Monday, January 20, 2014

Gratitude for good fortune

I have to be honest – I am a very fortunate person. Sometimes I forget & need to take a step back, look around, & remember. Whether you call it luck, the result of good planning, karma, divine (or not) blessings, or being in the right place at the right time – good things come my way.

I hesitated to write this post because it seems a bit braggy. That isn’t my goal. My goal is to articulate my gratitude for the events & people in my life right now.

James & I have wanted to relocate to Missouri for some time. It has been on our 5 – 10 year plan for a few years. We have a lot of reasons, for now we will boil them down to “why not?” We got a wild hair this summer to actually bite in. So we spent our summer vacations house shopping. We looked at a lot of houses and eventually found one that we love. And so we bought it. We figured we could rent it out if we didn’t find jobs.

Gratitude moment – We are in a wonderful place that allows us to own 2 homes and afford the mortgages. We did a lot of planning & work in order to get that to fly, but I am well aware of what could have (still can) go wrong. I am grateful for the leeway we have.

Ok, step one – house bought. Step two – jobs…

I started searching for jobs shortly after we closed on the house. It was slow going at first, winter is not a good time for hiring & I was being picky. Because we had the option to rent the Missouri house, I was not going to apply for or accept a job that I wasn’t going to be happy with. I sought out companies that have mission statements I can believe in. I applied at multiple places, eventually one called back. An institution of higher learning. Within 2 weeks of applying they hired me. I am still practicing my vocation (accounting), still earning a necessary wage, and I get to be a member of an organization that (I feel) works toward the greater good.

Gratitude moment –I am exceptionally fortunate to have the luxury of being choosy about my job. Not everyone is in that position. I am grateful for that flexibility. And I am fortunate that I was hired so quickly. I didn’t have the long wait between first contact, first interview, second interview, and eventual hiring.

Currently, we will be living apart for approx. 3 – 6 months. We want to rent our current house out, which means some fixes. And James needs to train his replacement. Without going into detail – he can’t leave until he does.

Gratitude moment – We haven’t lived apart since our early 20s. It will be a chance to remember who we are as individuals during our transition. And I will be home every weekend, so there will be a lot of chances to make quality time with each other. This also gives us a chance to pare down possessions at a more comfortable rate. We can actually evaluate our possessions before deciding to keep or send on its way.

So here I am surrounded by boxes, picking up my life, & moving to a new state. I am sad to leave my life here behind & overjoyed to start a life in Missouri. There have been a lot of emotional moments in the last two weeks but threaded through all of them has been gratitude. If I didn’t have people who I love and loved me here, I wouldn’t be sad. If I wasn’t following through on goals authentically, I wouldn’t be happy.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Trade it

Welcome to the New Year! Can you feel your toes? The first week has proven to be bright, white, & downright frigid. A perfect time to be inside, taking stock of what is around us. I’m ready to jump back in after a short hiatus.

The first thing I did was the hanger challenge on 12/21/13. Before the New Year, but it was on my schedule to Do It. I started this back in July, where I turned all of the hangers in my closet backward. As I wore something, the hanger got turned around correctly. After the 5 months (3 good seasons), I could see what I was wearing & what was just taking up space. Wow. I filled a large bag of dress clothes. I probably eliminated ¼ to 1/3 of what was in my closet. Some items were worn out, most were in fair to excellent condition.

So they went into the “pile”. The pile that just keeps growing. I’ve tried garage sales – epic waste of time. I’ve tried contacting local shelters – most won’t take used clothing. On that… I would be disheartened if I had to filter through someone else’s scraps too, so I can’t really blame them. I’ve donated to local thrift shops – and will again. But really, I dislike giving something away to a place where a person has to buy it – when I am willing to just give it to that person.

In an effort to find “that person” who wants or needs something, I often take to facebook. I post the list on my page and in various groups I am a member of. The results are mixed. Sometimes I get a response, mostly I don’t. And the response I get is just a few people. I’m not sure why.
Do people worry that accepting free things makes them appear “hard up”?
Are they wary of strings attached?

I think it is time to take back control of our consumption. If I have something I’m not using & you need it… here – take it. If you have something I need… great – thank you. Passing on, trade, sharing… we can significantly reduce our consumption & costs, we just have to want it. I’ve heard of tool banks, car sharing, free swap sites, and parties among friends where you “shop” their closets. Look at libraries, they’ve been doing this successfully for years.

With more people on board, more things become available, there is more organization, rules are set in place (no broken stuff, etc), & less money is spent. We all win.

I’m going to try harder & check out Anyone got a bundt pan?