Thursday, January 23, 2014

Learning how to live as an adult

The concept of adulthood has been on my mind since graduating college. I'm sure if I went back into my high school journals, I was counting down the days until I turned 18, when I'd finally be respected as a mature individual.

Haha.

I try not to be cruel to people younger than myself. I remember clearly how "grown-up" I felt at that time. I hate that I now sound as prejudiced as I thought other people did back then. That's perspective for you. Even if someone is naive in relation to your own experiences/age, I think they still deserve respect and that is key to helping teenagers get through the worst years. Of course, when it gets to a certain age, like under 13, I don't know how to talk to you anymore and I am sure my niece & nephews think I'm hella awkward. But hopefully a little cool. They did used to sing songs about me after all. I've got another chance with the baby, maybe he won't become scared of me someday like one of them did...

So here I am, a real adult. I think.

I've got my own health insurance, provided by my work, which is a nice office job. I sit in a cubicle all day. Not only am I married, but my husband is signed into all aspects of my life, from every kind of insurance that I have, to my emergency contact forms for every doctor I've visited in the past couple of years. We rent a floor in a two-family home, we have two cars, we have a cat, and we both have credit cards now. Well, mine is in the mail.

So, I am an adult, in my book. What I'm struggling with is applying my current feelings & sense of self to this concept of adulthood. Like most kids, we expect that something magical changes on our birthdays, that we will suddenly feel older, but it never happens. Well, that's the same for growing up in any sense. Now I'm married and I only feel married because I recognize and accept certain aspects of my relationship with Hulky that fit with my concept of marriage. All that's left is for me to accept that I already am this adult that I thought I should be.

Perspective, perspective, perspective.

Claiming My 30's - I found this article pretty useful. I'm smack-dab in my mid-20's right now and it's honestly relieving to read that things might settle down someday. I often find myself lamenting that we aren't doing more now or that we aren't already at certain milestones that I'd like to reach someday. We have time. We can live it up for now. We're getting along just fine, making plans and setting goals. Debts are getting paid. We are pretty healthy. I am grateful for the stability we have and look forward to more in the future.

BUT

The Work-Life balance? I have no idea. I think the identity I am struggling with most now is that of a working adult. What does it mean to be part of the workforce? Does my work define me? Is it okay to let it? How do I live between the hours at the office? I've recently let myself become engrossed in Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 (for the PlayStation 3). I play it after work and on weekends quite a lot. There's plenty of content to keep me busy and plenty of extras to fulfill my need to complete everything. I love achievements in games. But I still need to make dinner, do laundry, keep the apartment clean, and run errands. I keep asking myself, "When am I supposed to do everything?" I have to remember that it's up to me to create my own definitions & apply them to what I do. I find myself trying to fit myself in the mold of how I see other working adults, like my parents, but their experiences are not mine and I don't necessarily want to have the after-hours life that they do.

And living day to day is not the worst thing you can do when stressed, or when you're figuring things out. It's actually very smart, in my book. Tonight, I'll swing by the grocery store on the way home for some meat & anything else that I remember that we need. I'll do a load of laundry. I might watch something with my husband and we'll definitely snuggle with the cat. And I'm totally playing more Lego Harry Potter.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Link love - Monday edition


  • I hope I am not the only person who does this. My grandmother's house is incredibly dear to me. My grandfather designed it & helped build it. While he did not wield all the trucks & hammers that put it together, we generally say he built it himself. Over the years, not much has changed as far as interior decor goes, but recently, some changes have been made in bed sizes, wall colors, and drapery. It gets me thinking about what it might look like in the future, after my grandmother has passed. I realize this is kind of morbid and I really don't want anyone to think that I want my grandmother to DIE so that we can renovate the interior. In fact, I was hoping to take a weekend trip up sometime this spring or summer & offer to paint some of the bedrooms for her (she told me she wants to change the colors on the 2nd floor). This post got me thinking about the style of the place. I'm not a huge fan of mid-century design, but the colors in the bedroom image & tile in the eating area are really appealing to me.
    From here
    I definitely think the 2nd floor should have the carpeting removed & hardwood floors installed someday (if only to get rid of the orange carpets). I would love to paint the bedrooms up there a pale gray-blue or soft gray, with white ceilings.
  • There is no such thing as bullying - a good read. If the title makes you go, "UM EXCUSE ME", read it because you will be pleasantly surprised.
  • 5 Warnings Signs Your Home Isn't Working For You - This doesn't mean you have to move, but maybe your "systems" need some re-working. I am spending a lot of time on Apartment Therapy lately. The homing bug has bit. I am totally not browsing Craigslist for houses... Okay, my parents are doing some renovation stuff so that is probably a huge factor. Mama, if you want help painting next weekend, let me know & hand me a roller!
In non-link news, I have been making good progress on my winter clean-up. I haven't done much of the computer stuff except identify which fan is failing (rear case fan). I've done some of the clothes stuff & found homes for things in the guest bedroom that had been lingering since we moved in August/September. Next step is opening up my storage opportunities by getting some plastic bins & cheap shelving units. Target, here I come. I also really, really, really want to hang some shelves in a few spots in the apartment, but since we don't own the place, I don't really want to make holes that I'll have to fix later. The bathroom would do well with some shelves over the toilet and there are a few spots in the sunroom that would be really practical with some shelving. Not to mention cozy. I can't wait until we own a place.

Oh yeah, we installed a pull-up bar this weekend. I can't wait to get ripped. One pull-up is my goal for the year. That may sound tiny, but DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD PULL-UPS ARE?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter cleaning 2014

Usually Spring Cleaning is the thing, but I tend to get bit by a cleaning bug about once a season. I have been gripped by the need to tidy some things up in my life lately so I'm making a list. I'd like to accomplish all of this (fairly easy stuff) this month, but I'm giving myself until the end of winter just to be safe.

Computer stuff

  • Open the case while the system is running so I can identify which fan is failing & replace it.
    • Dusting will sadly have to wait until we have consistently better weather. Maybe if it's dry this weekend, I can take it out on the porch with the compressed air canisters.
  • Put resumes & important documents on Google Docs or Dropbox.
  • Get photos off all cameras & back up all photos on external drive.
  • Put some of the lingering tech stuff that's been in the front porch area away in the basement.
  • Watch for sales for new hard drives & external hard drives (need one of each, at least 500 GB, preferably 1 TB for external).
House stuff
  • Go through the back-up dresser & organize stuff into compartments/boxes, re-consolidate, & throw stuff out.
  • Go through main dresser & re-fold/reorganize. Put away the clothes that don't fit right now & get clothes to donate into a bag.
  • Go through shoes & get rid of some for donation.
  • Find a small shelving unit to put in the bathroom for the odds & ends that are living on the floor/back of the toilet.
  • Get some kind of shelving unit so I can organize my sewing projects.
  • Throw out ancient sewing projects/supplies that I have not ever/yet used. That's going to a lot of things, probably.
  • Get assistance in finding the studs in the hall closet so I can install shelves (plaster is too warped for the electronic stud-finder to work).
  • Review book shelves & boxes of books for anything that might sell.

What kind of stuff do you like to take care of seasonally? I'm sure I'll be doing more as I get going, but this is a good start.


On another note, I am completely nervous about taxes this year. I think I claimed too many exemptions so going from single to married means I might owe instead of get money back. That sucks. The sooner I get my tax forms, the sooner we can crank up the old HR Block and see what's what.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Idle thoughts: plans for 2014


I decided to come up with some potentially easy goals or focuses for 2014, rather than "resolutions". Like most people, I don't stick to those, so I find it helpful to re-frame the goal into something that I know I can accomplish, but still is a bit challenging.
  • Credit card - I used to always say I would never get a credit card. I am not sure if my finances are stable enough to consider one at this point, but I am thinking about the potential benefits of having one for things like groceries (only), and paying off the balance weekly. Something with no annual fee, decent cash back on everyday purchases, and maybe a starting bonus if I spend enough in the first three months or so :D. I could definitely spend $500 on groceries alone, probably in just two months! I don't feel like I'd be tempted to use the card for money I don't actually have.
  • Certifications - I'm waiting for my CompTIA A+ certification exams to get approved at work so I can buy the vouchers. Whether or not the company reimburses me, I will be taking those exams! I'm still working through the study guide though and really need to start making flash cards. I suck at studying. The goal is to take the exams by the end of May (the month of my annual review, will be 3 yrs at the company this year), preferably before May. Then I want to start studying for Network+.
  • Clothes - I have spent a kind of silly amount of time wondering on this blog about how to build a sense of style. I finally realized that I have one, it's just not really defined by current trends. I wear what I wear, I don't think there's any word for it. Function & comfort probably come first for me. This year, I'm thinking that I might limit myself to only buying "new" clothes from thrift stores. The exceptions would be a new bathing suit (none of mine fit well and I've had them for years), underwear, and socks. I am too lazy to go shopping often, I don't really need new clothes (yet, but my size has changed recently so we'll see what happens once I'm active in the spring/summer), so I see this as a cool way to save some cash. Shoes might be a reasonable exception since thrift stores have such a limited offering, but I really don't need any so I think I'll just leave it off the list. I have at least two weddings to attend this year and more nice dresses than I need, so I don't have to worry about that either.