January 29, 2009 at 3:03 am (Uncategorized) ()

How can it be that on Day 4, with 26 days still remaining. I have run out of anything worth mentioning in this blog? This could possibly be fueled by a totally unproductive day spent at home or due to the fact that my anonymity has been stripped away from me and I feel the need to censor my thoughts to a greater extent…

Regardless of the cause, I have hit a wall. Bathroom cleaning, laundry, bills, working out and Ms. Pac-Man competitions are not the stuff of inspirational blogs….I have set some lofty financial goals for myself and today I spent some time working my way closer to accomplishing them. One of the biggest benefits of being a teacher is that you are constantly learning. This fall I taught a course on consumer economics. I have always been a big believer in fiscal responsibility and wisdom and this course helped equip me with more tools to practice both.

My goals for this year include becoming debt free minus my student loans, saving for a house and building an emergency fund. To do this I am on a bare bones budget (and am proudly sticking to it) and am socking massive amounts of money into my debt every month. This month  I paid off a credit card. Next month I pay off another bill and the last one in April. Woo-hoo! In May my car will be paid off and then my “can’t live with my parents forever, its too embarrassing” fund will start to grow.

I’m also currently building a small emergency fund through ING Direct – a great place to open an account I might add, their interest rates are well above other comparable accounts. I should know, we did an account comparison activity in class 🙂 This spring I’m really looking forward to taking a 12 week financial freedom course based on Dave Ramsey’s financial principles Dave Ramsey. Disclaimer: His style tends to be slightly “in your face.” One of my favorite features on the site is his “drive free cars” video…Drive Free Cars

Several nights ago I was surfing some blogs and apparently among people in their 20’s and 30’s financial matters are a very popular blogging topic. It’s interesting that debt, building an emergency fund, college loans, career building, retirement funds, etc are an identifying factor within my generation. I know that economics in general are a concern for all, but it’s apparent from articles, blogs, etc that many my age are attempting to “get their ducks in a row.”

A probable financial crisis looming in the near future seems to be lighting a fire under many. Myself included. I’d like to believe my situation is unique. I haven’t been running up credit card bills, living beyond my means. I have been in school, surviving at home, pinching pennies, bidding my time until I had a decent income coming again. Now my time has come and I’m taking advantage of it! I’ll admit, it took a few months to get serious. I enjoyed my income for a few months. No harm in that. Now, on to my goals.

While I was surfing around, I found myself reading every post on one blog…Pushing Thirty… Check it out. The blog contains some cool features – meters measuring the author’s progress towards her financial goals and such. Too much information for a public blog in my opinion, but very fascinating. The internet’s ability to connect individuals who have never met and may otherwise have very little in common is a very impressive thing.

For now that is enough of the “cyber world”; and all it’s distractions. Back to the”real” world. I have school work to finish before bed and am hoping a delay will put off venturing back out into the snow for a few extra hours 🙂


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The Great Unwinding

January 27, 2009 at 5:56 am (Uncategorized) ()

In an effort to identify the current state of our financial crisis; statisticians, historians, financial gurus and journalists are frantically searching for just the right term to name the “panic” we’re in. After floundering around with terms like “the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the credit crunch” and even stooping so low as to create the term “crecession” historians readily admit that it is often impossible to term such a catastrophic event until long after it has occurred.

They point out that often in the heat of the moment things are notoriously misnamed. Perfect example: WWI was originally termed “The War to End All Wars” a title that lasted only until the second “War to End All Wars” occurred a few short years later. Only time will tell how we’ll reflect back on this period in our nation, or more correctly, our globe’s history.

For now, many journalist are phrasing the ever intensifying recession we’re entrenched in as “The Great Unwinding.” On an economic level, I have to admit I have been frighteningly insulated from what has been occurring. Friend after friend recounts stories of the immediate lay-offs of those close to them, but those I know appear to have made it this far in the storm unscathed. My guess is the full depth and duration of “The Great Unwinding” has not yet been felt.

Reflecting back on the last several years of my own life, “the great unwinding” appears to be a fitting term. A friend warned me going into my late 20’s that “those were some of the roughest years of her life…” At 26 I felt pretty confident going into the latter part of my second decade of life… I was blissfully unaware that “the great unwinding” had begun. A slow, but steady unraveling of my thoughts and emotions, my security and everything I thought I knew about life.

These past few years have been unnerving and uncomfortable. We all have those places in our lives that we never venture into; rooms littered with baggage too painful to unpack. Gutted buildings that have been burnt beyond recognition never to be revisited again. Left untouched they sit in their present state, quiet monuments erected to our life’s painful moments and experiences.

Sitting in shambles, these ruins continue to pour pain and fear and sorrow and destruction into our lives. We go on unaware of their existence, while all the while they sit, ever present “just a few blocks” away.

It fascinates me how extremes, that appear to be diabolically opposed, often occur within the breadth of a few short moments. I am discovering that pain brings healing, fear breeds courage, sorrow returns to joy and destruction leads to restoration. Much of life’s most beautiful moments are recovered from the ashes. A place that so often we never allow ourselves to venture. I am discovering that the great unwinding, the undoing of all that I was, is slowly becoming the great rebuilding.

And so it goes that as it is for me, plunging into the depth of the destruction to begin restoring what has been unraveled, only to begin to discover new depths of risk and courage and strength and belief, there may also be a day when the gatekeepers of history look back at not just “The Great Unwinding” of our society, but “The Great Restoration” that followed.

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The old familiar standby

January 26, 2009 at 12:00 am (Uncategorized) ()

Beginning something has always been difficult for me. I think that’s why I procrastinate so often. I don’t know where to start. Once I’m engrossed in something I often think – this isn’t as hard as I thought it would be – why did I wait so long?

I’m hoping that will also be the case with this blog. Thus I am beginning by writing a blog about…beginning! Nothing earth shattering or ground breaking, but hopefully it will lead me into deeper things.

I am introspective by nature. Much of my identity comes from the ability to speculate and reflect on life both verbally and in writing. Most blogs I read are witty and a commentary of sorts about the happenings of life. This is the primary reason I have been so hesitant to blog. I do not believe my writing is either by nature. I thoroughly enjoy both, along with a good dose of satire tossed in  for good measure. But try as I may to employ these qualities in my writing, I come up short.

Thus, in this blog, I intend to stick to what I know – introspection. Finding a way to connect with the spirit and soul of who I am. To gain an awareness of where I am at and live from a place of depth and perspective. I don’t anticipate my blog winning any popularity contests. That’s not really what I have set out to do.

Really, this is for me. For those who decide to come along, I look forward to the dialog. My goal is to write a daily reflection for myself for the next 30 days. A friend accomplished this lofty goal and it challenged me to do the same. Day 1’s entry is now officially logged, we shall see what tomorrow brings!

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