Last August when I retired, I gave myself the first year as an experiment, a sort of financial la-la land. I planned to pay attention in a general way to the estimated budget, spending, and investment performance, which I did. I had a little run-in early on with my attitude about money, but belief in abundance stared down the financial picture and I continued with my year. I hoped all would magically flow to my advantage.
The fact that I even have a budget is a bit annoying. When I was working, I always lived below my means and did my best to save, even in the really lean years. In the last decade of work when I had an actual job, I had discretionary cash. Although there wasn’t a ton of it, there was enough to easily fuel my adventures. But a budget is a fact of life when income is fixed and a bit uncertain given partial dependency on investments. So, as part of taking stock of my first year of retirement, I recently looked at finances in detail. It was a bit sobering in the budget-versus-actual-sending category. Nothing drastic, but I can see now that I will need a little more money if I want to continue to live in do-whatever-you-want land. Or I’ll need to make some adjustments in that regard.
My first reaction was a bit of a panic. All about scarcity and uncertainty: Uh-oh. Gotta get a job. What if someone reads my blog and sees I'm not ideal employee material. Might have to take down the blog. But I love the blog. Writing is what I enjoy the most. Oh I wish I had a husband to pick up the slack. I wish I didn’t have to make these kinds of decisions on my own. I’m alone. And on and on. Waa-waa. Boo-hoo. For about a minute. Until...whoooaa. Wait. No I don’t (want a husband). And no I’m not (alone). And haven't I learned anything from my year of authenticity and pursuit of zen? Some changes will need to be made, sure, but I don't need to grab back to old ways. I'm still gonna eat and have a roof over my head. There's nothing urgent about this. Let’s just turn on the Pandora “calm meditation” mix and get a grip.
I feel an energy coming on, but in a new way. I've overcome the fear-of-being-a-bag lady syndrome that has kept me from taking some risks in the past, sent me down one road rather than another in the name of security. Which is why I even have the privilege of retiring now, so no regrets there. But that’s not where I want to be now. I cannot fall back into fear-based thinking. I am believing in myself and the path I am on. This is the real change that I was hoping for once I set out on the frontage road. No turning back now. Instead, I’m going to pick up on the inspiration from the wise words in my last post and dance with these circumstances through to true change. It's time to step it up and learn more than I already know about the financial investment world. Not rely so passively on the experts. And continue to explore what comes next.
I had been thinking that maintaining the abundance attitude and belief in my ability to find my way are easy when circumstances are flowing along easily. I wondered how it would be when challenges arose. Well, now I’m finding out. Lazy Mary is up. And about to take it on.