2016 has been a wild & crazy year. In many ways, I've done well with my longer term goals. But, given our move, our family has been in a bit of flux. It's been very challenging to hone in on bigger decisions, such as where we will live. It's also made it clear that (drumroll, please) . . . M & I are very different people! This is something you sort of acknowledge when you are married to someone every day, but when you are prioritizing big decisions, it becomes very clear. Here are a few ways that's played into our location decision. I'm not a big city person. It's hard to explain, given that neither of the areas we've lived are truly "small towns", but the logistics, travel, and COL are significantly higher in the bay area. This causes me stress, but energizes M. He loves it. To put it in perspective, he grew up in a city the size of New York. I grew up in a town of 2,500 people. :-)
Additionally, M loves the thrill of risk taking, challenging us, and making big bets. I admittedly am far more fiscally conservative. I like to reduce our expenses, so we don't need all of the big salaries & what comes along with it. He feels like these are his career income maximization years, and wants to do the most with them. The area we are currently in is definitely one of the best spots in the world to maximize our income with our skill set. He is concerned (rightly so) that moving to Seattle will require a step back in his career, and has to decide if the tradeoffs are worth that.
He is comfortable making big purchases, and being fully leveraged. I'm not & would pay off our mortgage in a heart beat. Thus, giving us lots of flexibility.
He thinks big picture on income generation & the investment side. I make a big income, but focus on the smaller things (reducing expenses,etc).
Neither of us are right or wrong, and it can be really, really hard to acknowledge this and not judge another person for not sharing your perspective.
We have two paths in 2017. Path One:
We can stay in the bay area, figure out a house, and it will be very, very tight. The house will be less than ideal, given the cost. It would mean the boys can stay where they are. I'd need to figure out another job (hopefully less hours). Path Two:
We can move back to Seattle. We are very close to having enough saved cash that we could pay off our primary residence. We would be close to my family. M would need a relatively well paying job, but we could fairly easily live off of his salary.
I'll just say that these monumental decisions are really, really challenging, and I'm so happy to have a partner in life who may not share my perspective, but loves me enough to have mature conversations about very difficult things. Either way, there are compromises ahead. And, that's hard & requires quite a bit of thinking & rationalization, and kindess. So.much.kindness for each other.
There are obviously many other factors tied up in here (stability for the kids, being closer to family, the weather!!!) as well.
2017 will be the year of decision making & executing! So, stay tuned for many exciting life changes, either way it plays out.
Aside from that giant & thorny issue, 2017 needs to be the year that I get my health in order. I'm not at my healthy weight, and I've lost muscle tone. I'm not stretching enough, and hours spent at a desk are impacting my posture & flexibility. I need to prioritize my own health.
1) Financial - Figure out our housing situation, and get it all resolved (i.e. moved, job changes as needed) before school starts.
- Decide what to do with our Seattle house. Contingent upon location.
- Build/follow a 2017 "interim budget" (until I leave my job) & a 2017 "post-job budget", after.
- Inventory & track our various stockpiles, so we reduce waste & minimize what we need to move.
- Every month, come up with a new way to reduce what we need on an ongoing basis. Examples I've kicked around: find an alternative to all of the ziplock bags/plastic wraps we use for kid lunches. Put a container in the shower to save water for the yard. Collect rain in buckets. Create a compost bucket for the kitchen, so it's easy to compost food scraps. All of these are meant to be permanent changes, so not focused on one time savings.
2) Family - Spend more time together as a family!
3) Fitness/health - Lose 20 pounds, bringing my weight to 133. This may sound familiar, as it's also a carryover goal from last year!
- Do a minimum of one fun activity/month with the kids. This can be family puzzle night, cooking dinner together, board games, going out somewhere, etc.
- Be more present with the kids & M - play games, minimize computer time, exercise together, etc.
- Have two dates with M per month (one lunch, one evening)
- Make running a consistent part of my life. Build & follow a training plan.
- Eat five servings of fruit & vegetables (combined) per day
- Complete 10,000 minutes of cardio
- Complete 50 strength workouts.
- Complete 50 stretching workouts. Make yoga a consistent part of my life.
4) Work/career - Improve my work life balance.
- Keep better perspective at work/reduce stress (until I leave)
- Determine an end date for my job.
- Take time off from my job.
5) Personal/creative - Spend more time on myself/creative pursuits.
- Learn a new skill. I'm thinking of learning a new language, but would be fine with anything: sewing, knitting, expanding my baking, etc.
- Make time for my friends. Do something social at least once per month.
- Volunteer a minimum of 1x/month.
That was a lot! So, what about you? Any planning for your 2017 goals? Do you & your spouse have different perspectives on these issues? How have you worked around that?