Saturday, January 28, 2017

Prioritizing Relationships - Friendship is Work

We lost my husband's Grandmother suddenly this week. This is a rose from the floral arrangement on her casket. It's been a trying a depressing week, but it has also been a week to think about family and prioritizing relationships.

Who comes first in your life?

I feel the hierarchy is thus: 1. Family and Spouse, because they are family now that they are married to you, 2. Significant others who are not married to you, 3. Friends, the closer the higher.

You will notice that I left out God or a higher power that you believe in. This is because I am not wanting to address this in this post. It should not be overlooked, however. God or whatever higher power has an omnipresence, or is everywhere, so automatically, whether you address your deity of choice or not, they are there in every aspect of your life.

Back to the hierarchy..

Never was it more obvious than in the seating arrangements at the funeral. Closest family sits up front. I know for some people the closest family might only be close in blood relation and not emotionally, however, they sit closest whether they cry for the deceased or not. Extended family are next, grandchildren, cousins, etc. Then friends and others are at the back. Sometimes a friend is as close as family and they earn a spot in the front rows.

Which got me thinking about friendship and how powerful it can be. You choose your friends. You don't choose your family. Friendship takes more work to stay close than family does. Family gets the front rows no matter what.

If you want to be able to call your friends family, then you have to spend time with them and be vulnerable with them. If you stop texting, calling, or hanging out together,  then you lose status with your friend. You move them back a row or two in the seating arrangement. You might even put someone new ahead of them in the seating arrangement. How awkward is it for an old friend to see a new friend come and sit in front of them because they believe they are closer to you? How could this new friend know you better? Your old friend feels slighted and dejected. It happens all the time in life. This is why friendship is work.
I encourage you to hold your friends close this week. Text them. Call them. Spend time with them. Listen to them. Do what they want to do. Give them a gift. Be a good friend back to them. Let them know you care and you value them. If you want them in your front row, work at making them as close as family.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

How are my 2017 Goals coming along?

It's time for a goals update!

Physical - I have been able to hit the 5 mile mark on the elliptical. This is huge for me. I am enjoying the smaller digit on the scale, too, but I know it's time to stop looking at the numbers there and start looking at muscle tone and clothing size numbers instead.

Mental/Emotional - I have really enjoyed talking with my best friend. I sometimes worry that I am monopolizing their time, but so far they haven't told me I'm annoying. I still struggle with my inferiority complex and some attention seeking, but I keep most of that to myself. It is not helpful.

Spiritual - It's hardest to remember to commune with your spiritual advisor when you are happy and busy. While things are not always peachy, I mean, my car is broken and I'm not enjoying driving the back-up vehicle, but I thank goodness I HAVE a backup vehicle, things mostly are trucking along. I'm involved in this Special Needs Prom. I'm involved in my church. I have reminders from people I love and respect to stay in tune with this important third leg of the wellness triangle.

I'm okay. There were some bumps in the financial road, but things are still okay. January is like that. Let's hope that the year stays on track.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year Reflection and Words on Budgeting

It's a few days into the new year, so I'm late in wishing everyone a Happy New Year. I usually do a resolutions post, and I have certainly been reviewing my goals and deciding what steps to take next in my life.

Most of the goals I had written for this year two years ago in my 5 year plan are still right on track. There are a couple surprises, though. Life is like that.

For example just yesterday my car broke, I was late to work, I'm fighting off an illness, and this freak storm took out one of our lamps and the screen door and a few more shingles off the roof.

Where was I? Oh, yes, goals.
I usually focus on all the areas of well-being when I make these kinds of plans. I like to be balanced. When things get off-balance, I am no longer healthy and happy.

The three parts to well-being are physical, emotional, and spiritual.

1. Physically, I always set some sort of health goal. 2016 was about health. All the goals I had about my body and those of my family were met. 2017 is going to be about exercise and staying healthy. While on break from work for the holidays it was easy to get a workout in. Now that I am back to work, I am fighting some days to get a workout. Things have happened that also have prevented me from doing one, like vehicular trouble so I don't get home until bedtime. This is an area where I have the tools and knowledge, I just need to use them.

2. Emotional/mental health for me is tied to social goals. Happiness is found in friendship, fun, and maintaining my hobbies. I have ideas for vacations or day trips written down as well as goals for writing, blogging, and editing.

3. Spiritual health for me comes from my religion. While I know my readers are diverse and I have diverse friends as far as spiritual matters are concerned, I do believe that no matter what you believe, time needs to be taken to contemplate life; to slow down and think. I really feel that these times of self-reflection are at the heart of great ideas, focus, and calming a raging storm, especially if you feel that storm is inside you.

Where do finances come into play? They certainly are stressful and affect all aspects of your life.

You have to find balance here, too. Making a budget and sticking to it increases your peace of mind. Not being stressed increases your physical health. Spiritually, you may decide to make a tithe or a donation to the charity of your choice.

Fixing things like broken lamps and faucets

(See the crack in the middle?)
certainly takes money and can set you back. This is why a budget is important. Pull up a spreadsheet and start typing categories, amounts, and dates into its little organized squares. Print a template and fill it in. Somehow take a look at your spending and income and figure it out. If you have a goal in mind, like a cruise (I wish), then figure it up and start saving towards it. Sure, pennies in a jar can work if you have plenty of them, but deciding on an amount to set aside every paycheck works faster.
If it seems money is disappearing faster than you can make it, a budget sheet will prove to you whether it really is or not. It may also help you make tough decisions.