I’ve always resisted applying any sort of structure to my running, or exercise in general.
But for the past few weeks I’ve been living life with a smartwatch and sticking to a running schedule.
Why? I’m helping a friend’s company test out their technology – and between the hardware and the app, I’m kinda hooked…
It makes sense, really. I’m an Obliger (according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies) and so having a routine/schedule to commit to, plus the gamification and points accumulation, actually works for me.
I’m particularly fascinated by the data on my sleeping patterns – the proportion of deep sleep hours vs light sleep hours, and the poor broken graph that pops up on particularly troubled nights.
I’ve also downloaded an app called Seven, which gives you 7-minute workouts you can do at home, and just might change my life.
What’s your approach to working out – structured or not? Does fitness tech and data tracking interest you at all?
Work has been taking up way too much of my headspace lately. (This may be why there are a total of 3 Ask A Manager links this week!)
Luckily, we had Easter this month, and Anzac Day next week (plus I wound up having two sick days off, which I spent sleeping and marathoning 13 Reasons Why. Holy hell, the feelings! Such a rollercoaster).
Much of it is self inflicted, and me being hard on myself (at least, I think it is). Any handy tips for learning to let things go and stop stressing yourself out?
Having finished it, I wanted to share a few more quotes that really stood out to me:
Because I cannot control the instability of my career, I am obsessive about controlling what little I can. The cable bill, the grocery bill, the utility costs.
Growing up I never thought I wouldn’t be able to have two kids because they’d be too expensive… Now I saw clearly how something as impersonal as money could determine something as personal as pregnancy; how, without money, we don’t really have free will to live our lives the way we want to; how even free will isn’t technically free. It comes, like everything, at a price.
It would be ridiculous not to acknowledge that one reason I was attracted to Greg was his willingness to make my life comfortable, to provide for me and any children we might have.
Some women wake up at 45 and realise they forgot to have children. I realised I forgot to make money.
My brain got scrambled by the idea that the pursuit of happiness should not include a pursuit of riches – the fear that filthy lucre, should I ever make it a focus, would transform me into a person I did not want to be.
I’m still awed by how brutally honest these women dared to be in opening up about their emotions and relationships. Truly.
Anyway, TGIF (as I write this). I so need this weekend. I way overslept and managed to somehow get out the door in 15 minutes from the time I leapt out of bed in a panic.
There is so much rich ground covered – and I’m only a third of the way in!
Stories so far delve into the realities of dating/marrying men who make less; dating a rich older man and being offered the chance to live a comfortable life as a kept woman; watching the transformation of a partner into a financially responsible adult; the stress of becoming the de facto breadwinner and the relief when that burden is lifted (“fortified with dual incomes, we began to believe that our marriage might stand a chance”).
These tales and their truths may make for uncomfortable reading for some people. Personally, I applaud the courage and honesty and wish there were many more to read. Here are a few snippets that stood out to me:
On romance vs reality
For those of us predetermined to be the breadwinners, it’s more fun to date a man than to marry him. We understand that the more people there are living under our roof, the more it costs us. I am appalled by how unromantic this sounds, but there you have it. The breadwinner will ALWAYS be worrying about replacing the clutch in her car, or paying her life insurance premiums, or if she’s a homeowner, covering all the uninteresting expenditures that go with that.
I suppose that what I am rather ridiculously pining for is the luxury of having someone else pick up the slack. It has always been a girl’s prerogative, hasn’t it? To choose to either make money or not … But being responsible for making all the money all the time means being forever prevented from engaging in the magical thinking that money matters less than love and romance.
On struggling to come to terms with struggle
I’ll never know if something inside of me shifted or if it was the revealing of a truth that was already there, but … I was suddenly and clearly not okay … I told myself that there were people out there who never paid their Con Ed bill on time and still went on to lead happy, fulfilling lives. But the tears still streamed down my face as I sent American Express my last penny and ticked off the days until my next paycheck.
On income and class differences
My three most significant relationships were with a carpenter, a lighting designer, and the furniture maker … At the time I never thought money had much to do with the demise of these relationships. But now I’m not so sure. In retrospect, I think it was troubling to be dating someone who might not be able to take care of me for the long haul.
On knowing when to call it quits
The difference between help and rescue is sometimes difficult to see… I finally reached a point where stretching any further would have done nothing more than take me down with him … The only person I could save was myself.
It is uncouth to talk too frankly about money to people who have it; it makes them feel self-conscious, guilty, and defensive, as if you are suggesting that they don’t have difficult lives filled with complex problems. And I saw that my friends had strong ethics about, say, not accepting help from their relatives, or which kinds of help it was acceptable to accept. (Direct deposit into bank account: no; down payment on purchase of apartment: yes.)
I, meanwhile, exploited a rule of class struggle: You may lump everyone who comes from more money than you into a monolithic bloc, dismiss their hardships, and, if you wish (one does wish), downgrade your opinion of their achievements by however much seems appropriate to account for the favors, tips, recommendations, opportunities, and inflows of cash without which their talents would not so easily have flourished.
Little BIL will soon be taking his restricted licence test.
It’s taking me right back to my early 20s…
You can’t just risk sitting your licence in any old car. I faced a bit of a bind when it came to sit mine. I had to get my licence pretty quickly before university started but didn’t own a car. (So they told me, as journalists often need to head out to chase stories on short notice. In reality, I actually didn’t wind up needing to drive myself places.) At the time I wasn’t really in contact with my parents and our relationship was in a difficult place.
So I borrowed a friend’s car to take the test in, and it was a disaster. The car was an old dunger; I wasn’t used to driving it; it struggled to start on a hill among other things and I think it contributed to my failing the test. (Goodbye, $80 down the drain!)
The second time around I leaned on a different friend who had a much better car, and for that I’m forever grateful, because the drive went smoothly and I passed … just.
And don’t get me started on what happened with our car when T tried to sit his! The douchey inspector actually physically kicked the bumper, insisted the tyres were not inflated enough, and after going down the road to the petrol station to confirm that yes, they WERE in fact inflated correctly, he refused to carry out the driving test because it had taken a couple minutes too long over the grace period you get to remedy any vehicle issues. Even though nothing was ACTUALLY wrong with the car, and it was his mistake in claiming there was. Even though that minute would have been saved in the first place if he, oh, hadn’t taken it upon himself to kick the car as part of his ‘inspection’. Again, $80 down the drain.
It is a privilege to be able to sit your licence in a decent car, and I’ve always thought they should provide vehicles for people to take their tests in who need it.
So I’ve offered up ours to BIL, and I hope he’ll take it up if required.
I’d argue that creativity is pretty underrated in personal finance. This is probably because most people have a healthy fear of personal finance — I know I’m not alone in viewing it as a tightrope act. You go forward, you go backward, but there certainly isn’t room to go side to side. Creativity means a potential for error, and financial error is a terrifying prospect.
But creativity is important because, if done right, it forces you to let go of social norms. So much of how we spend our money is dictated by how the people around us spend money and how we think the people around us spend money. Letting go of the normal gives you more options.
As a very important caveat: thinking creatively about money is a privilege in and of itself. You have to have money to have multiple options in its spending; you have to have time and a roof over your head and internet access to learn about what those options are.
Not a lot – about $150 net. We’re not in a touristy area, and only have a tiny single room in a shabby house with 2 crazy dogs. But that’s okay, any extra is a bonus. Especially given lots of recent and upcoming expenses (two weddings, two friends both expecting babies, one expensive stag do, plus dog behaviourist consulting). And as the universe would have it, the exact week of the first booking, a friend wound up needing a place to stay. So, Airbnb is back on hold while we have a flatmate for now.
Our guest wanted to book a second short stint after arriving, and so we arranged that off the site. But man, do I feel awkward handling cash – the actual exchange, the handover. I gotta say, it’s more work than expected too – the laundry, the working to keep the house cleaner than usual, even always closing the bathroom door. Not to mention all the dang time spent setting up the listing online, researching the market, and organising payout to my bank account! Paypal is great – whether you want to receive or transfer money overseas it’s super convenient – but I figured that bypassing Paypal would save me a couple bucks in fees to receive the payments.
One of our Class of 09 journalism grads went straight into a combo PR/marketing/admin role at $60k a year. I remember her telling us that, and I’m pretty sure my jaw literally dropped when she named the figure.
To a huge section of the population, it’s a number they’ll never hit. To others, it’s an entry-level income.
A colleague recently asked for my thoughts on a piece of work that he was involved in. It will reach thousands and thousands of people – from all industries, regions, life stages, etc – and it had to reference a certain number as an example. Specifically, it had to be an example of an average salary over a lifetime.
Was $60k too high to cite as an average salary over a career, he wondered?
Old me would have said yes. New me, no.
But I’m not sure if I’m in the majority on that – I suspect possibly not, given that NZ is such a low wage economy.
I used to think $60k was so much money. But realistically, in Auckland, it is not. It’s possible to survive on a $40k journalism income, but if you aspire to more than just survival…
I wanted to hit $60k when I left journalism, but it felt like so much to ask for. I could not imagine my work being worth $60k. They offered me a salary even higher than that, and at that point my jaw literally dropped, once more.
Failing to value yourself is a key trait of underearning – a concept I’ve really only stumbled across in the past year or so. And that, my friends, is the topic of my very next post. Stay tuned.
I’m SO excited to be spending my first Christmas / summer in my own house. It’s the best feeling!
I got a bit excited about Special Housing Areas back when they were introduced – parcels of land where development was intended to be fast tracked. Of course, I didn’t wind up buying in one – between location, affordability, and properties actually getting built (or not) things did not align.
To be honest, it feels like SHAs, and new construction in general have been a bit underwhelming to date. A bunch of SHAs recently got cancelled (probably just land banking for the gains), it’s damn near impossible to actually find information on those that are proceeding or to figure out how to try to buy one, and meanwhile a number of new apartment projects have fallen through of late.
Interestingly, a couple of large scale housing projects driven by Chinese developers have been announced in the last few weeks. Hope they’ll do it right. Unfortunately, I think it’s fair to say most Auckland apartment/townhouse complexes of a certain era are pretty shoddy (and I’ve lived in 3 of those myself). They tend to leak and require recladding, if they haven’t already been reclad by now that is.
Those complexes I lived in? They haven’t really appreciated in value over the years, plus owners have had to fork out who knows how much to repair them. Overseas, newer developments might be sought after for their amenities, but here they often spell trouble – an acquaintance who recently returned to NZ with his British partner fell victim to this, and are now in their second leaky townhouse in a row (I thought they might have learned from the first… but ah well).
To be fair, as a renter I’d rather live in a newer but leaky house – they’re warmer and drier, whereas older houses are where I’ve had to deal with mould and damp. But as an owner? I’d buy an older one over a 2000s era house any day. (Brand new excepted – things have improved since the crisis came to light.) Insulating a roof is a lot cheaper than recladding a whole house.
Relationship advice – distilled from 1500 people (I love this one – That said, I cannot emphasise how vital it was for me to talk to other people about my marriage struggles. Don’t shit talk your partner, but don’t bottle up emotions, either. Of course you need to communicate with your partner. But some things you genuinely need outside perspective on.)
Although we had a nice surprise last week coming in under budget for groceries, money has been flowing out seemingly non stop overall. We were meant to have 2 more months of flea treatment stuff for the dogs which has vanished; we’ve started our veggie garden; had to spend a fair chunk on dog-and-bird proofing it; replace a window the dogs shattered (glass panes down to floor level are NOT COOL); plus we’ve got our wall map project and my ongoing quest to get photos printed for the walls as well. Life!