Starting Over and the New Normal
I have a confession.
I feel like I’ve been failing as a blogger. Sorely ignoring my duties to the public. I’m supposed to deliver money-saving advice, provide guidance on profitable side hustles, and even offer an empathetic viewpoint of how challenges can be thrown at you when you least expect it.
Forgive me, Readers, for I have been absent. It’s been awhile since my last blog post, and I am seeking forgiveness. (Spoken like a true former catholic school attendee.)
And no, it won’t be an easy thing to achieve penance. Y’all are a tough crowd — smart, yet fair. But as they often say — out of sight, out of mind.
How many new personal finance blogs have emerged over the past few months? Probably many. So many newbie bloggers who have no idea who I am, or that I ever even existed.
I’ve been shirking these duties, burying my head in the sand, blissfully ignoring this platform that I sculpted and sweated and struggled into existence several years ago.
This blog that became my one true voice, at a time when most everything in my world was uncertain and uncomfortable, only I didn’t want to admit it.
Challenged by issues with money, debt, and conflicting relationships. It would all come to a head, but I was doing my best to resist it.
And then my world kind of splattered — kaplooey — only it was the best thing to possibly happen.
And then what did I do?
I took a break.
One might say a well-needed break. A hiatus, if you will, to gather my thoughts… my learnings… my financial documents.
To create a “new normal”. One that encompasses life as a middle-aged singleton. Managing home, career, finances, and pets with no other dependencies or co-partners.
And when this new normal started to settle in, what was the result?
I was happy.
Well — happier, anyway.
Because while one might think a breakup — especially after 22 years together — would result in an emotional meltdown, that’s not what transpired here.
I knew things were pretty bad in my relationship. We both knew it, but no one wanted to take that first step to make things official.
And now that it’s over, we’re actually getting along better than we have in many, many years. So yes, we are definitely better off as friends than as romantic partners. But that’s enough about that. I’m here to talk about my new normal — and how my life has changed.
My New Normal
I’ll first start out by saying everything in my life is a lot calmer now. I’m less agitated and stressed, and more thoughtful and grateful for what I do have.
I no longer find myself walking on eggshells, trying to keep the peace, avoiding confrontations, absorbing the blame for the unnecessary outbursts and excessive moodiness of others.
I have a house that I love. For the past five and a half years, I had been making it my own, adding personal touches and decor totally reflective of my personality. I’m grateful this house is now mine alone, and I can make all decisions related to it without having to run it by anyone else. And I have a big, beautiful yard where my two dogs can run, play and just mosey around sniffing things. (Yes, the huge lawn needs to be mowed. Another story, another day.)
I have my two dogs — who are an absolute blessing. There was never a question as to who might take ownership of the dogs. I have spent the most time with them, by far. And I also know exactly how to care for them, maintain their health, work through their quirks, and keep them happy.
Plus I work from home full time, so am able to dedicate more time to them. They are my grounding point, and my calm, and my world.
Additionally, I do have two new roommates (nope, not dogs). I’ll be providing more details on them in a future post.
But to give you a small hint, they’re loud, they don’t pay rent, and I have to clean up after them. 😉
I also have a cute little car. Emphasize “little”. I recently downgraded to a 2019 Honda Fit, which is the tiniest vehicle I’ve ever owned.
I’ve been leasing Hondas for many, many years. (I know, bad PF blogger!!) Sorry, but this arrangement has worked for me.
For one, Hondas have been amazingly dependable and I can’t imagine ever driving another vehicle. And for two, I know absolutely nothing about vehicle repair or maintenance. I have no mechanics or auto aficionados in my family or circle of friends.
The one time I owned a used vehicle, it persistently had mechanical issues. I was constantly on edge. It would break down and I had no clue what to do. (Not to mention, I didn’t possess an emergency savings to fix the issues).
So continuously leasing a Honda has been my insurance of choice. I always know what my payment is, I always know the vehicle is in tip-top shape, and I don’t have to stress over the unknown. I work from home full time and don’t tend to take long trips, so am always well within the mileage limitation.
… And speaking of other elephants in the room — there’s this little thing called “debt” that I used to write about on my blog regularly.
Ah yes, that nasty albatross hanging around my neck for so many years. Whatever happened to that? Well, I can tell you in complete confidence that the credit card debt is now GONE. It took some time, but I eventually whittled all credit card balances down to zero.
Huge win? Yes!!
Super exciting and intensely interesting story? Not so much.
I enlisted the usual tried and true strategies to eliminate the lingering debt:
- Reducing expenses
- Maximizing income
- Side hustling
- Taking advantage of lucky breaks
There will be a future blog post to come on this, outlining all that transpired to give the debt a final heave-ho.
But today’s isn’t it.
Maybe it’s time to get back into writing …
So lastly, there’s been a sh*t ton of stuff going on in the world as of late.
Some of it seems akin to something conjured up in a fictional, upside-down world, dystopian novel. And to be honest, I currently feel the most “normal” I’ve ever been. Not leaving the house and socially distancing from everybody? Well, that’s just a day in the life of a socially anxious introvert like me.
In addition, some other world-wide developments have been a long, long, long time coming. Liberty and justice for ALL — without a doubt. I cannot even pretend to understand what people of color have struggled through to get to this point.
Honestly, I have neither the experience nor the expertise to speak on either topic, except from my own personal perspective. And there are outlets and individuals out there who can speak to these topics way better than I ever could.
Just know that I am feeling and listening and reacting along with you, to the best of my abilities, and am open to all conversations.
A Whole New World
So this is where I find myself. Not entirely sure I’m ready to jump back in, but I’m willing to give it a try.
A friend of mine recently asked whatever happened to my blog — if I was still writing. She’s an author, and just published her third book. I told her I’ve been taking a break, and didn’t quite know how to get back into the swing of things.
Then she gave me some advice: Just. Start. Writing.
Put something out there. Anything. Everything. Whatever you feel like saying.
It’ll start coming back, maybe slowly, but surely.
Because you can’t truly lose that love. Of writing, of crafting, of imagining.
It may be lying somewhat dormant, but it has never really left.
So here we go …
My New Normal: Second Chances, Reinventing, Beginning Again
Robin is a full-time business professional who has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. She is also a personal finance blogger who shares her first hand experience with the struggles of money and debt. On Mastering the Side Jam, she focuses on ways to maximize efficiencies to make & save money, pay off debt, and live your best life.
She has been been featured on The Money Mix, Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet and Women’s Money Talk, and has been quoted in various online publications.