Purchases

I’ve been on something of a spending moratorium. (I’m feeling broke, though I don’t like using that word. It implies something is wrong with me, rather than my financial footing. So when I’m telling myself that I need more work; that I’m broke –  I’ll usually stop and say, “I feel like I don’t have enough money.”)

Anyway, it seems that all the money I’m making goes towards bills, which has been the case for the past couple of months. However, there are some purchases I’ve made that have been well worth the investment.

First, my Sony noise-canceling headphones. I bought them just over a year ago now. They have been used while traveling, in meditation, for walks and occasionally exercise, and when I’m working at home. They are a marvelous invention, and for years I said I didn’t need them. Now I’m so glad I have a pair.

A Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Vest. I think I got this early in the year, maybe around February. It was just starting to get warmer, and in Florida, we don’t think about cooler weather all that much. But again, I’m so glad I have it. I wore it for much of my time Alaska this summer, and it just hit the sixties here last night. Besides, I’ll be up in Pennsylvania later this month as well.

And finally, another purchase I’m loving this year, my Parker ’51 Fountain pen. Now, I bought this at an antique store for $5, so it wasn’t really a splurge. But I cleaned it up, and it works perfectly. My morning journal entries are written with a Lamy AL-Star fountain pen, but everything else I use my Parker for. I carry it with me everywhere. Currently, I’m filling it with a Pilot Iroshizuku teal ink.

And over the past twelve months, these have been my most used items. I was gifted a pocketknife that I carry with me everywhere. So that gets used a lot as well. But these items bring me a lot of joy. Every time I look at them or use them, I’m so glad that I have them.

That is what purchases should be. Something that will bring you continued joy over the course of their lives. Otherwise, it could just become clutter. (Don’t worry, I have that too…)

Refinancing

Looking at my 2019 finances, I’m a bit less optimistic than I was mere weeks ago. One reason is that my healthcare deductible is increasing. Significantly. Like, from $60 to $350.

I set a goal in 2018 to discover what was wrong with me. Whether or not I actually had rheumatoid arthritis. All signs pointed to yes. I’m still off medication, which I’m thrilled about. Really, it’s been like two years.

When I was first put on medication I could barely walk. I used a cane to hobble around, and the time it took me to get out of bed was roughly an episode of The Price is Right. I hurt, and I was slow, and before the diagnosis, I thought I was dying.

The medication let me move comfortably again, but it had its own corresponding health issues. Fatigue (occasionally severe fatigue); responses to food that I used to enjoy – now they made me sick; lethargy; increased aggression for the first few months; and liver problems. They pinballed me through all different kinds of medication, trying to find the right cocktail.

So, not needing it and showing little signs of the initial RA diagnosis, I was certain that I had been misdiagnosed. But my bloodwork last year showed elevated inflammation levels conducive with RA, along with other markers. Long story short, better for me to keep my medical insurance.

Now, that’s one expense that increased dramatically. My work is mostly on a contract basis, so that expense comes out of pocket.

How does someone living in this day and age, balancing student loan debt, the rising costs of healthcare, and basic living expenses, make it? How does one become not only stable, but successful.

My first step is a budget. And with that cornerstone, I am hopeful that the bricks will fit securely.

Why work?

What is the purpose of work? Other than making money, of course. Why are some people so satisfied with their professions, while others are left feeling that what they do doesn’t matter, and they just collect the paycheck and move on with their lives?

To me, work is the calling to something more. We all have gifts, notions about who we are and what we are capable of. I believe that people, deep down, all have a desire to provide help to their fellow man. 
Work is the fulfillment of that desire. Yes, work pays the bills. Or it should. Work is a commitment. Work is the place that we spend a good third of our lives.
Work is not the end-all, be-all. Work is not, or should not be, the daily grind. Work should lift us up, provide a sustainable lifestyle for its employees. We work because we have to, but we should also work because we want to. To do that, the work should be a vocation.
To work is to be interconnected. Within a job, we are part of the whole global economy, not merely isolated in our decisions and choices. What we do, how we do it, and the results of our labors are part of a much larger whole. Neglecting this fact, believing that we operate in a vacuum, is detrimental both to our health and the health of society.

I’m curious right now about the relationship between currency and wealth; of income disparity; the economic state of our Nation and the World. One more topic in the litany of interests I’ll be reading about, or studying, over the coming months.