When I started this blog, I had intentions of writing about money, health and sustainability, trying to point out that the spot where they all intersect occurs more often than you would think. I tried to keep to that at the beginning, but I found it to be very difficult. When I started posting with more frequency about 2 months ago, I had been trying to keep 4 posts going up a week, with finances on Monday [typically stories from lessons I pick up at the school of hard knocks], the environment/green topics on Wednesday, and health on Fridays, with a link round-up Thursday. I’ve had some posts on health recently, but nothing substantial. The same thing goes with the environmental and green topics. I have not had much time to relate any strategies to this to my life (as it is now) so it’s difficult for me to write about. The same goes for finance [thankfully] I havent made many mistakes lately, so I cant tell you a story about how my stupidity cost me a bundle like it did here.
Well, I guess it’s time for me to come clean on all these topics, and I’ll start with the environmental side of things. As I alluded to in the post on recently about the importance of a warranty, I drive a lot. It’s because of my job situation and it depends on the day, but at a minimum, it’s around 100 miles. If I go to my second job after my first job (which I do about 2-3 times during the work week, and I’m doing to pay down my debt) it’s slightly over 150 miles per day. Along with this, I go to my second job 1 day on the weekend, which is another 100 mile commute. All told, I typically put at least 700 miles on my car in a week, and sometimes more than that. This is obviously not what I had envisioned when I started this blog a year ago, nor is it what I imagined my post-college lifestyle would be like. Far from it, in fact. I had nice visions in my head of living less than 5 miles from my office no matter what city I ended up moving to and walking or biking to work. I came extremely close to accomplishing that, but unfortunately it came apart at the seams before it could even get started.
Once that happened, reality set in. I had (thankfully) been saving up cash to make a move to somewhere, possibly across the country. I ended up planning to have the money for a security deposit in an expensive market and to cover moving costs. I ended up not needing of this but I did need the money to live off of for a while. All told, my savings came out to about 3 months worth of expenses. Living off of that money wasn’t fun, and the account was draining fast. I realized I needed some income in the worst way. I tried to find employment near my home (or in my city, or state) but that didn’t happen soon enough, so I found myself accepting a position where I’d be driving at least 100 miles a day. Reality came by and smacked my dreams of walking to work into the future. At the time, it didnt really bother me. I needed an income, and I needed one bad, and was not really in the position to be picky when I was a few months away from eating alpo. Now that I’m not in that position (financially) anymore, not being able to walk (or bike, or drive less than an hour) to work bothers me a bit.
Along with that, I dont really feel like I’ve been practicing being sustainable very well lately. Sure, I’ve gotten much better at bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, but I still forget them every time I purchase something at Wal-Mart or Target. This doesn’t really make me feel any better about bringing them to the store, save for the fact that I usually punish myself for forgetting reusable bags by making myself carry out whatever I purchase, sans bag. I haven’t been tending to my compost pile regularly enough, but it is still not going strong as I think it could. I think it’s got something to do with the nature of it “set it and forget it” more than any action that I’ve taken recently.
These are alright, but I constantly feel like I could be doing more. More waste could get composted, I could be driving less (much less), and I could remember bags more often. However, it seems like doing some of the things I want to do more of would short circuit progress to my other goals. I cant drive less because I need two jobs to become debt free (for now). I’m using 100% of my second income to pay off debt and fund my savings account/E fund for now, and I don’t want to give that up. Its difficult for me to remember to bring bags to go non-food shopping with because I actively try not to buy things when I’m in a store. That, combined with my “punishment” for myself seems to do a perfectly fine job of keeping me from buying things. As far as the compost goes, I’m not really sure why I keep forgetting to put stuff in the bin. Much of the yard waste goes in there, but almost none of the food waste. I had a bucket to keep in the kitchen for food waste, but the dog chewed it up. A lot of the things in the kitchen have to do with ease right now. It’s much easier for me to toss it in the garbage than walk it outside to the bin.
But all of this begs the question, How can I work towards my goals in a meaningful way that doesn’t compromise my other goals? Do you readers have something like a goal priority list, where maybe your #1 goal is to be debt free, then your #2 goal is to lose 24 lbs? I know that focusing on 1 thing can help you accomplish your goal quickly, but it’s not a race (right?).
How do you all handle your goals?