Every year during holiday break, I get the urge to organize. Normally, when I’m at home, it’s the house that gets the pampering. But since I’m dog sitting this week, I took the opportunity to clean up some of my email and do some paperwork and budget – things that get missed when I am at home and there are dishes to be done.
I found a great email thread of messages to myself that I forgot I had started in early summer (back when I was still teetering between Renaissance and forty as my theme for the year) of ideas about what I might want to spend my 2015 doing. Here are a few of them:
- Finally learn Spanish
- Run a race (5K? Half marathon?)
- Go on ___ dates
- Write letters
- Send photo Christmas cards of Uncle Wallace (amazing, creepy Santa mouse) and the “kids” (ceramic mice)
- Embrace traditions of the women who came before me – Mom’s pies, MeMaw Sharp’s garden (herbs, since I’m currently apartment-living), MeMaw Catherall’s crochet/knitting blankets
- Embrace my own traditions (4th of July party? Friendsgiving? Cookie party?)
- Buy a keyboard
- Take an art class
- Take a cooking class
- Buy a piece of art that moves me
- Learn Italian or French
- Get something pierced
- Dance in a flash mob (or as part of some type of performance)
- Keep flowers on the table and wine in the wine rack
- Lose a pound for every year I’ve been alive
This series of emails also includes a pretty extensive travel list (well, extensive for me, considering that the farthest I have traveled in the last couple of years was Houston):
- Trip by train
- Drive up the west coast
- Road trip – bookshop tour? Coffee shop tour? Connect-the-friends tour?
- Writing retreats
- Solitary retreat – perhaps somewhere beach-y?
I think all of that sounds pretty fun. It still seems to fit the year’s theme nicely.
It also sounds expensive.
I go back to work on Monday, so I’m getting my mind wrapped back around that this weekend. I don’t think I want to switch jobs just yet, so I’ve worked out a pretty intense budget that allows me to live within my current means – even during months when I don’t have my teaching paycheck – and save up some money to do some of the things on my wish list above.
Now, I don’t want to boss my word around and tell it what to do (you can’t always force these things). But you know what would be really fun, as a professional with a master’s degree and 15+ years experience in my field? To earn an income befitting a grown woman with those credentials.
I feel caught in haphazard youth. I am basically still living with the same financial restrictions I had in college. I love a good challenge, so it has been its own kind of fun, but I am beyond ready to move on.
I want an income that allows for the extravagant lifestyle to which I intend to become accustomed. And by “extravagant,” I do mean a lifestyle characterized by the ability to:
- Pay off debts and live debt-free
- Buy wholesome, mostly local food
- Drink good coffee and wine
- Donate consistently to causes close to my heart
- Have a nice, modest home that is small enough that I don’t need outside help to keep it clean but big enough to entertain comfortably
- Make ethical purchases (i.e., fair trade, waste-free, sweatshop-free, cruelty-free, etc.) without having to buy almost everything secondhand
- Pamper myself with regular hair appointments and toiletries that I don’t have to make myself and that won’t give me an allergic reaction/cancer
- Go out to eat/drink with friends once or twice a week
- Travel. Just ever. Anywhere.
I – competent, educated, professional, adult woman – want to earn an income conducive to doing all these things as a matter of habit, not having to decide each payday which 2-3 get their turn that month.
That would be a lot of fun for me.