Sowing Seeds, Sinking Funds & 6AM

basil seedlings

Sowing Seeds

The last few weeks I’ve been sowing seeds. Both inside and outdoors. So far nothing has sprouted outdoors in the pots on the balcony, so I’ve tried a second set of seeds. Indoors the basil made an appearance! In a few weeks it will go outdoors. I’m looking forward to fresh basil this summer and maybe I’ll try some basil lemonade!

Sinking Funds

Since my federal student loans were forgiven last year, I’ve been super focused on my finances. Not having that debt feels like a second lease on life. I’ve made progress eliminating more debt and increasing my savings and investments. Before it all felt kind of pointless. Now I feel so much better and I’m enjoying learning more about personal finance.

I’ve set up different savings accounts to pay for things that I will need in the future, but didn’t realize that there was a name for them until recently. They’re called sinking funds. I have them set up, so that every week, money is automatically pulled from my main checking account and funneled into these different savings accounts.

One of the sinking funds that I’ve set up is for dental expenses. I don’t have dental insurance, so I pay for everything out of pocket. It really gets pricey, but it’s predictable. I don’t want to charge these expenses and end up paying interest on them. Which is what I was doing before. Not a good move.

For the longest time, I have been putting off getting a crown. I finally had it done! Since I had been saving for it, I was able to charge it, then pay it off right away. I got the points, but no interest! Since teeth cleanings and x-rays are predictable expenses, there’s no good reason not to prepare for them in advance.

6:00 AM

This week is going to be a busy one and the weather is going to be nice. It’s easier for me to get up early when it’s sunny and warm. So this seems like a good week to try getting up every day at 6am. I usually get up around 7:30am, so this is much earlier for me. It’s another lifestyle experiment, so I’ll see how it goes.

Hope you have a good week!

Caregiving is Hard

Back at the end of November, when I decided to blog twice a week, I didn’t know what life had in store. During the holiday season, both my mom and brother started having increased health issues. Things have gotten progressively worse since then. While they don’t live with me, I’m the primary caregiver for both of them. Caregiving is hard.

I try to do all I can to help them, but it also takes an emotional toll. It hurts to see them hurting. And there is nothing that I can do about that.

My ability to cope with it all has diminished significantly. I don’t know that my twice a week blogging schedule is sustainable. Not that anyone is forcing me. It was a promise to myself first. But I have to focus on what I can do. I’m reaching out to to others and seeking resources to help with everything.

For now, I’ll shoot for posting once a week on Sundays. I don’t want to blog just to blog and not feel genuine in terms of my writing. I strive to create content that is not only interesting and helpful for me, but for others as well. When I don’t have the energy to write what I want, I don’t want to to just post filler. Which some posts feel like, even if they are kind of fun.

Maybe this is part of my answer in terms of deciding whether to continue blogging. I’m letting time be my guide as I continue this caregiving journey.

People Do Change

change

With 2024 just a hop, skip and a jump away, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m hoping for in the new year. Thinking about these goals means change. Changing what I’ve been doing, so I can get different results.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”

This quote and similar ones have been attributed to many people, including Jessie Potter, Jackie “Moms” Mabley and Albert Einstein. We may never know the truth of exactly who said exactly what, but the essence of this quote resonates with many people.

It all comes down to change. We can’t keep repeating what we’ve done in the past, if we want something new in the future.

When I was young, I remember always hearing people say, “People don’t change.” The older that I’ve gotten, I’ve come to realize that there is a lot of nuance to this saying with a few themes.

You Can’t Make People Change

One level of the saying that people don’t change is sort of true. What is most true would be to say, “You can’t make people change.” This is so absolutely painfully true. No matter how much we try and want to change someone, if they aren’t willing, there is nothing we can do.

We have to learn to let it go and maybe they can decide to change on their own. Whether we want to wait around and see if they change is up to each individual. Depending on what changes are needed and how they impact our lives, it might be best to make a change of our own and remove ourselves from their life.

Life Will Change You

In a way, it’s rather quaint to think that people don’t change. Even if we don’t want to change, things will happen to us over time that we could never expect. Accidents, illness and time will change us. They will definitely change our physical bodies.

Nobody stays young forever. Even if you are lucky enough to never deal with any accidents or illness, if you live to be 85 years old, your body will be different than when you are 35 years old. There will be many changes.

If you win the lottery, get a big promotion, get married and have children, you will change. The circumstances of your life will be different and usually it’s impossible to stay the same. A “new you” will be born. Our minds and ways of thinking will change and we adapt.

This reminds me of a post that I saw recently on Arielle Lorre‘s Instagram. I don’t follow her, so this just randomly came up in my feed and was quite serendipitous. Because I can be a worrier and need to find ways to stop. Below is what she says.

“I had a clinical psychologist on my podcast, who shared the best advice for worry that I’ll never forget. She said, ‘The version of you that will handle that tough thing – if or when it happens – will be born into existence in that moment … trust your future self to handle future problems.'”

The comments on her Instagram post are mixed. Some believe it and others say that sometimes that future self cannot handle those problems and are broken by them. I can’t argue with them, because sometimes life is too much and people literally die.

But also, sometimes we do rise to meet seemingly impossible circumstances. Over the past few years, I’ve dealt with a lot more than I thought I could. At 59 years old, I am a very different person than I was at 29 years old. That version of me was not ready to handle what I’ve handled over the past few years. And I’m so glad that she didn’t have to.

Live & Learn

This is sort of similar to life changing you. Through our life experiences we learn new things and sometimes realize that we were wrong. Maybe we were wrong about lots of things and can’t do much or anything to change the past. If we can seek forgiveness and make amends for what we’ve done, maybe we should, depending on what that entails. But that is very hard and can cause pain for ourselves and maybe others too.

Sometimes all we can do is accept what we’ve done and strive to do better in the future. I think this is something that most of us will go through at one time or another. If we weren’t the one that did wrong, we may have been the one who was wronged. Then we have to decide how to proceed if someone apologizes and seeks forgiveness from us.

We get to decide how to move forward. It took me a long time to truly realize that I’m the boss of me and act accordingly. I wish that I had known sooner. It now seems obvious. But over the years, I’ve realized how often I did not behave like I was the boss of my life.

I’m glad that I’ve had the ability to self-reflect, keep learning and change — often on my own terms. I’m grateful for what my past self was able to do to get me to the present. And I’ll trust in my future self to handle the rest.

A Few Unexpected Things

I’m so happy that I finally have this book! For the last few months, I kept hearing about Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and wanted to read it. I put it on hold at the library and it came in much sooner than expected. I just started reading it and was immediately pulled in with the first page. A very good sign!

So often things are unexpected and bad. When they’re unexpected and good, that’s the best.

That’s been happening with some plants. Overall, I have a green thumb and do extremely well with most plants. Except for a few. Two plants in particular that everyone always says are so easy to grow were never easy for me. Years ago I gave up on African violets and snake plants. I tried so many times and they always died. But now, I’m apparently a snake plant charmer and working magic with African violets too. Very unexpected!

Two movies that I watched recently had the exact opposite effects on me than expected. Part of it may have been that my expectations were too high for one and super low for the other.

When I first heard about the movie Past Lives, I wanted to see it immediately. It sounded perfect! A friend and I had planned to see it in the theater when it first came out. We could never get our schedules to work together and we missed seeing it.

Now it’s on Amazon Prime, so I watched it last week. I was disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but I expected to love it. It was somewhat slow, with some long drawn out scenes that didn’t need to be and started to feel tedious. I was glad to have not seen it in the theater. Further, the people that I wanted to end up together did not. It’s a love story that kind of broke my heart.

Also, somewhere in my mind, because of the title maybe, I was thinking time travel or magical realism, which are two of my favorite genres. It had neither. That’s on me. But it was a further disappointment.

The other movie, Meet Cute, is also on Amazon Prime. I think I found it on a list of good time travel movies. It stars Pete Davidson and Kaley Cuoco. I didn’t know much about her, except for that she was on The Big Bang Theory, which I watched a handful of times.

As for him, I enjoyed his SNL skits and hosting, but never understood all the woman flocking to him. What’s the deal!? I heard it’s just that he’s a really nice guy. He has a kind of sweet charm and magnetism that his role in this movie displayed.

Again, my expectations for this movie were very low, but I enjoyed it. There was actual time travel! It was the time loop variety like in Groundhog Day. I always find it interesting to see how the loop will end. The movie was different than I expected and gave Before Sunrise vibes, with lovely views of New York City.

So much in life is about managing expectation. Maybe it’s best to expect very little. But I always feel like that’s a negative way to be. Is it better to be delighted when not expecting much? I don’t know. That surprise is nice, but when you’re expecting a lot and manage to get even more, that’s the dream. I guess putting up with some disappointment is part of the deal.

Maybe it’s best to find a balance between the two and be somewhat neutral. Last week I bought some dollar scratch tickets from soda can deposit money. ‘Tis the season for holiday miracles and you have to be in it to win it!

I won five dollars on one of them. I reinvested and got a five dollar scratch ticket today. I wasn’t sure which one to get, so I asked for one that won a lot. A guy behind me said, “If it wins a lot, it won’t be there!”

Sheesh. I didn’t say anything and figured I’d leave it up to chance. I won twenty dollars! Unexpected! Time to reinvest!