I’m too busy? Nope, it’s simply because I don’t make myself. Someone once told me that it takes 3 days to create a habit and 7 days to break a habit. I 100% disagree because I’ve tried breaking the bad habits. The 7th day is fine and on the 8th…. rolled right the down the hill again.

When I was younger I would tell myself that I have plenty of time to break a bad habit (whatever that was at the time). But in your middle ages do you really have plenty of time? All those bad habits have a way of sneaking up on you and can really affect your life. My current bad habits have a direct impact on my body and my mind. This is part of the reason why I started writing about the trials of being middle aged. I can’t be the only one realizing that I need to get my life in order and enjoy and grow. Which is not that easy at this age because I’m set in my ways and the bad habits are taking up precious space in my life that I want to change. Things like improving my credit so I can buy a house or restore old furniture or start writing again or find someone to share my life with.

My dad once told me that we are all just humans going through stages in our life and trying not to mess up our kids too badly in the process. I think he was right. I used to think that when I reached a certain age I should be all knowing and wise. Well that age has come and gone and I’m just going through this stage in my life and learning more about myself than I ever did before.

Expanding My Horizons – Healthy Hobbies… Taking on Growing Vegetables

A lot of people are like me … live in an apartment with no dirt to call your own. I woke up this morning and thought “I am NOT going to waste another Saturday hanging out at home”. But my current hobby is watching the Hallmark channel. I went downstairs and started talking about the pots of vegetables and seasonings that my sister and I are trying to grow.

In Snohomish County I briefly rented a plot of dirt in a community garden with my boyfriend at the time. And much like the boyfriend, the plot of dirt went to the wayside. This morning as I looked at the pots of plants I said, “I want to see if there is a community garden nearby that I can lease a plot of dirt”. My sister looked at me like I was crazy. Well folks, I am crazy, BUT there is a community garden nearby. The website was last updated in 2017 but we promptly hopped in the car and drove over. We were half expecting the garden to have apartments or condos on it but alas it was our lucky day and there was ONE plot that looked like it was available.

For those who know me, I am not a green thumb and I don’t like bugs. I seriously will run in circles and scream while hitting myself. It fondly referred to as “the bee dance”. But gardening checks a lot of boxes for my new goals. Eat healthier, get out of the house without spending too much money and most importantly find a way to relax and get exercise. So I called the number on the website and left a message. I’m hoping it’s still the right number.

Well I’m off to breakfast with my mom! Wish me luck on my new endeavor.

Taking Stock and Taking Charge

I have amazing friends and family and a good career yet I look at my life now and wonder…. how did I get here?

When I was younger I wanted to be an accountant, a wife and a mother. I thought I would have the corner office while being able to maintain this amazing family life. I thought I could have it all. That’s what is so nice about being younger, life has no boundaries. So why then do so many of us put boundaries on ourselves as adults?

I was having a conversation with some friends the other day and the question was asked…. if you could go back in time and have a do-over what age would you like to go back to? I said 14. That was the age where I was still trying to figure myself out. Trying desperately to be popular and well-liked while maintaining a 3.75 GPA and look towards my future. I’m not saying that I made wrong or bad choices, I’m saying that my priorities would change. I was so busy trying to be popular in school that I didn’t realize I was until after I graduated and my little sisters went to my same school.

So, taking stock in what my life is now…. amazing family and friends – Check, a career that I love – Check. Being set for retirement and having a significant other in my life and enjoying my life outside of work – no check… Major Renovations Needed!

I looked at my finances to see why it is so hard for me to save money. I don’t go out every day after work anymore, I eat at home mostly and make my lunches. I have an average vehicle, an affordable place to live and an average wardrobe. I also will order from a delivery service at least 2x/week and I still hang out with friends and family on the weekends. BOOM! I actually still spend just as much money. So I adjusted my habits to what seemed like the right step (was for my liver and sleep) but not for my checking or savings account. So that’s me taking stock in my life, NOW it’s time to take charge.

How do I adjust now? I’m just spit balling here but I made an adjustment today. I created a budget and set up a separate account for my play money. When I’m out – I’m out. That way I can still budget for expenses, including a rainy day fund, have an acceptable play money fund AND put money in savings. I’m not starting out big either. Something that I can ease myself into.

So that’s my plan on finances. I still have work-life balance to tackle along with find that special someone that can put up with me. Watching the Hallmark channel to see the Hallmark romance won’t help me actually find it. Part of the “How did I get here” question is when did my life become so boring and how do I fix that while still on my spending diet? Can I have amazing friends, family, plan for retirement this late in the game AND still enjoy life outside of the home and meet my “future ex-husband”? We’ll see.

Dating at 50+….. LOL How Confusing

I used to go out ALOT. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 16 or 50+, trying to find someone to date is awkward. When I was in my 40’s I felt very confident and my friends joke that I’m a cougar. I guess I was, but meeting someone much younger was uncomfortable when my two boys (older) would meet my “suitor”. I have since dated more “age appropriate”. Just as awkward. Meeting someone online or in a bar or randomly elsewhere always feels like a job interview. Also, when I do happen to go out now I think I look like a super model (might be the alcohol) and I look over and do something corny like “How you doin?”. It’s fun but I’m looking at the big picture and not one night stands.

I recently reached out to a friend and said that I’m just not that into meeting people to date. At our age, most of us have had “the moment(s)” and when I’m out and about and meet someone, I want the Hallmark romance not the “let’s start in the sack and see where it goes from there”. I’m also very awkward at the getting to know someone stage. My theory is that feelings need to be kept inside until they must come out and when they do it should be in a dignified manner. If you’re 40-50+ and you’ve been single for a while – or still – it seems to be an assumption that being intimate is the starting point. Am I wrong to want to get to know someone and then be committed and intimate even at 50+? I’m still holding out hope. I’m no spring chicken but I’m also not ready to put myself out to pasture yet. I thought dating was difficult in my teens and 30’s – 40’s was a good year – but in my 50’s???? Oh Mylanta!

Just Turned 51 and Realized… Wait a Second, When Did I Reach Middle Age?

I just turned 51. I looked in the mirror the other day and my arms have that saggy look to them, I have a few wrinkles and I wondered where the heck those came from. In my 40’s I felt like I was more confident, really coming into my own in the human growth department. Last year was the big 5-0 and I was on a roll. Didn’t even think about being “Middle Aged”. As 51 approached, I started taking some stock in my life and life choices. I realized, oh crap, I’m running out of time. I still feel young. I don’t feel middle aged but I looked at my assets, my hobbies (or lack thereof), my career and decided I needed to make some enhancements.

I was living in Washington and enjoying my time, but my time consisted of working. So I decided to start hiking. My friends thought I went crazy. I DO NOT hike. But hike I did and got a friend to join. It was not an easy trail (for me) but it was fun. I enjoyed time with one of my besties, I broke out my camera and reconnected with the joys of photography. It was a fun day… one I did not make consistent. But it was a start to have more of a work-life balance.

Then I made some BIG changes. I decided to move back to California to be closer to my parents in their “golden years” and take a risk with my career. I’m a very cautious person, so this was a big step.

So this is middle age? Looking in the mirror expecting to see a young 30 something year old image and having another person with flabby arms and some wrinkles stare back at you. What do I want to be when I grow up? I don’t know. I’m figuring that out. I’ve got plenty of time…. So I decided to start a blog. I have goals that I’ve put into place and I thought it would be fun to share the journey and get some feedback on your journey.

Step one, two and three of my journey is to look at my finances and see where I need to focus to be prepared for retirement. I still have 20 years left in the workforce at this point. If I had been more focused earlier then I could retire by now. If we could only live our life in hindsight. Work out on a regular basis to get rid of those darn saggy arms and learn how to enjoy my life on a budget. So here we go…..