“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucious
Why do we as human beings live our lives bound and determined to make everything harder than it needs to be? Why aren’t we better at walking in a little bit of faith and really living in a way that “lets go and lets God?” Even for those who aren’t necessarily religious but work to live their lives in a way that lets life unfold before them, just to take firm control at a moment’s disruption. We’re the ones who make life so darn complicated.
Today, my goal is to continue to put one foot in front of the other, continue moving forward along the path I have set for myself, but to do so with mindful steps. While I am talking with my children about their first day of the new school year, I am going to be present with them rather than distracted and thinking of 10,000 other things. While I am sitting at my desk designing beautiful pieces of jewelry (which takes the form of staring at tiny details on a computer screen for hours at a time), I will focus completely on each detail of the design. While I am fixing dinner tonight or running on a trail, I will be there, then. For me, this is the first simple step in getting out of my own way, and allowing life to be a little more simple.
So, here I am with you now, encouraging you to also focus on being a smidge more “present” today, to get out of your own way and work on going a day without muddying the waters of life with stuff that doesn’t really matter or that will resolve itself in time if you will just insist on allowing life to unfold naturally.
It’s graduation week here, last week of school, celebrations everywhere, at all moments. Who has time during this time of year to focus on anything BUT the school kids? It’s been a great week for me, my little family, and friends as close as family. So, for something a touch different this week, I’d like to put this week to music:
FIELD DAY w/ my Little Bit
Although this song is no longer new, the kids at my youngest daughter’s school are still completely obsessed with this song, so any event features this song endlessly and the majority of the kids are up on their feet dancing, so full of smiles and happiness. It’s completely adorable!
WISHING I COULD BE EVERYWHERE AT ONCE
A year ago, I was living life with little to no sleep, squeezing the absolute most out of every hour, as my time in Wisconsin was coming to a close. These four girls, my co-workers at the neatest little coffee shop I’ve ever come across were with me every step of the way. I treasure these four ladies beyond words. This week, they’re doing the same without me, as one more of our tribe opens a new chapter in her life. I am incredibly excited for her, but it’s so bittersweet to miss them so, and know I am not there with them right now. LOVE YOU MEAN IT!!!!!!!!
EVERYONE GETS A YEAR OLDER AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
Birthdays are one thing, but one time of year all school-aged children get a year younger…and that’s on the last day of school. I have one who is now a senior, one now a junior, and one now a fourth grader…and I really can’t have this thought without choking up a bit. The end of the school year is a mental aging. It’s a beautiful, painful thing, as we celebrate the accomplishments and growing up of our amazing kids!
Last night, one of my oldest and dearest friends’ oldest graduated. She is a lovely young lady, destined for a beautiful life. Sitting up in the stands, watching these young people 20 years my juniors graduate high school and turn that tassel was so fun.
Then, I saw that their class graduation song was…
…and I had to take a moment to mentally send them good vibes that do NOT speak “stressed out” over their futures.
IT’S SUMMER, Y’ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is going to be a busy, beautiful summer for me and mine.
I’m sending YOU all smiles and dancy-good times with this, my official song choice of summer by JT.
This is the last week of school for my children, and although in many ways they are excited…there’s a flip side to their excitement. You see, each year as school winds down, I ramp up with my “GREAT MOM IDEAS” to keep the kids active, alert, and learning throughout the summer vacation.
Work, chore, and learning opportunities abound!
Projects and family-fun activities make my eyes brighten!!
Daily family fitness and “active play” ideas fill my mind!!!
…My kids hate this…
They’re not against doing stuff, but their Mom has a tendency to over-schedule their three months that are (to their minds) supposed to be a break from schedules.
So, once again I have busted out the notebook and been sprawling endless lists and schedules and time tables of what kinds of things we can be doing when, where, and how allllll summmmmmer long.
Oh yeah, kids…get ready! Momma’s got the summer well planned.
“Get up! There’s no sleeping in in summer!!!”
“I’ve been up since 4…it’s time to get up and have a great day!”
“I have the best idea for today! Remember how we talked about how great it would be if the garage were completely cleaned up and reorganized?!?!?!!!!”
“Let’s start running together, every day, as a family! How about getting up early before the summer heat sets in!”
Who can believe it’s already the end of April? I’m pretty sure the ball just dropped in NYC three days ago…
The kids and I have about 30 minutes every school day when we have nothing to do but sit in a parking lot and wait. We fill that waiting time binge watching Netflix, and this week we’ve been zeroed in on “Malcolm in the Middle.” For old-school me, it’s like a more recent version of “Rosanne;” so wrong but still so, so funny!
This week, I got a surprise in the mail from a sweet friend, Jennifer Paddock’s A Secret Word. I am looking forward to diving into this new-to-me (published in 2004) read, as the author is from Fort Smith, Arkansas. My family and I spent eight years living in Fort Smith, so the reference points in the book will be familiar and fun.
Prince & Other Music
Who isn’t listening to Prince this week since his passing on Thursday? I feel for you, I think I love you!
Prior to this hard sucker-punch to the music and arts, I was soaking up the sounds of Punch Brothers. Such diversity in sound. Such great lyrics and musical range. Once the world gets beyond Prince’s passing, I’ll be back to PB!
In Honor of Earth Day
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~Native American Proverb
Post From the Week I Most Want YOU to Read
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is winding down, but our passion for preventing sexual violence, rape, incest, and the like cannot pass with the passing of the month. Please check out my post: HEROES IN TEAL, and please watch the videos, and be inspired to knowledge rather than depressed. Let’s tackle issues like this with a survivor mentality over a victim mentality!
When our kiddos have performances, I tend to go through the range of emotions from “oh, yay, that sounds adorable,” to “you’ve gotta practice, you’ve gotta pick out your outfit, you’ve gotta do this and that to be ready,” to “how in the world am I going to ever fit this into my schedule,” to “OH MY GOSH…that was completely adorable and MY KID ROCKED!” to “how quickly can I get out of this school and onto the next critical thing on my daily to-do list?”
It’s no wonder we’re not sleeping, struggling to stay healthy, and fighting to keep our marriages and our families protected, happy and healthy. We have so much inner turmoil every day to the point we (I should say “I” and quit speaking for you) struggle to be in one place at a time, focused completely on that one thing or person or event or need.
Today, as I look through the pictures of Charlotte and her class, all smiles and joy and visions of great health and happiness, I realize that even with all of the apparent struggles of juggling life and kids and significant others and parents and friends and jobs, jobs, jobs, and organizations, and on and on and on…I believe we are all doing a pretty great job! Moments like this are validation that all of our hard work and stresses are well worth the effort!
Hang in there! Vent when you need to, and keep taking care of everything you have on your plate each and every day. Days like this make it alllll worth it 🙂
Have you “arrived,” financially speaking? What would your life look like if you had? What are the similarities and differences to your current reality?
In his bestselling book The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss has his readers go through an exercise he calls “Dreamlining.” The purpose of this dreamline is to think of things you could foresee having, doing, or being, over the next 6 to 12 months that would give you the security of being free to live your life the way you want to live it. I’m a HUGE fan of Ferriss’ work, both in this book and across media outlets, and I appreciate the basic premise of his dreamlining exercise.
Ferriss’ dreamline is an eye-opening experience, the basic point being that you oftentimes don’t really have to be earning much more money than you’re currently making to get the sense of more freedom and higher-quality living. As many 4HWW dreamlines as I have completed for various spans of time, I wanted to take it a step further. I would like to expand on Ferriss’ dreamline for my own purposes, and share with you.
We dream of making $100,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, or more dollars. As children, we all wanted to be bazillionaires, but as adults doing the daily grind of balancing work and family, those numbers have become a little more realistic…but how realistic are they, really? I could say I would like to earn $500,000 a year, but that’s just a pie-in-the-sky number if there’s nothing to back it up. Until you have actually done some of the math, you don’t really know what your truest goal annual income would be. This is where my update on Ferriss’ dreamline comes in.
I’m calling my update the True Earnings Goal Assessment (“TEGA”) and here’s how it works:
HAVING: List three (3) things you would like to have within the next 12 months. Would you like to have a new car? Would you like to have a solid college fund set up for your child(ren)? Would you like to have a facelift? Would you like to have an RV and the freedom and budget to travel? Would you like to have an office space outside of your home so you feel like you can work and focus without interruptions?
Once you have your list of your top three “haves,” put a price tag on them. If you want that new Subaru Outback that’s calling your name from the showroom floor, factor how much your monthly payments will be plus insurance. If you want $12,000 worth of plastic surgery, factor in $1,000 a month for that. If your new office is going to cost you $1,700 a month to rent and operate, factor that in, too. Whatever it is you want to have in the next 12 months, estimate the monthly expense would be, if it’s of top three priority to you then it makes the list!
BEING: Similarly, list three (3) ways you would like to be within the next 12 months. Would you like to be a great pastry chef? Would that entail going to culinary school, and if so, how much would that cost you? Would you like to be a skilled photographer? How much would classes at your area camera shops cost you and add to your dream? Would you like to be a triathlete? Do you already have the gear you would need or would you need to purchase it? Would swim lessons or tri classes help you better prepare for your goal of triathlon success? Now, estimate your monthly expenses for being each of your top three priority items and add those to your list!
DOING: Again, list three (3) things you would like to do within the next 12 months. Why not choose now to begin (doing) an annual family tradition like trips to Disney World or visiting all 50 states? Would you feel so much better to be actively repaying (doing) an old debt that’s been looming for too long? Take this opportunity to make that happen and get that monkey off of your back! How would it sound to even keep it closer to home and plan (doing) a weekend get-away for just you and the love of your life to go off to a cabin in the woods and just enjoy the peace and quiet of some alone time? What would your monthly budget look like to be doing each of your top three priority items in this category?
Now, on to the math (AKA: the fun part).
Calculate your current monthly living expenses and multiply that amount by 1.3 to allow for a little wiggle room in case of emergencies or whatnot.
Add up your monthly HAVING dream total.
Add up your monthly BEING dream total.
Add up your monthly DOING dream total.
Calculate the total monthly expenses of these four items (current expenses x 1.3, having, being, and doing).
Multiply that monthly total by 12 to arrive at your annual earnings goal amount.
THAT, my friends, is your truest earnings goal amount. THAT is the income amount to strive towards, not some random number picked out of thin air. There’s a difference in setting the bar high and setting it too high to realistically reach. Your goals have to be attainable or you’ll quit just shy of success. For example, prior to doing this modified version of Ferriss’ dreamline, my random goal earning amount was $150k. Boy, was I surprised that even with all of the BIG ticket items I put on my TEGA, my true annual goal earning amount was just $82,200. That number is almost half what I previously thought I would have to have to live large and in charge in my own little world! This was a huge relief and pleasant surprise!!!
Depending on your current lifestyle, your numbers are likely significantly different than mine. But, I hope you find–as I did–that having a hard number to put on your dreams as you go through your life and business choices will make your work more productive, your choices more fact-based, and your dreams much more attainable. You don’t have to be a bazillionaire to feel like you have “arrived” at financial freedom. You have a number, it’s just up to you to find that number, then strive for it.
If I were expecting another child, my patience and anticipation would be running on high-throttle by now! It’s been 6 1/2 months since my last post and I…have…missed…you!
Since we’ve last met here, so much has happened.
The whole reason my family moved five states away from most of our family has dissolved…but everything happens for a reason! I had a 15-minute self-pity party about…oh…6 and a half months ago, and then I got over it, but it definitely rocked my world a bit.
My oldest step-son and his lovely wife had an incredibly adorable daughter, which makes me a practice grandmother so I’m completely and utterly overwhelmed with love over that blessing!
I became the Head Coach for the Poms Dance Squad at our high school…a job that I LOVE and have a great passion for, but that I began just enough behind the eight-ball to feel like I’ve been behind schedule for months, now.
My children still at home were out for a very long, very busy, mostly pleasurable summer…then, they went back to school for an even busier, somewhat pleasurable school year.
Life keeps moving at a whirlwind pace…and when it’s not moving, moving, moving, I find a way to kick up some dust and get it up and running, again!
Last night, however, was the moment that shook me back awake and brought me back to y’all! Last night, I realized that ONE of my YouTube channel videos has been viewed over 46,000 times! Holy Cow!!! Now, I know…I know…there are YouTubers out there who have more subscribers than that, they have that many and more hits on EVERY one of their videos, they have big advertising checks that sustain their “job” as a YouTuber, BUT that’s them…this is ME…and I am PUMPED about my 46k views!!!!!!! What??? You’d like to know which video it was that was oh, so popular? Great news, I’ll totally take you to it: https://marilynhorton.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/diy-day-organizational-fun.
The numbers mean nothing without interaction, though, and that’s where I have definitely fallen off the wagon. I’m so thankful for last night’s epiphany, as it was just the nudge I needed to quit talking about what I want to do and DO IT!