This post marks 1 year since I began to journal my journey to financial independence [and life]. That is a good time for some reflection. That year went by FAST. First, let’s get the standard financial details out of the way.
Here are my financial details as of November 30th, 2013:
Current Savings: $24,884.01
Current Savings Rate: 39.12%
Over the past year, my savings are lower than I anticipated, and this is due to the unanticipated costs of supporting two people [including me] whilst finishing my degree. But if this was all smooth sailing, that wouldn’t be a very interesting life. As my singular regular reader knows, I have been supporting my girlfriend since we moved in together sometime in Spring 2013. This has put me in a corner. I feel my options are to keep supporting her and do what I can to help her find a way to contribute, or to let her know I am no longer going to support her and she’d likely have to move back in with her parents. I have been choosing the former…but there are times when the latter is on the tip of my tongue. Relationships. Things between us aren’t the way they used to be. This situation will be changing soon. Becca plans to move out. Financially, this is relieving and exciting [thinking of the huge savings!]. But emotionally it is a little more complicated. We were definitely best friends, and lovers. We spent an enormous amount of time together the last 7 and a half years. Our story is pretty romantic. No matter where we go from here – I am so happy I got to experience this. I have grown and learned so much thanks to her and her family. It helped me withdraw from typical high school and university culture too, which I think is for the best. I might have blown all my money, gotten lost in all that alcohol and sex (Pfft, who am I kidding?), and wake up with regret, if I’m lucky, at 40. Now I don’t even drink. I just smoke the herb. And eat some mushrooms once in awhile. I have plans to ‘reset’ my finances when this happens. My expenses will change a lot and the current averages I use will be pretty useless. I think I’m gonna revamp the format of these journals as well to spice things up a bit 🙂
I feel as though most of the content on this blog is financial focused at the moment. Mostly in my journals, but the comments and thoughts I show in other posts are generally financial mindset comments. Where as in actuality, I feel my thoughts have begun to move away from finance. I think in large part, I am on financial cruise control. I have been more so trying to figure out how I should live; attempting too find a truly valuable way to spend my very limited life energy. I’ve been trying to think about what it is I would do if I as an example, needed no money or had all the money in the world at my disposal.
Along with that, I have been thinking about the consequences of my actions on everyone and everything around me, including the very precious environment. I have been trying not to waste or throw out things. I can’t remember the last time I bought paper towel. I just ran out one day and I didn’t want to buy more because of how wasteful it is. I’ve started using reusable rags. Also thinking of doing this for toilet paper. Or maybe a bidet. But I just bought a pack of toilet paper..so not quite there yet.
I don’t bus, even though I have a free bus pass. I don’t want to rely on it. I bike everywhere. I throw 40lb sacks of rice on my rear rack. I don’t even own paniers yet; keeping an eye out for a good used set. I use my backpack and hang reusable bags off my handle bars, then pull them up as high as I can so there is no slack from the handles letting it swing wildly around as I commute. I have been going to lengths to design my life so as not to need to rely on things like buses on an every day basis. A rare occurrence is another story, but even then with proper planning it could be avoided. Some would say it doesn’t matter: I can get on the bus for free and it would be running anyways, so what would change? And I suppose at a level this is true. But WHY is the bus running? Because people use it. So if people designed their lives to bike instead of bus, the bus wouldn’t be running and that logic wouldn’t fly. But I’d still rather see people bus than drive large 5 person cars for a daily solo commute. My girlfriend has been considering going to school in Toronto, as she thinks this will help her be happy (it is something interesting: holistic nutrition, it is something that will allow her to get a rewarding job, it will give her self-esteem and a point of pride, it will help her be healthier (and friends, and family), etc) and since she lives in Hamilton has been considering busing over there for classes. This is what I mean by designing it in your life. If she does that, she is relying on many things and most of those things are destroying the world, so she is contributing to that. The construction of buses, the fuel, and since the bus will break down, disposing of it. [there are indeed other reasons too!]. I don’t want to feel reliant on something I wish didn’t really exist [in its current form at least…I have nothing conceptually wrong about fast travel that doesn’t do harm], y’know?
I have been making an effort to minimize my belongings and I think I own much much less than most people do. This is a point of pride for me, and it really clears my head. The simple lifestyle is for me, that’s for sure. It aligns with all my values. I harm the environment less by buying and disposing of less stuff, I harm my wallet less. It let’s me focus on the important things in life, and not my gadgets and other gizmos. It is easier to think and meditate. It is easier to write. I don’t have to take care of things, or worry about their well-being. I am enamored with the idea of being able to pack a backpack and leave the country without feeling like I am forgetting or missing something. I don’t think I’m at that point yet. But I haven’t tried. So maybe I am. I’m sure a lot of it is mental. If I could just convince myself I don’t need anything that won’t fit in my backpack…
I have been eating a very clean diet for awhile now and I am appreciating its benefits. Every day I drink 1-1.5 liters of blended fruits and vegetables for breakfast. I enjoy that. Then I usually snack throughout the day on various foods such as raw fruit (bananas, dates, apples, mangoes, melons, cantaloupe, etc..). I still eat cooked food on a daily basis, but it is always cooked using whole foods. I make giant batches of soup from carrots, onion, celery, garlic, spinach, lentils, and broth. Adding tomato paste to that while cooking is really good too. I wish more people saw eye to eye with me on nutrition. I can’t believe how some people eat, but I can understand because I used to do the same. I’m just so far from that now that I can’t recognize the person I used to be who would choose to eat Toaster Strudels for breakfast and Mr. Noodles for lunch.
My financial journey has been fun so far. The next year will be awesome. Like all the ones before it. And all the ones after it. It’s amazing that we’re all alive together, experiencing this thing. Enjoy it, because it will be gone before you know it! Aah, life. But your impending and inevitable death only makes it more precious. Try to channel the fact that soon you will be dead and nothing will matter into a force you can use today -RIGHT NOW- to live life as yourself. Express yourself fully. Haters will hate, lovers will love. Neither matters. You are being you. Don’t be afraid. You are perfect.