Getting Your Life Together: From Budgeting to Decluttering
I know that I’m feeling the heat of my entrepreneurial lifestyle in the midst of the pandemic at the moment, and I know that I’m not alone. The “stimulus” that I received early on during the initial push to keep us all indoors for our own good helped a little, but it quickly evaporated in the second wave of infection. As my gym faces several more months of closure due to the continued risk of infection, I’ve struggled with how I could possibly make “ends meet” in the next year, so that my dreams of financial independence don’t meet their end. Thankfully, this isn’t the first time I’ve been through this sort of thing; I’m not at all ashamed to admit that this is my second attempt at a start-up and that my first ended in bankruptcy.
Starting Over is a Success
I know that the idea of bankruptcy seems almost incongruous with my continual “I can do this” and “don’t stop me now” and “just one more rep, I didn’t need that pectoral muscle anyway” attitude, but it’s true: and it wasn’t nearly as painful or as embarrassing to me as our modern popular culture renditions of the process had me believing it would be. In fact, with the right professional help, my bankruptcy was straightforward and relatively painless; with guidance, I used the process exactly as it had been intended to be: a clean slate for a hardworking business owner to start over, and to start fresh. The experience wasn’t all “sunshine and roses,” to be sure, but it allowed me the opportunity to gather myself and started me off down a new path in my life: it’s the path that I’m currently on, and I intend to keep following where it leads me. Don’t worry if you’re not on the right “career path” at the moment during these critical months of lockdown: it might just be the opportunity you need to start along with a new one once this is over and get your finances in order.
What Healthy Finances Can Mean For You
Money obviously can’t buy my sense of happiness: by that, I mean that my inner peace is not at all attributable to any outer force. However, there are some luxuries in life that I know would contribute to my overall sense of happiness and wellbeing. As I continue following my career path towards a life that is free of the difficulties that come with unstable finances, these are my “financial stability” goals: the luxuries that I’d spend my money on because I know it would enrich my life:
- Once the pandemic is over and we can expand our social “bubble,” I’d like to hire a house cleaner to come over once a week or so—that would free up both my time and my partner’s for other activities, while also employing good people who are also looking to get back on their feet after the lockdown. Minimal housework during the week will also lower our collective stress levels. Once the lockdown is over, I plan on doing some house-cleaning for my older friends—who’ve been unable to keep up their homes as they’d like—for this very reason. As I’m a fan of “house-organizing” shows as well, I’d like to do a big, backyard cleanup for my parents as well, and finally get a lot of unusable items into the dump where they belong to free up space, while also donating all that’s reusable.
- I want to be able to travel and take awesome vacations: not right now—for obvious reasons—but I have found such immense enjoyment in the upkeep of my car and camp trailer set-up for solo road trips, that I know I’d enjoy some backpacking in far-off places. I want to afford to fly to other countries and stay at local hotels, while also paying for some wonderful, ethnic dishes at local pubs and restaurants. What the world is suffering from most right now is ignorance, and there’s nothing that fights ignorance like travel and immersion within others’ cultures.
- More than anything, as I watch my friends and family struggle during this difficult time, I seek success so that I can be generous. Once we can all eat out together again, I want to pick up the bill at the restaurant. I want to pay that bar tab. I don’t want to think twice about buying a gift for my loved ones. I want my family members to travel with me, so they can learn about others as well. Improving the lives of those I love is my main motivator towards getting my life in order.
More Money, Less Problems
Mostly, I want to use this time to get my life in order for the general feeling of security. To speak candidly, I grew up poor, and in the midst of constant financial stress and instability. I constantly worried about money through my twenties, which is why I took on an unfulfilling, dead-end job to keep my head above water. When I changed my life to better match my goals, my whole life got better. While facing the uncertainty of the moment, the only advice I can offer is this: solidify the reasons for why you want to get your life in order and hold fast to them. Those reasons will still be there long after this pandemic is over, and will push you past it until you reach your goals.