Link love (Powered by anticipation)

nzmuse link love roundup

Here’s a fun one. How much do you wind up paying in traffic fines a year?

I would say we average a couple a year or so. Parking in Auckland is not as tight as it is in other bigger cities, so parking tickets aren’t usually our bugbear. (And by ‘our’ I mean ‘his’ since I don’t actually drive.) Instead, it’s generally cutting into bus lanes too soon when turning, or going over the speed limit. And since we have a history of owning sad old cars (the only kind we could afford) there have been a couple of fines for being between warrants of fitness.

I feel like it’s just one of these inevitables of life if you own a car, one that barely registers on the scale of ‘worth talking about’. That said … a couple of people on Facebook recently posted about getting tickets. One for having no warrant of fitness and being parked on the road as their house has no off street parking – OH HOW I SYMPATHISE – and the other one, well, I don’t recall, except for the fact she thought it was BS. Don’t we all, though?

 This week’s links

I am loving this Slate series, Best Laid Plans, featuring real people and their varied/unpredictable career paths

What it’s like when other people assume you’re white

When married partners have the same career goals

On money and control in a marriage

What’s your tripod of stability?

Thoughts on class and money (with a great comment thread)

On passive income vs crafting your work

Time to quit: pretending I’ll ever learn to cook

Lessons from a decade of work

The importance of rest

Would you pay for this? (Also: we’re going to Japan!)

We're going to Tokyo!
By: Luke Ma

I subscribe to a handful of travel deal newsletters, and among these is Jetstar’s weekly Friday flight alerts.

Normally I scan the subject line and delete right away. But one day in November last year, the phrase “2 for 1” caught my eye.

Even with all the add-ons that budget airlines slap you with, a 2 for 1 fare puts you well ahead! And thus, we’re going to Tokyo in September.

Assigned seats

Would you pay $5 to guarantee you and your travel partner could sit together on a flight?

Personally, I wasn’t sure at first. After all, on our flight from Reykjavik to New York, we didn’t get to choose our seats (either we checked in too late, or I missed that step somewhere along the line) and T and I wound up sitting several rows apart. And that was totally fine. It must be said, though, that this was toward the latter part of our trip , so we’d already spent a ton of time together.

But $10 (for both of us) per flight in the grand scheme of things is not a lot, so I stumped up.

Extra legroom

I am slightly toward the tall end of average for a woman and even I feel claustrophobic in economy class. So I have lots of sympathy for T.

I think it was on one of our short European flights that we got to change seats with another passenger in the exit row, and enjoy extra legroom for free. Let me tell you, that was a revelation!

Anyway, I balked at the $45 price tag for seats in the rows with extra leg room, but T‘s best sad face convinced me. And since it’s not possible to sit together and have only one person get extra leg room, that came to $90 per flight. (I would sit apart to save money, but apparently that wasn’t acceptable.)

It might even be worth it for me. I gotta say, the older you get, the more you’re willing to pay for comfort.

Hot food

The in flight meal menu looked absolutely dire. And this is where I drew the line. No way am I paying for what looks like a terrible attempt at a meat pie, or chicken and rice. Instead, we will fuel up and stock up at the airport before we leave.

Link love (Powered by dramas, and some resolutions)

nzmuse link love roundupY’all, things have been so wrong for so long. Relationships are jeezy when things are easy but bloody tough when life itself gets hard. So many times I’ve wondered if it was worth it – feeling shortchanged, struggling with who’s in the wrong, trying to apply rationality to a relationship and coming up with no definitive answers. We’re told that good things are worth fighting for, but the right things should come easily/naturally. Where is the line between clinging to the Titanic, and being a fairweather partner unwilling to stick it out through the bad?

(I wish life came with a rulebook. I’ve come to realise this is one of those decisions you have to make for yourself on an individual basis.)

As you read this, we should be up north for a wedding and spending the weekend away from home. I wasn’t sure we’d make it to this day, but we have. What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.

On that note, I want to share a couple of posts on brutal honesty:

On letting your guard down

It’s easier to hide behind a good story. It’s easier to crop things and filter things and pretend you are holding the world together all on your own. It’s easier to get validation from “likes” instead of hard conversations. We live in a world where slipping out the back door, quietly and unnoticeably, is easier than it used to be. We have more stuff to hide behind than ever before. More password-protected caves to store our identities inside of.

It all boils down to love and honesty and humility. It doesn’t always have to come in that order. Love to fill in the spaces. Honesty to sew up the gaps. Humility to keep us coming back to one another, more human than yesterday and more flawed than tomorrow will allow.

There’s something really lovely about finally being flawed, and seen, and hopeful.

And a reminder that no couple is perfect

When we start to look up to people, we don’t do it because we think they’re perfect. We do it because we like them, and we admire them. But then we get lost, and we end up comparing ourselves, and finding ourselves wanting—completely without evidence.

 The rest of this week’s links

Danielle and I are in totally the same boat on this – we even work in the same field – just swap Toronto for Auckland. Will we ever own a home?!

Work-from-home days are a lot cheaper for me now that unlimited broadband packages finally hit the market.  But still as Abby points out, there are a few other sneaky costs to consider…

Change is hard. Sometimes shit just happens. Tonya wrote a great post on getting through these growing pains

Does ‘fake it till you make it’ really work as a career strategy? Sam argues that it doesn’t

And I think we could all use a reminder from time to time that you’re not doing life wrong. Really.

 

The stories we tell ourselves

The stories we tell ourselvesThis summer I did a lot of self-reflection – going through upheaval in your life tends to encourage that.

I’ve always considered myself quite self-aware, but a couple of different people forced me to re-examine that notion in the midst of this turmoil. As a result, I found myself totally rethinking the entire trajectory of certain aspects of my life. It’s really quite frightening to re-frame, say, an entire relationship, a career path, or any other key element of your identity. It was eye-opening.

As Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” But I think it’s important to realise that there are also many different ways to connect the dots in your life. Like people see different things in the clouds or in Rorschach inkblots, you can interpret different things from those dots. I’ve only lived one life, and like most (all?) of you I’ve crafted a narrative about it to suit, but I could so easily pull out different points to plot a very different story.

The truth is subjective, and humans are complicated. We talk about a ‘single source of truth’ when it comes to web analytics, but unfortunately there’s no such thing when it comes to life. There are several possible versions of any personal narrative, and I suppose we’ll usually choose the one that paints the best possible picture – as Annalise on How to Get Away With Murder put it, “say it and you’ll believe it”.

I don’t know that the story I tell myself is the truest one. But maybe accuracy isn’t the best measure for these things. What matters is that you can live with it.

The problem with intensification in Auckland

 

Quite simply, we stink at it.

A colleague mentioned to me the other day that she’d walked past a construction site in Ponsonby, where there used to be a row of townhouses – one of which she’d lived in for a few months.

“What’s happening here?” she asked one of the workers.

“The houses were leaky. They had to knock them all down,” was the reply.

My neighbourhood was one of the early pioneers of denser suburban living, with a few different apartment and townhouse developments. They’re flagships, really, and have been the subject of local housing studies.

I have lived in the two main complexes: in one of the apartments, and in two different townhouses – so three properties in total. All have had, or are going to be, reclad. Yep, leakers, or if you prefer, with “remedial issues”. None felt solidly constructed, built to last. Two out of three were cramped; all of them had a weird layout with bathrooms in the middle of the building, with no outside ventilation. And honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of the demographics they attracted.

I used to hope I could eventually buy around here. It ain’t happening. We have looooong since been priced out. Possibly we could afford a townhouse, but I wouldn’t want to buy a place that I wouldn’t be happy living in – and I already know what it would be like, having been there and done that. Plus, the body corps (and of course you have to take those fees into account!) have rules about everything from pets to hanging out laundry. It really would be the worst of both worlds.

Another new development, more or less around the corner, is in the works. I really hope they get it right. Plan the mixed-use aspects, don’t rush it, and for the love of god deliver quality residential construction and materials. We need to break the vicious cycle we’re in.

Link love (Powered by soup and sleep)

nzmuse link love roundup

February = one big fat fail.

Good riddance to you!

May March be healthier, wealthier and awesomer.

This week’s links

The dilettante’s approach to a career

An awesome guide to starting an Etsy business 

How to find out about work-life balance when interviewing

Smart observations on jealousy (timely for me)

How much do you really hate the thing you hate?

 Happy weekends!

Webstock 2015: Three takeaways on life, writing and equality

Webstock 2015 highlightsI don’t think I’ve ever attended a conference purely for the sake of attending. I’ve always gone wearing a media pass, keeping an ear cocked for tweetable quotes and story angles that might justify my presence, to be typed up furiously in the breaks in between.

Webstock – probably best described as the conference all the cool kids are at – was a pretty good intro to conference-going in regards to, y’know, being a regular member of the audience. I picked up some digital goodness that’ll be useful in my line of work, but also some nuggets of personal inspiration:

Elle Luna

There is dignity in all work. Doing something for money doesn’t make it dirty.

A job, a career, and a calling are all separate beasts.

I’m glad that we seem to have progressed past the simplistic DO WHAT YOU LOVE movement and toward something more realistic. Your passion may not be what you do for a living, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing –  or, conversely, that your 9-5 isn’t worthwhile, either.

And I loved her tip for tapping into your ‘must': Think back to what you loved to do as a child. Ask your parents, if you can’t remember!

Kate Kiefer Lee

Say what you mean, and say it nicely.

Words to live by. As she pointed out, Maya Angelous famously said that the one thing people will never forget is how you made them feel. I am definitely guilty of letting my moods spill over into curtness in emails from time to time.

A handy tip for getting started writing when you’re stuck: Pose the topic to yourself as a question. Think of it as a conversation with someone. Write out what you would say as an answer. And then you’ve got a first draft!

And one for editing: Take out the boring parts, and the lies (courtesy of writer Anne Lamott).

Janet Crawford

A study found that mothers overestimate the crawling ability of male infants, and vice versa for female infants.

Talk about a punch to the gut – gender bias runs so deep in our society. Hers was a rousing call to action, a reminder that simply believing in gender equity isn’t enough – and women are fucking tired of carrying that mantle.

Tips? Check your job descriptions for gendered language – you might be surprised what you find upon closer inspection. Consider the types of social activities your workplace does. And think about your office setup/decor – this too can be pretty exclusionary.

Overall, I appreciated the mix of male and female speakers, and the fact that there were a few local as well as international talks. Designer Kris Sowersby’s self-effacing presentation (I still don’t quite get the technical, optical stuff, but I learned something about typography!) had us all in stitches, while  architect Nat Cheshire’s quietly devastating prose sent chills down many a spine and brought tears to my eyes (now we just need that kind of obsessive creative nature turned toward fixing the housing crisis). Oh, and learning about Banqer, a new startup that’s all about financial literacy – founded by a woman, to boot! May they be crazy successful.

What was the last conference you went to? Is there one you dream of attending? (Mine’s probably SxSW)

Link love (Powered by band-aids and coconut ice cream)

nzmuse link love roundupI’m curious: Among the couples out there, do you both always get sick when one of you does? How do you cope?

If you don’t always both get sick … how?! Is having a spare bedroom the answer?

As I write this, it’s the middle of the week and I’m still not over whatever it is that’s had me sick for nearly 2 weeks. Guh. By the time you read this, hopefully I will have been to Webstock in Wellington and had a blast and learned lots – it’s a conference I’ve always dreamed of going to. Yeah?

This week’s links

It’s okay not to be okay – we’re all broken sometimes

Thoughts about the comparison game

How lifestyle design blogs can stop you making a living online

What you wanna do ain’t always what you wanna be – so what are you willing to do in order to be what you want to be?

The trouble with copying successful people

The privileges that some of us start with

When you’re done with travelling

Musings on love

The 12 commandments of marriage

When you’re not the marrying kind

The show that sucked me back into reality TV

What’s a gal to do when tucked up in bed sick in the middle of summer?

Start watching TV – reality TV, even – again.

Normally I can’t stand reality shows, which is one of the reasons I’ve never watched The Block (despite my thing for houses). But I have been a little curious about Our First Home, as it’s something new…

The basic premise is this: Three families (one set of parents, one kid + partner) compete against each other. They have to buy a house in Auckland – bankrolled by the parents, obviously – live in it, renovate it, and sell it. Profits will go to the kids to use toward their own first home. The family that makes the most out of it, percentage wise, gets another $100k – a nice sum to go towards that down payment.

If they do well, they could come out sitting pretty, although in this case their profit might be taxed. (It’s all about the intention you have while buying, and this is a pretty clear cut example of intent to flip a property for profit, one being televised nationwide! NZ has no capital gains tax, however.)

To be perfectly honest, a part of me hates the privileged premise of this show. How many families can afford to take 10 weeks out of their lives to do something like this? And do we really need more people fueling the market by flicking on houses solely for profit? (All 3 families have a dad in the construction industry, to boot.)

But hey, at least this is an honest reality show – most first time buyers in Auckland need help from their parents. And they’re out there competing with everyone else for the same houses.

I was pleasantly surprised when one family, looking around a house that they really liked and was due to go to auction that afternoon, bowed out. After being filmed on the phone to the bank, they decided it was too much of a financial stretch. Shockingly sensible.

We see another family missing out by miles at an auction (a budget in the $500,000s gets you nowhere around here). We see mould and damp. Kitchens and bathrooms, untouched since the 50s or whatever. Features that don’t have council consent.

So far they’ve all managed to buy a house – a small one in a leafy setting, a big one on a busy road, a do-up in every sense of the word in a reasonably central area – and now the rest of the work begins. Guess what I’m doing tonight?

Link love (Powered by cathartic conversations)

nzmuse link love roundup

Based on purely anecdotal evidence, I’ve reached the conclusion that Kiwis tend to find it easy to adjust to coming home after an extended trip.

Basically every single RTW blog I’ve read (mainly by North Americans) has bemoaned the impossibility of re-acclimatising.

Aside from finding the city really SMALL at first, we felt like we slotted right back in. And I just keep hearing the same kind of thing. I guess we’re lucky to live in a relatively awesome place, expensive though it may be.

This week’s links

It’s time to forgive yourself

Chasing that sweet travel high

The tools at your financial disposal

Have those big conversations in the car

What a decade of earnings actually adds up to

 Happy weekends!