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  • You can be grateful for what you have … AND strive for more

    gratitude vs ASPIRATION

     

    Let me guess. Everything you’ve heard or read about getting through this goddamn pandemic involves practicing GRATITUDE.

    Gratitude is great

    Yes, there’s a lot to be said about taking the time to consciously feel grateful and appreciate what you have. Especially in these COVID times.

    Even when it feels like it’s setting the bar pretty damn low to be grateful for fresh air and sunshine.

    Sure, I have been taking time to appreciate the small things…

    Sunny days, spring blossoms, being able to hold a conversation with Spud (game changer!) and see horses every day if I want. The pony club is a 5-minute walk away and it’s always a thrill to see the horses calmly grazing … or occasionally, out on the cycleway or on the road! The perks of living close to the countryside!

    To find the silver linings…

    Resources are being slashed, but I still have work, that I can do remotely, with the best team ever.

    I’m under an immense amount of pressure, but I am a warrior.

    These are all helpful actions to ground me and keep me from completely losing the plot.

    AND I am striving for more at the same time

    I have so much and I’m very grateful for it. And I also want more. I know that I deserve more.

    I won’t get into details here, but there’s a huge area marked NEEDS IMPROVEMENT in my life. I get to set standards and I do not have to be satisfied with crumbs. I’m working to change that.

    Gratitude alone won’t sustain us. You don’t have to be content with what you have now. You can still be grateful, and be working towards something better.

    It doesn’t mean that you have to settle. You  don’t have to live with this forever. The status quo does not have to suffice if it is actually not enough.

    You can still strive for more. You get to make that call.

    Gratitude and striving for more are not incompatible.

  • When there’s no substitute for doing the work

    I’m often bemused at what people expect from technology.

    Nothing works perfectly 100% of the time. Yes, I work in digital. No, I don’t know why that email isn’t rendering for this one individual, or why this YouTube view count is stuck right now.

    Why does Word crash sometimes? Why does Excel freeze? These things just happen, and there’s not always a tidy explanation.

    And tools can only do so much and take you so far.

    I think T had some unrealistic expectations about exactly what accounting software could do for him. It’s a programme/platform, not your personal CFO/accountant/banker/debt collector/analyst/money minion! And definitely around the effort involved in setting things up to begin with, in terms of configuring settings for business finances and all that jazz.

    There was a period of time at a previous job where I found myself having to constantly explain to people that [insert tech here] is not their silver bullet. Sure, there’s that lovely long list of dazzling features and benefits that promise to solve all your problems. But how well that can actually be applied to your circumstances and requirements is a different thing altogether.

    Sometimes it’s a manual process, to varying degrees. Sometimes there’s nothing else but to get hands-on and stuck in. Some things you’ve just gotta do things the good old fashioned way.

    Just like there’s only so far that visualisation, mindset and flow can take you, ultimately you’ve got to get yourself over the finish line.

  • An ode to the ex-flatmate

    It’s funny how things turn out sometimes.

    We set up the larger of our spare rooms on Airbnb at the start of 2017. Got our first guest, and then, boom – a friend of T’s needed a place to live because his flat was breaking up. So he moved in with us … just overlapping with our guest by a night.

    It was a truly ridiculous shuffle, moving him first into our small spare room and then over into the bigger spare room the day after.

    In terms of room size, location, general house amenities etc … our place doesn’t have a lot to offer so it was about branding on affordability and coziness rather than anything else. And combined with this mate’s financial situation, this was definitely more about helping out a friend than a money maker.

    Over the year and a half he lived with us (up until shortly before Spud’s birth) I would say we’d be lucky to have broken even with the extra bills and stuff given how much money we actually received. Again – preserving the relationship more than anything.

    On the plus side, which I frequently had to remind myself of!

    He was home a fair bit, which was good for the dogs. He was great with them and had always been their favourite visitor. Having him around was really helpful especially over winter when they started clashing more and were a bit of a handful sometimes. (Not to mention the time the fibre installation guy didn’t close the gate properly and the dogs got out early the next morning … after T and I left for work…)

    And he did help out from time to time in other ways around the house, doing a few handy things, helping with lawn mowing, providing tools, jumpstarting the car … He doesn’t cook so kitchen clashes were not an issue, and typically went to the laundromat to use the dryer there.

    Sans the money thing, it was fairly ideal.

    It’s hard to imagine what things might have been like in an alternate world. Would he still be our flatmate, if Spud hadn’t come along? Would he have quarantined here, part of our bubble? 

    Who knows.

    Have you ever had a flatmate more for the intangible benefits than the money?

  • We can’t get through hard times alone

    What is independence?

    Well, my first (short lived) counsellor last year definitely didn’t seem to rate being financially independent of your parents, even though this is key to my personal definition.

    But becoming a parent has totally shaken my perceptions of independence. It’s forced me to lean on others for some things, as Spud relies on me for everything.

    As my other counsellor (one I found personally, not through my EAP programme) pointed out, it truly does take a village to raise a child.

    I had no idea.

    Spud arrived early and we were SO unprepared. My mum announced that she would come around on her day off to bring food and watch the baby so that I could rest.

    And from them she unfailingly turned up every Wednesday, as well as every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Sometimes I would sleep; more often I’d get chores done, in an attempt to keep the house in a vaguely liveable state.

    That’s how it went. She would help clean, work on my garden, do laundry, buy groceries, even determine that we needed things like new curtains and bring some over. Play with Spud, try to teach him the alphabet, sing to him, hold him for naps.

    I don’t know how I would have coped without her support.

    I couldn’t have done it alone.

    I’m not great at talking about my problems, and that’s led to some serious stress and isolation. I think part of it is not wanting to burden others, a bit of pride, and internalising that typical advice of not hanging your dirty laundry out to dry.

    But I’ve learned I need to lean on my friends, to vent, and to gain perspective. When you’ve grown up with subtle dysfunction, it’s difficult to tell what is normal, what is okay, what is excusable. And to find groups where others are going through the same experience. It is so validating.

    I couldn’t have done it alone.

    The more I learn about business (I’ve been busy editing a string of ebooks for various coaches lately, and soaking up details from people I know IRL who run their own thing) the more I realise how crucial mentors and coaches are to success. People rarely, if ever, get to the top alone.

    And now, life in lockdown. We may be physically living in our little bubbles, but more than ever, being connected to others is vital.

    Here in NZ we’ve spent a month in lockdown, which feels like so much longer. Things will gradually ease in the coming weeks, but it’s clear it will be a very long time before life returns to anything resembling normal.

    I’m fortunate to have a fantastic employer and team – couldn’t have asked for better people to work through a pandemic with. If not for that, I honestly don’t know how I would have coped with a toddler at home, and everything else on top of that.

    How are you doing?

  • What it REALLY takes to dismantle a lifetime of childhood baggage

    Right now, I feel like a hot mess.

    I have a bunch of childhood memories that I’ve held, but never connected to who I am today and how they shaped and influenced me.

    In going to therapy I started to realise just how deep a lot of this stuff ran. How family dynamics affected me and continue to affect me. How much healing my wounded inner child has left to do.

    Kids are sponges, soaking up everything around them. What’s explicitly said and what’s implicitly modelled. They pick up on the smallest of things, often subconsciously. And even throwaway remarks can resonate for a lifetime.

    Clarity comes with time, and I’m finally beginning to come to terms with my childhood baggage and try to dismantle those unhealthy patterns.

    Becoming more comfortable in my own skin

    I feel like I’ve had self-consciousness and self-esteem issues since about age 8 or so. Part of that is no doubt linked to the challenge of moving to a new country and being an outsider. But part of this also ties back to messages I received about my looks and talents.

    For example, I’m never going to forget being told that I wouldn’t be “pretty anymore” once I got glasses. Or all the commentary on my classmates’ looks, or celebrities’ looks, and especially in regard to certain Asian features.

    I think it’s fair to say I may also have had a love/hate thing going on with femininity. It still makes my blood boil to recall being told that “girls don’t play soccer”, but perhaps subconsciously this may have influenced my rejection of certain “girly” things. I used to take great pride in not learning to cook. In identifying with being a guitar player and listening to rock bands and avoiding chick flicks/lit/pop music. This has swung back a lot in recent years and now I fully embrace whatever I like, regardless 🙂

    Learning to speak up

    I couldn’t tell you why, exactly, but I never felt I could contradict my parents. On the rare occasion that I did, it didn’t land well. On the last occasion, it led to me moving out at age 17.

    I also have serious issues opening up and talking about problems. My family would either not talk about things at all, or talk about things like marital problems that they shouldn’t have revealed to their child. I think this feeds my instinct to clam up and my default is just not to talk about any issues EVER, I struggle so hard to literally get the words out, and in tough times I just become a waterfall of tears.

    In trying to analyse this, I’ve realised that I’m reluctant to say anything if it may hurt someone and if I don’t see any possible positive outcome coming out of it.

    In a work context, I struggle to voice my opinion, fearing I’ll sound stupid and that my thoughts aren’t valid. Yet over and over I get beaten to the punch by other people and I’m trying to just bite the bullet and get in early. I also have a deep belief that I’m not an ideas person – where that came from I don’t know exactly, but it must stem from somewhere.

    Feeling responsible for anyone and everyone

    Being on the receiving end of info I shouldn’t have been told was a burden. Hearing things I shouldn’t have been privy taught me to take other people’s crap on as well as my own, and be overresponsible. I felt helpless as I couldn’t do anything about those things as a child. And now as an adult I’ve been overcompensating and going overboard in the other extreme direction. I couldn’t fix those things for my parents and now I suppose I’m making up for it by taking on and fixing every issue that comes into my orbit.

    I have a pretty bitter memory of an afternoon where I was made to lie still and quiet in bed for what felt like forever, with mum and my baby brother, because he wouldn’t nap otherwise. I was 8 or 9 and resented every second but didn’t dare move. We lived in a shoebox, basically, and anything I did anywhere in the house would’ve been too loud. Little things like this stick with you, teach you things about the way you’re supposed to be.

    My chronic indecision

    I didn’t ever try to trace this back to anything, until I recalled to my counsellor a period in time where I regularly accompanied my dad to various religious groups/meetings etc as he looked to figure things out and find his tribe.

    “That must have been so confusing for you,” she said, “not knowing what to believe.”

    While I’d never thought of it that way, I can’t argue with that. Therapy’s been awesome for shedding light on things, giving me perspective, and making connections I never would have otherwise.

    Since then, I’ve made another connection: to the time I was told “Decide who you want to live with, because tomorrow we’re getting a divorce.” What an impossible choice for a 7-year-old.

    Now what?

    Not withstanding, I still love them, seek their approval, know they did their best, pity them in some ways. I know they’ve only ever wanted the best for me and would never mean to hurt me.

    They moved our entire family to another country and built a new life here. That takes incredible strength.

    I have to learn to see them as complex humans, who are right about some things and wrong about others, with strengths and flaws … learn when to listen to them and when to listen to myself … and how to reconcile the best and worst of them, with the best and worst within me.

    Now it’s up to me to learn to identify and state my needs, to set boundaries, to focus on myself and do my best to model healthy behaviours for my kid. To literally and figuratively look in the mirror more often and more closely. To feel, process, and release all the baggage stored in the mind and body. however long that takes. I’m making that commitment now and for the rest of my life.

  • Breadwinning while pregnant: gripes and grumbles

    via GIPHY

    Q: What do you get when two pregnant, breadwinning coworkers are on the train home together?

    A: Slightly snarky (okay, envious) conversation about another colleague who’s living an Insta-perfect life on maternity leave with her baby, a husband who makes all the money AND does the cooking (score!).

    But look, we all have our own problems (like a fairly horrendous pregnancy in that person’s case and I’m sure there are others) – it was just nice to vent honestly to each other knowing we’re in the same boat and not going to judge each other for our feelings. That it would be nice to have the option to stay home for however long we wanted. To not be the one responsible for incubating our children AND bearing the financial load to boot. Options, I’m all about options.

    And I know we’re not alone. Just check out Google’s suggested related searches for the phrase ‘female breadwinner’:

    Searches related to female breadwinner

    All of that, I think, gets exacerbated in pregnancy. I had a fairly easy one. And I was still SO DONE by 8 months. Even taking it a day at a time was slightly torturous. No, pregnancy is not a disability … but I was definitely nowhere near 100%. And thanks to my extra lame immune system, I just kept getting sick what seemed like every month.

    Don’t get me wrong; I was thankful to have made it that far and that healthy. I mean, nobody wants to experience pregnancy complications, but when your income is what keeps the household afloat, being put on early rest is going to be a huge financial blow (unless perhaps you shorten your maternity leave by the same amount of time, and get less time with the baby post-birth. Yay.)

    I had to book in my leave plans at the 6 month mark, which was a bit tough. On the one hand, I had no idea how I would physically feel in those final weeks.  People kept telling me how hard it was going to get and how I wouldn’t want to work up to 38 or 39 weeks, to which I clenched my teeth and smiled and nodded.

    Because on the other hand, I didn’t want to fritter away my leave days. Simply put, every week I’m off pre-delivery means a week less post-birth to spend with baby. It’s a gamble – baby might come early, robbing you of that precious downtime at the end. But then again, baby might be late and leave you sitting around waiting! There’s just no telling. I’d rather err on the side of not wasting too much precious leave beforehand.

    So in the end, I was planning to work up until 38 weeks and hoping to get a couple of lazy weeks in at home. (I was counting on the fact that first-time mothers are usually late … but then I read that Asian women often give birth early?!) And that seems to be quite late by usual standards around here, it seems more common to finish up a month before you’re due or sometimes even earlier. And I totally get it, pregnancy gets so more uncomfortable in the third trimester! The fatigue, the fogginess, and holy shit the reflux.

    Of course, that was all a moot point when I went into labour at 36 weeks. September was always meant to be our month to get things properly ready ahead of Spud’s arrival, but that did not happen at all. His arrival in early (instead of late) October meant a mad scramble to take care of stuff – thank goodness for family chipping in to help a little bit, bringing food, helping clean up the house, going out to look for baby clothes in preemie sizes. I had no time off at all to myself and never got to wrap things up at work in the way I’d planned.

    I’m over halfway through my maternity leave now, which is crazy. Financially, it’s been way more stressful than expected (a long story for another post, another time). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t battling a lot of resentment, given I’d done my part with planning and budgeting and carried all that out. It’s definitely put a bit of a damper on things.

    That said, I’ve enjoyed being able to stay home and watch Spud grow. It’s also really fucking hard work sometimes, and I’m looking forward to sending him to daycare – I think he’s going to thrive on the stimulation. While, as I’ve said before, it’d be really nice to have the option to take a year off … personally, I don’t think I’d be cut out for it anyway. Lucky, that!

  • A tale of two pregnancies

    A tale of two pregnancies

    A few years back, I found myself working with two pregnant women about my age.

    They had totally opposite experiences.

    One breezed right through pregnancy from start to finish. Her belly grew, but apparently literally nothing else changed for her. Zero physical symptoms. She didn’t think ‘baby brain’ was real. Basically, she had the dream experience.

    The other encountered pretty much every possible problem.  You name it, she suffered from it. She was the worst case scenario.

    “I would just like to know, really. I want to know,” I wrote in the first draft of this blog post a couple of years ago. “How bad will it be for me? And how will I feel once I’ve had it? Is my entire world view going to change?”

    So far it has been quite manageable. I mean, I can’t speak to the latter part, but pregnancy so far is tolerable.

    The first trimester

    I got a bad cold/flu early on that knocked me for six, and then the first trimester exhaustion kicked in. I did nothing but go to work, come home and collapse.

    Month three brought about indigestion and appetite changes, aches and pains, a dash of dizziness. No throwing up, thank god. (Though there was one occasion where I was about to dash to the bathroom to be sick, only then for a dizzy spell to set in that left me wondering; am I going to faint or vomit first? I made it to an armchair for a rest while the moment passed, without either passing out or puking. #winning)

    The second trimester

    The second trimester is meant to be easier for most but I’m not sure if that was true for me. Once I got noticeably bigger bang on at 12 weeks, indigestion became a near-constant in life and those post-dinner witching hours in particular (about 8-10pm) became a hurdle to be endured. The bump also started to make me feel like a lumbering elephant most of the time, particularly since I seemed to be showing quite a lot given how far along (not that far…) I actually was.

    The food aversions seemed to recede toward the end of month 4 and my appetite grew; I could once again eat a full sized meal! I had a few more dizzy/nauseous spells too – the worst happened on a crowded morning train – but they also stopped around this time and with any luck that’s the end of those for good.

    Pretty much bang on 20 weeks when I was starting to worry about not feeling any movement, I felt the first kicks. And now they’re constant! It’s bizarre, but I love it, and I think I’m going to miss it. Although the stronger they get, the more I suspect it’s going to get painful at some point. I think I had my first taste of lightning crotch recently, and while it was faint and short lived, I could do without any more twinges like that.

    Month six has been tough because we’re in the midst of winter. I’ve struggled with cold/flu twice pretty badly – but it beats having the flu AND having to look after a baby too. And they don’t kid about having a built-in heater, aside from the extra crappy immune system, winter pregnancy is brilliant!

    The third trimester

    Right now I’m just about to hit the third trimester and it’s really starting to hit me that this baby is gonna have to come out! Eeek. But most of all, I’m suddenly feeling supremely unprepared for life with a little human. Semi-last-minute jitters? I did have a dream that Spud arrived, and slept through the night, and barely made a peep – was basically just a doll in a diaper. Here’s hoping…

    In the meantime, I did my one-hour glucose test yesterday (fingers crossed…) and am going for a growth scan tomorrow (because my fundal height was at the low end of the range). I also have my first antenatal class this weekend. It looks like my baby shower will be just 2-3 weeks before I’m due, so potentially we may need to get a few things at the last minute to fill any gaps. We’ll see!

    Weirdly enough, two others in my team at work are in the same boat. We’re all due in the same month, though they’re each slightly ahead of me by a week and two weeks. We’re all in this crazy up-the-duff journey together, and given none of my friends are currently pregnant it’s nice to be sharing it with others!

  • Saver vs spender: how we found our money groove

    5 steps to getting on the same financial page with your partner

     

    You know you’ve come full circle when your spender partner doesn’t want to spend the money he’s been saving for a particular thing, on that particular thing.

    I find it amusing, anyway.

    How did we get here?

    I’ve alluded before to how we have somewhat separate accounts (the mixed method really) and it’s working so much better compared to when I handled basically 100% of that stuff. Overall, money meetings/talks are now way less stressful and anchored in positivity more often than not.

    That’s not to say it’s been effortless, especially at the beginning. But like with most things, getting into a groove starts with laying the groundwork.

    Banish the cobwebs

    Step one for us was getting back to ground zero. And that meant a little bit of individually reflecting and looking back before we could move forward.

    Where are you now and why? What’s your role in the situation? Hopefully you’ve become aware of your own blind spots, tendencies, and yeah, mistakes. We’ve all made missteps at some point, some more serious than others. It takes two, rarely is one partner entirely faultless. Even if (ahem) you feel hugely slighted, if you’re committing to making this work, being the bigger person goes a long way initially. Have the grace to forgive yourself, forgive them and let the past go.

    Forgetting may not be possible or desirable, but forgiving is necessary to make progress – if that’s what you want to do.

    Pick the right time

    Okay, so you want to actually talk money? Set up for success – timing is everything! It’s got to be a place and time where you’re both relaxed and have the headspace to give the topic your full attention. You wouldn’t want to hit your boss up for a big raise when they’ve just spent all day rushing from workshop to meeting to conference and are totally exhausted. Context matters.

    So don’t force the money talks. They may (and probably will) initially kick up some complicated feelings and negative energy. Pushing and pushing for a conversation at that point is only going to lead to hurt feelings, taking things personally and wrongly perceiving things as an attack or criticism. Keep it short, know when to stop.

    Back to basics

    Don’t assume anything, especially if you’re the person who’s been doing it all. T literally did not know what we spent on most of our key expense categories, because it’s not something he’s all that interested in and thus I didn’t make an effort to involve him. But (duh) him not being across things at that basic level made it really hard to talk about money in any detail let alone our bigger goals for the future and what we might need to do to reach those.

    Make it a conversation

    Keep the dialogue going and try to avoid absolutes – you always, you never etc. Also bad: taking opposing stances on everything – you’re careless, you’re stingy, you’re too generous, you’re too obsessive. 

    Try and turn each point around and look for examples of contradictions – I bet you’ll find a few cases where you broke with the pattern. The time when you splurged randomly – why? The time when you saved for something and actually stuck to a plan – why? While we all have tendencies we naturally fall into and revert to, we’re also capable of acting out of character and understanding what drives that can be really insightful.

    Speaking of ‘why’ … that’ll be the next step. Figuring out your goals and getting aligned behind them.

    Take it slow

    Don’t expect to see 100% eye-to-eye. This is totally natural. Resist the urge to nag and try to convince your partner that your way is the only way. Particularly if you’re paired up with a Rebel (Four Tendencies anyone?) that’s gonna land like a lead balloon.

    Wishing for them to change (especially overnight…) does not work. Focus on what you CAN control, namely yourself: doing what you can and leading by example. Odds are that they’ll increasingly get onboard once the benefits start to become clearer under your steering. Or you may gradually come around more to your partner’s way of thinking and adjust your approach accordingly. For us, he’s moved a long way towards me on the spectrum, but I’ve also loosened up a little and shuffled his way a bit. And let’s be honest, it hasn’t hurt that our income’s gone up, meaning the purse strings are less tight – that’s a luxury that’s helped a lot in this regard.

  • You don’t have to optimise EVERY minute of your life

    you dont have to optimise every minute

     

    First trimester exhaustion is no joke.

    Probably not helping was what I’m pretty sure was a light spell of flu or a terrible cold around the second month thrown in there.

    However much was due to my growing a human vs legit illness, I spent literally weeks out of action beyond making it to work and home again (and not even that, some days). Evenings and weekends, the only place you’d find me was flat on my back in bed. And even now, my (never great) energy levels aren’t what they used to be, so I need even more rest and sleep than normal. On top of that, the occasional dizzy spell likes to come out of  nowhere, relegating me to the nearest seat (or better, bed) to recover.

    I had to get over my guilt about doing nothing pretty quick smart, and embrace marathoning Jane the Virgin.

    A happiness hack

    Separately, I’d already been working for a while on reframing how I think about the nonproductive hours in my week.

    I guess you could even spin it as optimising my time, though maybe not in the traditional way.

    The things is, I hate waiting. Seriously hate it.

    But instead of resenting the commute, I’m starting to enjoy it (maybe even look forward to it sometimes) as it’s often the only time I can carve out to decompress and meditate.

    And now that the days are getting shorter and it’s dark earlier, I’m switching it up. Normally I bus to the train station in the morning, and walk home from the train in the evening; these days I’m walking in the morning (bonus: it warms me up for the day, gets the blood flowing on wintry mornings!) and bus back from the station home.

    The same with walking the dogs. It’s gotta be done. Sometimes it can be doubled up as a run for me, but not every walk can be a run – and these days I’m just not up for running at all, to be honest. Some walks need to be training walks, and some need to be relaxing sniffy walks where they can just be dogs – walks when I can let my mind roam free and work on visualisations and mantras.

    Rather than impatiently waiting for these ‘unproductive’ times to end, I’m trying to use them in better ways. Repurposing them from hours to be endured with the help of Spotify and podcasts, to precious flow and meditation time.

     

     

     

  • Hope for the best, plan for the worst: On balancing a positive mindset with our pesky mate Murphy

    why you should hope for the best but plan for the worst

    I’m a big believer in Murphy’s law. A bit of a pessimist that way. Particularly when it comes to finances.

    I’m also a more recent convert to positive thinking, the power of mindset and yeah, maybe even manifestation to an extent.

    Which leaves me struggling a bit to reconcile the two approaches. They seem at odds, right?

    A few years ago I made the conscious choice to try and shift my thinking on the regular, and make an effort to switch up my default state.

    Amazingly … it made a difference. I wouldn’t say it changed my core personality – I’m definitely still a realist, with the same sarcastic tongue and sense of humour – but it actually did wonders for my state of mind and made me a more pleasant person to be around.

    Last year I really started to delve more into mindset, with books like Think and Grow Rich, You Are a Badass at Making Money, Secrets of Six-Figure Women.

    Hell, I even changed my passwords like some say to do, so that your goal is front of mind each time you type it in.

    Is it helping? Can’t hurt, I figure … there’s nothing to lose. At the very least, it reminds me of my goals multiple times a day.

    Of course, not everything is within our control and shit happens. Positive thinking doesn’t mean burying your head in the sand and blinding yourself to reality.

    But it can definitely shore up your ability to cope with setbacks and manage stress. I’ve found that opening up my mind like this has led to me to see more possibilities and think differently in order to succeed.

    Balancing these viewpoints, I’ve come to realise that this is something I’ve basically always proclaimed to aspire to:

    Live for today, save for tomorrow.

    Hope for the best, but also, plan for the worst.

    What would yours be?