Gifts and Reflections

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The year is almost over and it feels like a time for reflection.

My first reflection is – this year sucked balls. And not in the good way. :/

My youngest was cheated out of his final year of competing in track and had his graduation repeatedly postponed. My oldest and I were out of work when schools closed. The pandemic has hit hard and everything has changed.

But not every change was bad.

Yes, my youngest missed competing. I think that bothered me more than it did him. His graduation was postponed several times, but it did eventually happen. Though my oldest and I were out of work, we were lucky that my husband is an essential worker and we avoided much of the financial hardship that many others experienced (and may still be experiencing).

Personally, though the reason was terrible, the ability to slow down and spend more time with my family was a gift. We spend so much time rushing here, there, and everywhere that often what is really important gets shoved to the back burner. This year I have spent more time than ever with my children – and it has been wonderful. No games to rush off to, no practices, nothing to distract us from each other. We have always eaten dinner together, but when the whole world slowed down, it seemed like we suddenly had time (and permission) to slow down and just take a breath.

That was another gift for me this year – I have seen how different my life can be when I am not constantly rushing around, worrying about ‘living my best life’ and trying to be ‘successful.’ I was free to just enjoy whatever made me happy – doing jigsaws, painting minis, and spending time with my loved ones. I imagine it’s somewhat how retirement feels – knowing that you can live without having to kill yourself working.

After this year, my views on how I want to live my life have changed. I have wanted to downsize and minimize for years. But now I have seen how much better my life could be if we weren’t spending all of our time working to afford the house we are rarely in, driving cars we have to work to afford, etc. If having less ‘stuff’ means I can relax and focus on things that mean something to me, that’s what I want to do.

It has given me even greater incentive to become debt-free. My husband and I sat down last night and discussed our financial goals for the new year. Paying off our last few debts is top of the list, of course. We also discussed smaller goals – like saving up for things. We both want new phones – his has a broken screen and mine is his hand-me-down from 4 phones ago. I have been putting money aside for just such things and we are able to outright purchase the phone he wants. That felt really good – being able to say, yes, okay, get the thing – and to pay for it in cash, with no payment plan and all the bs that goes along with them.

So I have set some goals for myself, both long and short term. I am not someone who makes New Year’s Resolutions, but I do have specific goals that I want to achieve in the coming year.

Here’s hoping that 2021 is waaaaaaaay better than 2020. 😀

Facing My Fears

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Credit: Pixabay

It’s a strange time in the world right now.  However, it’s reminded me of something I forgot – your time on this earth is limited.  And no matter how much money you have, how many things you own – you can’t take it with you. I learned that lesson the hard way 10 years ago.

Since then, my focus has been on family and experiences.  Family and precious memories will keep you warmer and happier than any amounts of wealth ever will.  That’s not to say that money isn’t important – of course it is.  We all have physical needs – food, shelter, clothing.  But no amount of money can give you a hug when you’re feeling down, or make you laugh when you feel like crying.

Right now, we’re finding out just how much we as humans need that social interaction – even those of us who are introverts. 😀  I haven’t seen my sister in over a month – we talk almost every day, but we haven’t seen each other in that amount of time.  It’s crazy.

I’ve had a lot of time to think lately (probably too much), but I realized I lost sight of what is important to me.  We get so caught up in being ‘busy’ that we don’t realize we aren’t really getting anywhere or doing anything important.  We all have dreams and aspirations, but those get put on hold while life gets in the way.

I want to open my own business, but I’ve been letting my own fears hold me back.  What if it fails?  Am I crazy to launch a business in the middle of a global pandemic?  Should I save all our money instead of spending it on something that might not work?  Can I learn how to manage an online store and all the tech that goes along with it?

We want to move to Canada – our original goal was to retire there, but with my husband’s folks getting older, it seems prudent to move sooner rather than later.  That entails figuring out what my children want to do – do they want to move with us? What does that mean for their college education?  Can we all move together?  Will Canada even let us in?

Lots of questions, lots of fears, not a lot of answers.  But you shouldn’t let your fears hold you back from something you really want.  Will it be easy?  Probably not.  Does that mean it won’t be worth it?  Absolutely not.

So I am going to try and push through my own fears.  I’m going to work on getting that position I want at my current job.  I’m going to work on opening my online store.  And I’m going to work on figuring out how we can all move to Canada together.  There may be stepping stones along the way, and obstacles we have to face, but we can do it.

Family Business?

I’ve been working for the past several months on designs for my mandalas.  I have decided that I also want to make stickers to sell on Etsy.  That was my original plan, but then I got sidetracked by how much fun I was having with the mandalas.

I spent some time recently using my Silhouette cutting machine to make some craft kits for a preschool classroom.  It was so much fun, I may have to find other kits to make and sell!

Here’s the craft kit I made – they were doing a monster design for ‘M’ week, so I used my machine to cut out all the circles and horns for the monsters.  Enough for 40+ kids done in about 15 minutes.  It would have taken me all weekend to cut these by hand, not to mention they wouldn’t have been true circles.

Monster Craft Kit 2

My husband is getting in on the action, too.  He is working with vinyl rather than paper, and he’s been making vinyl decals for cars.  He made some for his car and his colleagues saw the decals and asked if he could make some designs for them.

He’s spent the last two weekends working on the computer, designing decals, and having a blast.  He told me yesterday that he really wants to invest some time into seeing if he can turn it into a viable small business.

Crossing my fingers that he can and we can turn this into a family business. 🙂  Now to get busy working on my own designs!