notes from a jack ass: on seeing life with more humility & respect
May 15, 2008

I’ve been hiding.

I’ve been hiding from reality while convincing myself I was somehow efficient & achieving life balance.

Ego & MO
Realistic or not, something in me thinks I can solve ‘the universe’. Yet at the same time, I want to solve the universe my own dang way. I want to solve the universe with community building, social tech, long-term thinking, a chance to join & build teams with optimistic people. Let’s solve the world. Let’s get results.

But it’s gotta be fun.

Let’s pile on the fun while I’m saving the universe with fun people. I’m eager – thrilled – to take on tough issues when a sense of fun abounds. Who cares my husband and I have millions to go before we make our millions. If we crack eachother up during the quest, it’s all good (why? cuz we’re havin’ fun!).

I’ve walked away from projects, from clients, & from a few friends because their lack of fun & joy. Maybe that’s rude or short-sighted or relational suicide. Or maybe it means I’m not the Mahatma.

Bottom line, bring on the fun challenges. With them, life is good, balanced, & something I can handle. With this paradigm of fun, I can build, conquer, & transcend.

BRING IT!

When life lacks fun or balance: a jack ass takes a beat
So my fun, high-horse philosophy is not only ‘high’ but as of late – morally blind.

I do not know what to do with China’s earthquake in Sichuan Province. Or Myanmar & their government & starving thousands.

It’s not fun. It’s one big dose of hard, complex devastation. And I haven’t known what to do except ignore it & have fun thinking about my projects, my life, my work, my 401k, my mission, my man, my quest, my bad jokes.

From this sunny, peaceful, in-tact-with-plenty-of-food cafe in Northwest DC, I’m realizing my not knowing what to do with these tragedies is irrelevant. What matters is my decision to care and act on a conscious level – even though it’s not fun or toward a clear-cut solution for the people in those countries.

I feel compelled, in all my imperfection, to do something more than hide.

What matters is understanding I have the gigantic luxury to decide to act at all. It’s a humbling thought that inspires humility & nausea all at once.

Since vomiting on myself out of shame proves useless.

Since social tech is a powerful thing – ready to connect & empower the many.

Since it’s never too late to look beyond one’s self-absorption.

And out of respect for those who have feared and lost yet still try to recover…this jack ass offers below:

UPDATE

  • For some photoblog beauty & inspiration on how to help relief efforts in China.

2007 goals met & missed (plus recalling family mantra for ‘tell the truth!’)
January 7, 2008

I heard that as a kid growing up from Oklahoma relatives – said when it was really time to tell the truth! I love it. And for whatever reason, it surmounts my agnosticism & paraphrases the need for honesty to this day.

In that spirit…:

Life balance goals met & missed (2006 vs 2007)

Come to Jesus 2006:

-on dining out: spent $11k (what's that phrase…'ignorance is bliss'?!)

-on cooking for family: avoided learning how

-on retirement savings: had diddle for a plan

-on spending habits: didn't have a clue

-on tax protection: accrued $7k tax bill (paid for via credit card…gulp)

Come to Jesus 2007:

-on dining out: cut that puppy DOWN & roughly ended year spending app. $1.5k

-on cooking for family: learned! We spent app. $5k on groceries this year. And my husband was fantastic in brainstorming ideas & being patient with sometimes a very smoky home (I'd like to think my self-esteem is pretty strong being 37 and admitting this … or just SILLY)

-on retirement savings: met with financial planners & invested 12% income toward a specific plan (as in we now know 'the number' to save for by retirement age). I disagreed with some planners' suggestion on how much to save for. More on that later.

-on spending habits: set an actual plan and more regularly audited habits via Quicken. Frankly I didn't audit them habitually. I attempted tracking via our spending plan which wasn't comprehensive. It's time for me to buck up and do that download account process per Quicken.

-on tax protection: our pre-tax retirement contributions lowered our taxable income; I also worked from home (resigned from high stress management job & made far less money). That fact as pros & cons but it was a great year for re-gaining sanity, renewing/building communities online and off, & gaining a few clients. And the reduced stress enhanced the marriage (ain't that right honey??). NOTE: That $7k tax bill balance decreased some (see below).

The main goal for 2008 is two-fold: to completely pay-off that '06 puke-vomit-ick-tax-bill (paid for via credit card in '07) and to build six months worth of savings.

QUESTION TO YOU:

What life balance/personal finance goal motivates you for 2008? …Any come-to-Jesus moments of your own last year?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And thanks for your ideas & motivation throughout last year. Your insight and humor strengthened resolve.

MORE FROM:

Get Rich Slowly shares factory worker's story to millionaire retirement. This guy's simple, prudent decisions inspire!

– Playful, honest journey through spending plans at Budgeting Babe;

-Clear, actionable approach for starting 2008 … Chirs Brogan shares (3) words that help him decide or decline next steps.

new videoblog, new reality: bringing business home
August 9, 2007

After years in sales and managing teams, I hit ‘the wall’ — that black hole thick fatigue which demands a life change.

Change I say, change!

My husband happens to love his work and agreed his wife needed to change situations. So I resigned last year as sales manager for an HR firm, plunging into online video production. Why? It’s a fun part of Web 2.0 and really just fun period.

Then after some video projects, collaborations, and client work I lost focus big time. Video was still fun but I wasn’t renewing momentum. Was I bored? procrastinating? or my favorite self-esteem ripping comment — just lazy?

It turns out my interests in business planning were crying out to my deaf ear. And it took me a long time to finally listen. I stepped back and observed the life with my husband: we were emotionally awesome yet the remainder of our partnership looked imbalanced e.g. clutter at home, no living will, neither of us knew how to cook or invested the time in learning, and why did that retirement account still look empty despite us philosophically supporting savings, retirement plans, etc?

After answering these questions more directly (…wasn’t pretty learning how much we sank on eating out), I knew that more urgent than learning how to be an expert video tech was learning how to balance my (our) home situation. Our future would have little options without this direction.

With a few months under the belt of analyzing what needs to be done & taking action, it’s clear my liberal arts degree and experience in sales have awesome challenges ahead. It’s really, really a blast.

Asset Management. Communications. Stewardship. Negotiation. Networking. Cooking (yes it’s fun, necessary-duh!, and a preserver of the bottom line). Retirement savings. Retirement savings for parents.

This egotistical-feminist-video-producer has had her reality check of what a strong home life is — and is not.

That’s what this blog is about.