Birthday wishes

It was my birthday a few days ago.

Another year older.

One year closer to retirement.

I didn’t get a lot of birthday well wishes and even my mother forgot. She’s 86 so I couldn’t really blame her.

My sister almost forgot and she admitted it on a text at 8:30 that night while I was getting ready for bed. She asked me what I did for my birthday and I replied, “Nothing. Just went to work. Had dinner at home. Cheaper.” I had a smiley face somewhere in those sentences for added effect.

My brother forgot and tried to cover it up by sending me a text the next afternoon asking nonchalantly “What did you do for your birthday?”

My reply was the same.

Then we talked about one year closer to retirement and what I need to do to make it a reality. We are both accountants after all and investment strategies are infinitely more important than whether I had a birthday cake and whether it was chocolate or vanilla…

If I sound a little disappointed that my birthday was really nothing special, not really. It’s just that I seem to have come to a point in my life where birthdays have become just another mundane day of the week. I don’t expect any special treatment or presents or even a day off….

Is that sad?

Actually, I don’t think so. I quite enjoyed not having to dress up and think about where to go or even consider what to eat since a birthday dinner must somehow be more special than any other meal.

Too much effort.

Have I become lazy in my old age?

Actually, I don’t think so either. I think I have just realized how much more I enjoy a glass of wine at home than going out to a bar and having decide whether one glass of wine is enough or should I get the bottle instead…and who will be the designated driver.

Too much effort.

At any rate, I quite enjoyed my birthday–I had a quiet dinner at home with two glasses of my favourite wine and had combination of chocolate and vanilla ice cream cake with little icing flowers.

I got a hugs and a kisses from my daughter and hubby…and that is the greatest birthday gifts I could have!

So, for all September birthday celebrants out there…happy birthday!

Hope you had a fabulous birthday too!

Debbie

Wasting time (part 2)

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I survived last week without playing Candy Crush….see my last week’s post Wasting time…

Okay, let me qualify that a bit….I survived last week without spending too much time playing Candy Crush.  I ended last week at level 1170 and I am just on level 1172.

Needless to say, it was tough in the beginning….

“How can I give up on two hours of free lives?” I remember thinking as I pressed the “claim prize” button…

Well, I clearly impressed myself when after 15 mins (yes, I actually put a timer on my Iphone), I swiped away the Candy Crush app…

So, as with any challenge, it started off pretty tough.  It was like breaking a bad habit but as days passed by, it became easier.

I started reading The Art of Happiness which is based on insights from the Dalai Lama and when it just became too preachy at 8am while riding the train, I started another book that I found in the deep recesses of my book shelf, the Automatic Millionaire by David Bach.  It was a really old book (copyright 2003) that I got free when I worked for a bank.  It is actually a pretty simple book and an easy read so you don’t have to be a financial genius to read it.  I think it has a really good concept…”pay your self first…and make it automatic!”  Let me know if you want to borrow it and I will see how I can get it out to you…hahahaha!

So, in the past week, as I had to replace the time I usually spend playing Candy Crush to actually thinking about how I can get ahead in achieving financial freedom…at 55.

I went through my finances and looked at a few investing ideas and came up with a plan to maybe curb a few expenses that I found out was getting a little out of hand….I actually found this app called Mint that tracked my expenses and it seems my gas and fuel expense is overbudget by $48 and I have $3 left in my budget for alcohol and bars.

At any rate, what I want to convey here is not to get into investing or finding the most awesome app out there, but that sometimes pausing and not have Candy Crush (or Facebook or Pinterest) get away with all your precious time.  Maybe when you are walking with your baby in your stroller or on a long run on a nice Sunday morning to actually look up, ahead, and around…instead of posting what your status is on snapchat or Instagram…..It sounds surprising, but it does happen!

I realize this past week that my time is precious and I would rather spend it on what is meaningful to me.

Of course, I am not going to give up Candy Crush (are you crazy!!!), I just am going to keep it in check.  Five lives for a day and if I still can’t get past the level after five lives, I am not going to go on my settings and change the time so I get a new set of five lives….(Candy Crushers–you know what I’m talking about!!)

Have a good week, everyone!

Debbie

 

 

Leaving early….

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My best friend at work resigned today. After months and months of “should I or shouldn’t I?”, she finally said “I’m done here.”  She has lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. While she has not had a flare-up in months, she realized that her health was more important and that she would rather focus on her art full time.   So, good-bye stress and office politics!

I have known her for almost 15 years and I knew that this decision to leave did not come easy.  Lots of sleepless nights and doubts about whether she can finally make the leap to the art world full time.  There were good days and not-so-good days but lately, it may have been more of the not-so-good days.

When I did ask her what finally pushed her to make the decision, it was not that she had shrewdly played the stock market and she was financially secure in her decision to quit, but more of avoiding the stress of quarter-ends (which always made her lupus flare up) and that she was at her happiest when she was making art (encaustic paintings). “Life is too short.  Do something that makes you happy”, she said.

Retire at 45, what a grand concept!

Like a good accountant, she had crunched the numbers and did her risk analysis, quantitatively and qualitatively, leaving no thought unturned between her left brain and right brain.

If I were in her brain, I think this conversation would have happened:

Left brain:   “Am I nuts?  No steady flow of income? What if I live to be a hundred–am I going to have enough money? What about the social interaction–won’t I  be missing that?  I will miss the office and friends–networking will be more difficult”.

Right brain:  “Right on!  Now I can be the best that I can be! If necessary, I can just live off dreams of apple blossoms and rays of sunshine…that would look pretty, yes?”

Left Brain:  “Apple blossoms and daydreams? If it has a dollar sign in front of it, sure!”

Right Brain:  “Art makes me happy….now I can do more…and sell more.”

Left Brain:  “How about day to day expenses?  Medical insurance? Dental care? Trust fund for Sunny?  He is only 11 years old but he may want to go to university? It will be expensive.”

Right brain:   “That is taken care of–took that into consideration when you crunched the numbers, remember?”

Left Brain: “What if….?”

Right brain:  “So ‘what if’…?”

Left Brain:  “I’M SCARED.”

Right brain:   “It will be alright.  If we don’t do this now, we will regret it forever…”

At some point, the left and right would have finally agreed and taken the right course of action:  to be happy.

I must admit, I am a little envious of my best friend having the courage to walk away from a well-paying job and step into a world of uncertainty.  I wish her all the best and knowing her, I am absolutely sure she will do well in her new adventure.

As for those of us left behind, the ripple of her leaving is already being felt in all parts of the team.  She will be sorely missed.  However, most of the topics of conversations around the water cooler were ” Retirement at 45 is possible?! Really?” and  “What makes me happy?  I should really plan for it..and plan well.”

So, the question that you should ask yourself “If I were on my death bed, would I wish that I had spent more time in the office….or more time dreaming about apple blossoms and rays of sunshine?”

Hmmmm….No regrets.

Debbie.