Homeownership

Things That Cost More Than You Thought

  • Keychain remote for your security system
  • Blinds
  • A snow shovel
  • Doormats
  • A thermostat

Things You Haven’t Bought Yet Because They Cost More Than You Thought

  • Stud finder
  • Food storage canisters for all your dry goods
  • A piece of furniture that hides the cats’ litter box
  • Drill bits
  • Throw pillows
  • Kitchen chairs not from Ikea

Things You Never Thought You’d Care About

  • Blinds
  • Chipped paint
  • A scratch on the floor from the legs of the couch because you didn’t buy those anti-skid pads
  • Rug pads

Of Note

  • Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (and if you haven’t watched her TED talk, a good place to start)
  • Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast (most recent episode also featuring Brené, which is really just a lot of them telling each other how awesome they are). Even though I was kind of turned off by Eat, Pray, Love, I think it’s really because the way it was marketed was unappealing to me. Now I think “Liz” is actually an empowering and insightful lady.
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, because we should all be aware of how much it sucks to get old, and maybe we should do something about the way we treat the elderly
  • New Girl repeats. I forgot how many great bits there were, at least early on. I watched three straight hours of it on Netflix last night.
  • Mindfulness meditation. Try the free versions of the Headspace and 10% Happier apps. Joseph Goldstein’s waterfall analogy especially.
  • The Dinner Party. Surprised I didn’t think of this first. Hosting my first dinner this month. Read more from NPR.
  • My realtor. If you live in the Baltimore area and are looking to buy or sell, Mike Hofstetter is, hands down, the best in the business. I want to buy another house because he’s so awesome. He also called himself Columbo during a showing, which I found hilarious but also a truly apt description.

Pros for the near future

  • A house that’s all mine.
  • The Dinner Party.
  • A fun bocce season.
  • Dates that turn into friends. And some that maybe turn into dates again later (TBD).
  • Goat cheese.
  • Spring and summer.
  • Spending money.
  • No obligation to anyone but me to work out.

Most of the time, I feel OK, even positive and hopeful, about the future now that I’m about to be single (technically, we’re not broken up till we move out at the end of the month, which yes, is a little weird). But sometimes, I unexpectedly get this feeling in my stomach–kind of like butterflies, but the opposite meaning. It’s an anxiety, a twinge, a heavy emptiness, a panic, and it correlates to feelings of fear and impending loneliness. I don’t know which comes first, but it all happens at the same time.

I know I’ll be fine, I know there are other people out there that are as great–if not BETTER–than K. But when I experience these short moments of feeling like a deer in the headlights or a squirrel in front of an oncoming car, I briefly imagine it as an impossibility, of always feeling adrift and unable to make a genuine connection again. Not that I don’t have these kinds of connections with friends and family, but they’re really only pieces of a connection, never a complete committal. I want to have someone all to myself, have someone that chose ME over anyone else out there.

I think the unknown is what gets me. How long will it be until I meet the next person? Will this next one stick? How many mediocre dates will I have to go on? Will I see K out with other girls before I’ve found someone? I think I’m most afraid of him finding someone before I do, finding out that it was ME, not him. I don’t want him to be Joe in When Harry Met Sally, even if I ended up like Sally in the end of the movie.

Internet Dating

Let me just say that I am generally of fan of Internet dating–I met two totally normal boyfriends through it.

However, I have forgotten how many boring, cookie-cutter, and just plain WEIRD people there are out there. So many people use the same basic formula to create their profiles: photo with group of friends–people like me!, photo with small child–I’m sensitive and may possibly want to continue my lineage with you!, photo with cat or dog–I’m a regular guy who likes living things!, adventure photo–I’m not boring!, photo at a wedding–people like me enough to invite them to their important events and I’m not scared of commitment!

I think my favorite pictures are the shirtless ones and the work head shots. And the people who post selfies with microwaves and towel bars in the background. Because if it’s one thing I’m looking for in a guy, it’s that he can heat up a meal, or that he has the ability to hang up his towel so it doesn’t get moldy.

And the descriptions people write: “I don’t know what to say here haha.” “I’m terrible when it comes to talking about myself lol.” “I like to go out, but I can stay in too :).” GET A PERSONALITY OR GET OFF THE INTERNET.

I’m looking forward to going on dates again, but here’s hoping that there’s actually anyone I want to go out with.

On wealth (or lack thereof)

I can’t weigh in personally, since I chose a career field that typically does not result in wealth. But I found this Quora link (via APW) that discusses  if getting rich is worth it. Comments mention two points that seem obvious, but are also useful:

Happy people are often still happy when they become millionaires. Unhappy people are often still unhappy when they become millionaires.

and

Yes, being wealthy is worth it.  But without a sense of purpose, being rich could turn you into a very different, isolated and perhaps awful person.

I think I’d be a pretty happy millionaire, based on the first idea. I’d be a bit more concerned about the second, but there are a lot of things I want to do and a bunch of causes I want to support.

LearnVest’s take (yet again, another website I love) is that a $50,000 annual salary is enough to make you happy. They do say that living somewhere with a higher cost of living increases that number (which is my situation). And I’m thinking that some people have interests that cost more than others.

I’m thinking I’m closer to that original $75,000 number stated in the article, at least right now. After I pay off my credit cards (one left, and should be by no later than June), I can put all of that money into my IRA every month. (When I’ve done this for a full year next year, I’ll hit the max contribution amount.) I already save a good chunk each month, though I’ll likely be using some of it for the trip to Portland in April, which I know I’m not supposed to do…

LearnVest recommends that you only put 20% of your income toward priorities, which includes paying off debt and increasing your savings. I’ll just have a very low-interest car loan left. I think I end up putting about 30% toward these priorities, but I’m behind.

In the past few years, as my salary has slightly increased (after an initial substantial cut–I hated consulting), I’ve generally worried about the same amount. When I took this new job in November, I got a pretty good bump, plus practically zero commuting cost (I can walk to work). I noticed I’m able to allocate the extra money to places I knew I needed to send it in the past, and it’s felt good to see the debt shrinking and savings growing.

It’s still a foreign feeling to see my checking account in the higher triple digits after paying rent–I’m used to it being around $100, give or take. It’s definitely a comforting change, though I now worry when I have $400 in my account–that’s now when I feel like I’m getting low. Which is a good thing! I’m hoping the numbers increase eventually, of course, and with age comes more costs and responsibilities, thus more cushion. But it’s progress in a very short amount of time. Something to be proud of, I think.