FOMO: A New Perspective

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For Christmas, I gave my sister an ornament. You know the ones…it has the year on it and then you add a cute family picture from that year. The picture I chose was a funny memory because we had to figure out using my ring tripod, and wrangle the kids off of their devices, then squish everyone into the frame and set the timer. We captured what we thought were great pics. Only to realize that my niece had been crossing her eyes in every single freaking picture. It was annoying and completely laugh-worthy.

So of course, I had to put that picture in the ornament. But what I realized as my sister opened the package at Christmas, was that my oldest niece wasn’t in the pic. And I felt so bad for selecting that picture. I apologized a couple of times and told my sister that she should feel free to replace the picture with one that includes my oldest niece. And my sister said to me, no, this is the picture that we will look back on and remember that niecey pooh wasn’t there because she was off at college.

I was so shocked at how simple and perfect that perspective was. What a new way of looking at this scenario. Maybe it’s just my family, but we do tend to acknowledge when all of the siblings are at an event, or all of the cousins, or all of the boys, or all of the grandkids. And when we photograph those events and someone is missing from the group, we do point out that all of the aunts/uncles/kids/etc. are there except so-and-so. And we do typically say that the picture would be so much better if the missing people were there. If that aunt was there or that grandchild was there to complete the group. We spend time focusing on who wasn’t there and how the picture would be better if they were in it.

But the thing I love about my sister’s response is that the absence of my niece is in itself a story. And this picture can remind us of how she was dedicated to school, even though it meant missing out on a family gathering that she would have liked to attend. We can commemorate the period of time that she was away at school through her absence from the picture.

There will always be times when people are missing from gatherings and events. Instead of creating a sense of guilt or sadness or FOMO around it, it’s so much better to focus on those who made it. It is more fruitful to acknowledge that people do have other things going on. We should choose to think of gatherings as a positive and joyous time to spend with the people in your presence, not a time to dwell on those who did not attend. That’s the perspective I’m going to try to have going forward.

Chime in–how do you handle FOMO?

My Week of Vegging: What I Watched, Read, and Made

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The week between Christmas and New Years is like…my favorite. I absolutely just let myself BE this week. I did not have anything planned, I didn’t force myself to do any work outside of “work” work, though I took off most of the week so that I could use up leave that I was about to lose. I just did whatever I felt like doing when I felt like doing it, and I REFUSED to let myself feel bad for sitting on my sofa vegging out when there are plenty of things I “should” have been doing. Here’s what I got up to during my winter break.

What I watched:

  • Loot with Mya Rudolph (Apple+); Season 1, Ep. 1 – Cute first eppy about an uber rich woman and the charity organization that she didn’t know she ran. Definitely made me chuckle
  • White Lotus (HBOMax); Season 2, Ep. 1-3 – Such a strange, odd, slow-moving show that I can’t stop watching, just like Season 1, which shows that misery comes in all tax brackets
  • True Believers (Hulu); Season 1, Ep. 5 and 6 – It is fascinating to me how people get sucked into cults
  • Love, Victor (Hulu); Season 3, Ep. 5 and 6 – Adorable LGBTQ show about high school love and relationships
  • The Thing About Harry (Hulu) – Perfect feel-good LGBTQ love story about high school enemies that meet in college, and then again as adults
  • The China Hu$tle (Hulu) – A Wall Street heist documentary about Chinese companies and the U.S. stock market. The rich get richer…what’s new…
  • Blood & Water (Netflix); Season 1, Ep. 1-3 – A mystery show set in a prep school in South Africa. So cool and refreshing seeing a show set in Africa, and the plot sucked me in
  • Sex Lives of College Girls (HBOMax), Season 1, Ep. 1-4 -Funny show about dorm mates that makes me kinda wish I was back in college
  • The Big Conn (Apple+) – Gotta stay on top of all the scams, and there are a-plenty
  • Radio Christmas with Keisha Knight Pulliam (Hulu) – So incredibly cheesy. I don’t know what else to say lol
  • Baking Spirits Bright (Hulu) – A movie about fruitcake and Christmas. It is so hard to believe people really eat fruitcake
  • A Majestic Christmas (Hulu) – An architect goes to her hometown to save the town theater that’s being torn down by new owner who hates Christmas
  • A Picture Perfect Holiday with Tatyana Ali (Hulu) – A cabin is double booked by two photographers for the town’s Christmas photography retreat so…you know…will they fall in love or won’t they? Hmmm…

Apparently, I love watching Christmas movies while commenting indignantly about how unrealistic and cheesy they are, and about logical solutions that made way more sense than what the characters decided to do. Oh, and about the flaws in the plot…because they are so realistic. But I also love them so much, so I just keep watching them. Even if they are cringeworthy.

What I Read

  • The Weight of Your Wishes by Bailey Nicole – an age gap, MM, happily ever after story.

My sweet bestie bought me a Kindle last year, but my whole reading game changed when I broke down and got Kindle Unlimited a few months ago. I am now reading one to two books per week. I have never been a big reader, but when I can easily access books that are of interest to me, I just roll right from one book to the next without blinking. And my interests don’t have to be everybody else’s interests for me to enjoy my reading time. So I read whatever makes me happy.

What I organized

  • Shoes at the entryway – It’s amazing what a stylish box stored in a bookcase can do. I had been searching for shoe storage cabinets that would fit into the small space that I had by my doorway and I just could not find something that fit my needs.
  • My payment and budget calendar for the year – It’s never too soon to plan out your pay days and holidays.
  • My finances spreadsheet for the year – Updated all of my balances, due dates, and amounts due. Gotta know your numbers.
  • My old email mailbox that is completely full – Started purging and deleting messages and I finally have one percent of free space.

What I crafted

  • Pom poms (I’m obsessed!) – It became my mindless, soothing thing to do while I watch tv. There’s something calming about snipping yarn. I plan to add these to some baskets and to make some garland.
  • My first latchhook – I thought I may like this as a craft but I don’t think it’s for me. I didn’t complete my project but I got far enough to realize I don’t think it’s my cup of tea. I may revisit it down the road.
  • Finished off wreath for a friend – I made a wreath for myself using pinterest tutorials, and a friend asked me to make one for them. It took me a while to figure out the right technique and to get things arranged just right. I am still learning and figuring things out, but I like the end result.

How did you spend your week between holidays? Hopefully you rested and relaxed and recharged. Let me know what you got up to during Veg Week. And definitely let me know if you’re watching or reading anything that I need to check out. Sometimes I feel like I have reached the end of everything on the streaming services.

Chat soon!

My Thoughts on The Great Resignation

The pandemic and working from home has led to quite a revolution in the workforce.  People are realizing that life as we had been living it before the pandemic is not where it’s at.  Priorities have changed and this has led to people being fed up. People are feeling empowered to make changes.  People are realizing their worth, realizing what they want, and realizing that employment as we’ve known it is for the birds. And though I didn’t get it at first, I NOW GET IT!

Personally, I have had some realizations about work and life during this pandemic, and I cannot see going back to life as I knew it before this all happened. I feel like my life’s priorities do not line up with working the way I did before the pandemic.  And I feel like I just cannot see going back to the way things were.

People are realizing their worth, realizing what they want, and realizing that employment as we’ve known it is for the birds. And though I didn’t get it at first, I NOW GET IT!

I’m sure that along with the rest of the world, after two years of remote working, I now realize that going to an office every single day is for the birds. Don’t get me wrong, I know for some occupations, it’s required. I wouldn’t expect my dentist to virtually clean my teeth, no more than I’d expect my mechanic to virtually change my oil. I know for a lot of people, there was no such thing as working from home.

But for the millions of office workers and paper pushers like myself, working from home is what we did during the pandemic. Once upon a time, working 100% remotely once seemed like an impossibility–like…we really felt like there’s no way in earth we could fully operate without stepping foot into an office space.

What about our files and our print-outs and faxes and mail???

But obviously, we did it. And we did it darn well. And while doing it, we discovered a lot of things about what’s important in life and what’s not. Spending more time at home helping kids with school work easily outweighs devoting that same time to being in a car commuting. We’ve discovered hobbies and recipes, we’ve enhanced relationships and we’ve explored and vacationed more than normal–things that were at the very least made more difficult when we had a requirement to be physically present in an office.

I realize that I have it good when it comes to work.  I get paid very well, I have a lot of flexibility, before the pandemic, I did work three days from home, and when it comes to work-related stress, that really is quite low.  So, I have no plans to resign.

HOWEVER…there are some things I also have no interest in doing again. Ever. And I hope I can align my life up to these preferences in the near future.

So now that the return-to-work announcement seems imminent, I’m realizing that there are some things I haven’t missed and that I have no interest in returning to.

  • Spending 20 hours of my work week in a car fussing about my commute and crazy @ss drivers
  • Fussing over work outfits
  • Carrying around flat shoe and a work shoe (and a gym shoe if I plan to work out during lunch)
  • Mentally allocating hours and hours preparing for work and the associated logistics of getting to the office
  • Living my life around when traffic starts and ends
  • Spending money on just getting to, and being in, the office. (Gas, car wear and tear, meals out, coffee on the go, etc.)
  • Missing out on things because I can’t get there in time if I’m coming from work
  • Feeling like a race starts the moment I hit the door in the evenings (because things I’ve done during the workday during the pandemic, I’m unable to do if I’m in the office…such as running an errand that takes 10 minutes from your home but that’s not possible to do in a reasonable timeframe from the office, marinating chicken, doing laundry, prepping meals, going to a fitness class by my home that I can’t make it to in time from the office)
  • Attending meetings in person that could be an email, a phone call, Teams/Skype message, or a virtual meeting
  • Constantly being in a state of meal planning because I have to take lunch and breakfast to the office and then have an easy-to-make meal at home for dinner because I have to go to bed in two hours.
  • Going to bed two hours after I get home
  • Living off of convenient meals because there’s no time to cook and prep
  • Waking up before 8am. I literally cannot believe that I woke up at 6am and often didn’t start working until 9.  THREE HOURS wasted every single day.
  • Dealing with work drama.  So much of that disappears when you don’t have to deal with in-person foolishness.  I don’t see you, you don’t see me, and at the end of the day, I sign off and live my life. 
  • Not focusing on my side hustle and other interests because all of my free time and mental space is devoted to work things.
  • Spending money on clothing just to go to the office
  • Shoveling snow or dealing with inclement weather just to get to or from the office.
  • Awkward pot lucks
  • Paying for dry cleaning
  • The ability to zone out in the middle of the day which is not possible in the office because you always have to be “on”

This is just my starter list. There are so many more things I have no interest in dealing with once we are required to return to work. What have you not missed since being on full-time remote work? Anything on my list? What are your thoughts on the Great Resignation?

Weekly Roundup: A few things from the interwebs

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Here’s my roundup of things of interest that I saw around the web this week. Of course I avoided all of the crappity crap news, because I’m sure we’ve all seen plenty of that. UGH. My roundup is as follows…

FOOD: Today we had a southwest chicken and veggie soup which we’ve made quite a few times. In general, whenever we make it, the soup has the same ingredients, but it depends on what we have on-hand. Our version is very similar to this recipe by The Blond Cook. We usually have shredded chicken, onions, diced tomatoes (seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano), spinach and/or kale, corn, black beans, some mixed veggies, chicken broth, and taco seasoning. Top with a little shredded cheese, cilantro, and/or tortilla strips. It’s a no-fail soup. Healthy, filling, and so good! This is a great soup to throw into the crockpot and let do its thing for a few hours.

WEDDING DECOR IDEA: I’ve been doing a lot of random craft projects that involve embroidery hoops so when I saw this idea on rockmywedding.co.uk, I just thought it was super cute and super simple. Such a whimsical way to include important moments and people without being super fussy.

PAPER: I’ve tried for years to slow down on needlessly buying paper but unfortunately, my love of stationery is a battle that I always lose. With an accumulation of notebooks, list pads, binders and planners, sometimes they just sit idle until I figure out how I want to use them. So I was happy to see this list by lavendaire.com of 11 ways to fill your notebooks. It also made me feel less alone, since clearly other people buy notebooks first, then figure out what to do with them second. The list includes some things like gratitude journal, success journal, and sketches. If you’re looking for ways to use your notebooks, this may help.

HEALTH: Spring is springing where I live. While it did just snow two days ago, there are still some signs that spring is afoot. With spring of course comes allergies. So I thought this article about 7 natural ways to combat spring allergies was actually quite informative. One of the common sense tips includes removing your clothes as soon as you walk in to prevent spreading pollen around your home…I mean, duh! Such a simple thing to do yet I don’t typically do this. It makes so much sense and would probably help keep the pollen spread in my home to a minimum.

JOURNALING: Journaling has become a really popular way to help clear your headspace, track habits, and document things going on in your life. I love this list of nighttime journaling topics that I spotted on pinterest. And of course, this is something else you can put in those notebooks you purchased.

Intentional Spending: Frugal vs. Cheap

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I’m in a facebook group for frugal living and a question came up regarding personal care spending.  The question went something like this: 

“Do you spend a lot for your shampoo?  I believe mine is making my hair fall out. “

The responses ranged from “do not skimp on caring for yourself” to “this could be related to something other than shampoo, such as thyroid issues or vitamin deficiencies.”  But the responses were consistently and unanimously on the side of not skimping on personal care items when choosing frugality could possibly cause you harm.

Obviously there’s no way for the internet congregation to know whether cheap shampoo is actually the cause of her issues, but assuming it is, then the group definitely sided with self-care over being cheap.

It made me realize that sometimes choosing a positive lifestyle choice, be it with your finances, your fitness or anything in between, being so extreme that it’s causing more harm than good is not the way to go.  While I can’t say that this is or isn’t the case for this particular person, there are many times that people put a goal over safety or good decision-making.  And that can be dangerous. 

I love being in groups sometimes because they do often bring out interesting discussions, and this group did bring up some pretty good points.  Here are some thinkable moments that came out of the discussion:

You only get one body.  Take care of it.  This should be a no-brainer but it’s a good mantra to keep in mind for so many reasons.  I know that I take my body for granted every single day.  And I need to stop that. 

Skimp in other areas so that you can pamper yourself and your body.  I think this is a great idea.  I have never been an every-two-weeks mani/pedi girl, and I don’t go to the hair salon often at all, but I do believe that you should figure out how to set aside money to pamper your body from time to time.  Massages, hair treatments, whatever is important to you…figure out how to incorporate it into your life in a way that makes sense financially.  Sinking funds or cash envelopes are a great way to budget for these items.

I don’t go to salons, but I buy nice quality items to give myself nice at-home hair treatments and manicures.  There are great products in the store that are affordable.  Figure out those great products that work for your hair and your skin.  Look for them when they are on sale, grab a coupon, or take advantage of specials.  And honestly, this is possibly a splurge area for me.  I have a face cream that I love, but I’ve also found a good store brand knock-off, so I alternate each time I purchase face cream:  one month cheap stuff, one month good stuff.  But for me, I’d rather spend the money to do upkeep versus spend a lot of money down the road trying to correct issues that could have been avoided. 

You should see a doctor/dermatologist/nutritionist/etc.  Let’s face it.  There are a lot of people who only go to the doctor if they are truly debilitated.  Things that are labeled as small, cosmetic, or discretionary are often overlooked until it spirals into a more serious issue.  I’m not sure if this is a frugal thing or not.  For some, it could be, but for others, it may be a hassle that just doesn’t rise to the occasion of a doctor’s appointment.  These “small” symptoms can often be the piece of a larger puzzle.  Squeeze those doctor’s appointments into your schedule.  They could be crucial for catching something before it’s too late.  Quick story which I plan to blog about later…a visit to the dermatologist for something I chalked up to my own vanity ended up catching a malignant tumor for me in November of this past year.  It wasn’t causing me pain, it was just annoying and I hated looking at it.  Even the dermatologist told me it was nothing, and said I didn’t have to do anything unless I wanted to.  And when it was removed and biopsied, the result was skin cancer.  So yeah, that’s my quick lesson about getting “little” things checked out. You just never know.

Try a different product. Many people in the group provided product suggestions.  Sometimes people feel like there’s only one product that works for them.  And while there’s no real way to tell if something that works for an internet stranger will also work for you, at least it does get you into thinking about other options.  Some people have been buying the same shampoo since the 90’s.  It’s routine and it’s comfortable.  But it could also be time to venture out to something new.  Our bodies change over time, hair included, and another product could be a better option for you.  Doing a little research and trial and error could be the answer.

I agreed with all of these points, but I question how frugal someone is living if it means that something as dramatic as hair loss still makes them question whether they should spend a few extra dollars.  In the days of extreme couponing and store discount cards, there are a lot of people that make big decisions based on price—even if the price difference is insignificantly small and does not justify buying the cheap product over the more expensive option. I shop based on price comparisons quite a bit, and a lot of times I regret skimping. 

Where do you stand on the issue? I have often times opted for cheap when I should have splurged, and vice versa. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is right, but I definitely feel like you should spend money when the cheap way is causing you harm.

What’s something you’re always cheap on? What do you always splurge for?