I’ve knocked a few things off my 17 for 2017 list, and so far, it feels pretty good. With my trip to Southeast Asia, I definitely went to a country—actually three—that I’ve never been to before. I decided to stretch that goal a bit and still go to a city I’ve never been to and a state I’ve never been to. I have plans to go to Nashville, Tennessee in the fall so that will take care of the city and state BUT I am also thinking I could do a different city on its own. I have some ideas so we’ll see. My plans to see Mount Vernon at the end of this month fell through, mainly because I was sick and couldn’t go. So the historical site visit will have to happen another time this year.
I kind of like having the list because it’s making me consciously responsible for creating my own experiences and doing what I have said I’ve always wanted to do. Now I’m making those “wants” happen. I am a little nervous about two items on this list: 1.) the book club and 2.) seeing James Morrison in concert. I haven’t found a book club I want to join, and I don’t know if I really have the energy to start one. But its only March so there’s time. James Morrison I would love to see but, as of now, he only has three concert dates for this year and they are festivals. I love him but I’m not flying to England for a festival. So I may have to adjust this one or move it to 2018. Hmmm, maybe I can count going to see Cher in DC as a replacement.
I’m also keeping the mini-resolutions going strong. I did Dry January, and for February, I did daily meditations for a minimum of 10 minutes. I wanted to do No-Spend February but I had eight birthdays that month, and I had my trip. I had to be realistic. Even though it should’ve been Meditation March, I switched it and did Meditation February. Didn’t miss a day, and I’m so glad I did my meditations. I think it helped calm and ground me on my trip.
For March I did a Financial Awareness with limited spending month. I did want to do a no-spend month, but, again, I had to be realistic. I knew I had a hair color appointment scheduled, a haircut, medicine to refill, flights to book, and supplies to get that I didn’t get in February. So I made it a consciousness-raising month about my finances. I tracked my daily spending, and I also limited purchases to necessary items or things I can’t put off, like the flights. In this month I learned a lot. A few lessons:
- It’s so easy to spend. When I’m walking around the city and doing errands, it’s so easy to stop somewhere, like Starbucks, and get a chai latte. But I didn’t. I didn’t do it because I told myself, “this is my limited spending month, and do I really want to spend money on a tea?”
- It’s hard not to spend. It was amazing to me to see how quickly and easily a few dollars here and a few dollars there went.
- Spending adds up fast. All the different medicine and supplements I had to refill added up to $75.
- Old habits cost money. For example, when I’m traveling, I have an airport ritual I always follow. I stop and get a magazine, which I read on takeoff, and a bottle of water.
- It’s easy to forgot about those monthly automatic payments, such as my New York Times subscription or my iCloud storage.
- Sometimes you have to spend more in the short run to save in the long run. My Pilates package ran out and I needed to replenish. Couldn’t wait to do it because then I wouldn’t be able to do the classes, although I could’ve paid by class. BUT, then I wouldn’t get the discount.
- And, finally, sometimes the unexpected happens. A friend of mine passed away . There were travel and other funeral expenses that I hadn’t planned on. These are the times you let go and lead with your heart, not your wallet.
March has been a good wake-up call for me regarding my finances. I don’t think I’d be as aware if I didn’t do this mini-resolution. Next up is April, and I’m doing Active April, meaning a 30-minute walk or other exercise every day. Looking forward to getting up and moving.
(Image taken by Ela Aktay in Luang Probang, Laos.)