September Goals

Ahh, fall is here. Or, if you live in Arizona like me, the idea of fall is here. I’m okay with that though, temperatures are supposed to be dropping next week by ten degrees and that alone will be bringing some much-needed relief.

Since my birthday, things have been pretty quiet except on the health front. I’ve been in and out of the hospital and doctor offices for radiation damage done to my salivary glands. I’ve been under going treatment for thyroid cancer since January and while my radiation was in March, I am now suffering from severe radiation damage. It’s very common with the radiation I had but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. Basically, my ducts are swollen shut due to inflammation and a softball size lump can appear in five minutes.

I’m hopeful though. My doctors are amazing, my support system is amazing and my job is amazing. All have allowed me to focus on my health during this time and have respected my new boundaries I’ve been putting in place by valuing myself and my time. Keeping this in mind, I’ve set the following goals for the month.

  1. Continue working on my health. I have a lot of doctor appointments including my six-month scan. I have also taken steps to further cut the crap out of my diet and would like to continue on this path. I would love to be eating 80/20 by the end of the year.
  2. Deep clean my apartment. Since I declared my year of value, I have been cleaning out a lot of clutter from my home. I would like to finish and then do a deep clean.
  3. Enjoy time with my family and boyfriend. Being in a long distance relationship is hard but it’s helpful my boyfriend works from home and has a flexible schedule outside of the summer. He will be here for a few weeks so I’m excited to soak in time with him and both of our families while he’s out here. My niece is turning one and she is the absolute cutest.
  4. Read two books. In the middle of two books and would like to get back into my reading routine at night.
  5. Track all spending.  Financial blogger confession- I just got back on the “tracking your train” and boy, it’s been eye opening. I’ve become participated in lifestyle inflation this year and while I thought I was saving adequately and paying off debt, I could still be doing much more. It’s so easy to get caught up even though you’ve been working on good financial habits for years.

Hope everyone has a good September! Does anyone have anything fun planned?

Personal Values

I am a firm believer that once the universe, or God, thinks you are ready, you will start to see signs everywhere. And once I declared my value to the universe last Tuesday, I have been seeing signs.

Now, to everyone else, they might not seem like much, but things I have considered signs?

  • Social media articles.
  • Prayers.
  • Quotes.
  • Conversations where I was able to let others know I didn’t feel valued in situations.

And much more. It feels everywhere I turn, I am seeing signs of knowing my value. Needless to say, I am actually excited about having the idea valuing myself my project for the upcoming year. I always set goals and have achieved some of them, but I really never thought about the why behind what I wanted to actually accomplish something. For example, I always set a goal to accomplish reading 52 books every year. Why do I want to read 52 books in a year

For example, I always set a goal to accomplish reading 52 books every year. Why do I want to read 52 books in a year? Is it because I see others do it? Is it because I like the idea of reading a book a week? If I do like that idea, why? Is it because I want to compete with others or myself? I could really go on with inductive reasoning but the main reasoning behind setting this goal is A.) It sounds nice in my head. B.) I am sad at the thought I’ll never be able to complete my to be read pile on Goodreads and C.) I truly value the enjoyment I get from reading, both academically and recreationally. Not everything is complicated in life, but you can easily see how much someone can really dig into things.

A while ago, after reading my friend Jason Vitug’s book, “You Only Live Once,” I made a list of things I valued and was willing to spend money on. Such things included travel, education, health, and friends. While my list hasn’t entirely changed, I still have some ideas of areas in my life I would like to really focus on valuing the next year, while still valuing myself. It’s always easier to value things and people than valuing yourself and that is exactly the type of behavior I am trying to get away from.

Areas of my personal life up for consideration?

  • Health– I value my body & mind. I hope to live a long healthy life to the best of my ability by taking care of myself both physically and mentally. What can I do to help ensure this is possible?
  • Self-Worth- I value my self-worth. I hope to one day not rely on others to make me happy or unhappy and instead, make myself happy. I do not wish anyone to pay attention to me or give me an opportunity. I know I am worthy of attention and opportunities. If someone fails to acknowledge it, it does not make me any less of a person. What can I do to feel confident and happy in all situations?
  • Education- I value my education. I have honored this to myself by getting a bachelors degree for me. While this will help my earning potential in the long one, it is my biggest accomplishment to get up every day and focus for however many years it took me. Since I do not want to lose feeling accomplished, I will continue to read and learn new things, as it relates to both my interests, self-development, new cultures and my career.
  • Wealth- I value my bank account and there is no shame in valuing security. I value not worrying about money at night or how I can pay my bills. I value knowing that I have money shall an emergency happen and I know I am blessed and have money for food and other necessities and even wants. I am also blessed so I try to share when I can.
  • My space- I value myself and anywhere I spend my time. I value my home, my office space, and my car. By choosing to not clutter, decorate in fun and meaningful ways and keeping cleanliness, I am showing myself I value my space and comfort.
  • Fun- I value myself and allow my inner child to have fun. I value spending time with others but I also value spending time with myself. I value reading, watching movies and anything else that brings me joy and laughter. Traveling and experiencing new things is something else I value spending time and money on.
  • My Business- I value making a difference in others lives through my career and opportunities I can create for myself and others. I value educating others on things I wish I was educated on so I could have been more successful earlier in life. I know I have great ideas and compassion for others and I can help them like others can and have. I hope to share my wealth and ideas with an audience of my peers to help them as well.

I think this is a great start for now and now that I know my “why”, I am happy to get started.

What are you choosing to value about yourself?

 

The Year Of Value

noun: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

Last week, I had the honor of celebrating my 32nd birthday surrounded by friends. I am totally blessed in that while I don’t have a lot of family (really just my father), that I have a ton of friends that I have picked up along the way. Not only did I get to see one of my favorite singers live with free upgraded seating for my birthday, I also got to spend the weekend cooking great meals with friends and going on outdoor adventures at a friend’s cabin up north. And then right before that, I spent a week on the east coast visiting my boyfriend. We partied at a Roger Water’s concert, ate great food and sharing with him my love for Stephen King.

My life is blessed and very full. I have worked hard over the years to design something I love and get to enjoy. I was complaining to my friends just last week I had wanted to take a sailing class but can’t seem to be home for longer than three weeks. A first world problem so filled with privilege if there ever was one. Truly, if 27-year-old Athena heard those words out of my mouth, she would have reached over and slapped her hard.

And while I have joy in my life, mental illness refuses to let me enjoy it sometimes. Old wounds I have spent countless time, energy and money on still haunt me. I have been in therapy off and on for years, and when I think I am strong, something happens that is not even the worst, and I spend days reeling from it. I had a tough life growing up and it still follows me around even though it’s been years. I still play out unhealthy coping mechanisms because it’s all I’ve ever known. And when I feel on top of the world, I can get wiped out in a single wave.

This summer, I have spent a lot of time trying to reel things in before they became worse. I knew it was getting bad again when I found myself in two situations that I should not have been in, saying things I still can’t believe I quite said. It was so out of character, even for me, with my personality disorder. I also found myself unable to concentrate and blowing opportunities that would allow me to take my business to the next level. It was like I couldn’t stop myself, lighting everything close to me on fire.

I’m still recovering from my cancer treatment and losing a loved one from cancer. I’m recovering from a professional failure and then getting even more bad news professionally, four times in the past two months. And I spend my life just doing the bare minimum to get by if it has anything to do with just me. I can’t bear letting others done but for me, I could care less. If you saw the disarray in my house, my body, and my finances, you would agree.  I had to ask myself why I was not truly giving things in my life my all. Why was I not showing any value or letting people know how bright I could really shine and letting the bad circumstances knock out all the hard work I do

Truth bomb: I don’t value myself. Yes, I was literally in the car crying to my boyfriend about my day at work when it hit me like a pile of bricks. I don’t value myself because of my past, which had nothing to even do with me. And I carry around immense shame, scared and terrified people will leave me again, like they did when I needed them the most when it had nothing to do with me. I was a serious people pleaser in my relationships when I was younger and I thought I had outgrown it but it instead manifested in different ways in my life.

Because I don’t value myself, I am never fully confident in anything I do. I never own anything and sort of just let things happen. Sure, when I am really motivated to do something I can definitely do it but I am only like that with my education. Why can’t I apply that to everything else? Because that was the one thing I was always good at, from a very young age. I already had learned how to do that before the shit hit the fan in my life and stuttered my growth in other areas. And because I haven’t been able to own anything, I am behind or not where I want to be, in a lot of aspects of my life. Because I don’t value myself enough to do the work to get there. It’s a hard and slippery slope to admit you don’t value yourself out loud. It’s hard to feel valued by others and like you matter when you yourself don’t think so. It’s hard for others to respect you when you portray it unconsciously and don’t take yourself seriously enough to be confident in your decisions. It’s hard all around.

It’s a hard and slippery slope to admit you don’t value yourself out loud. It’s hard to feel valued by others and like you matter when you yourself don’t think so. It’s hard for others to respect you when you portray it unconsciously and don’t take yourself seriously enough to be confident in your decisions. It’s hard all around.

So this year, I want to work really hard on adding value to myself. I want to show myself, really show myself, that I value, well, myself. I value my relationships and my cat but I value me too. I need to start valuing my health (both mentally and physically), my wealth, my space ( my apartment and car), my career, my business and own personal goals, by making them a priority. I already feel I value my relationships in life so I would just like to keep spending time with loved ones and offering space and understanding when it needs to happen. And this isn’t about them. This is about me letting go of the shame and knowing I am deserving of love, good, and light. I add value to this world and others in it.  And I need to recognize that.

May Recap/ June Goals

May was not the greatest for me. I had a funeral to attend to that messed me up, I’ve been splitting ( I have BPD) and I found myself struggling with my back again. I was in and out of urgent care, laid on my back and just in pain.

But I also got to spend time with friends, try new things and I am growing my business. So it’s not all bad but it’s not all good.

  1. Find my flow. I have an increased work load for my side business this month and it’s very possible I’ll continue with it going forward. I figured out that I would like to spend at least 15 hours a week on my business ( including this site and clients) so I need to figure out a way to get my additional work done.
  2. Take care of myself. This includes therapy every week, praying, working out twice a week, eating healthy, taking my supplements, sleeping ( it’s hard with back pain) and going to all of my doctor appointments.
  3. Have fun in San Francisco. I’ll be going to visit a friend and her family at the end of the month and I am so freaking excited! My bucket list includes, Castro, Alcatraz, meeting up with friends and eating good food. Any other suggestions?
  4. Read three books. I am still working on IT. And I would like to finish The Cook Up and True Crime Addict since they have been on my nightstand for a month.

Anyone have anything exciting going on?

 

Things My Mother Taught Me

I have a love hate relationship with Mother’s Day posts so it’s ironic that I find myself writing one.

I struggled actually, even thinking about it. See, my mom passed away when I was younger ( 15) and it was very traumatic. It wasn’t her fault, but the circumstances around her death and after her death were rough. Life was just rough. And although I thought I was over it for many years, and was able to function, it took me a long time to process it. I’m still processing it. Grief is funny in a way.

But now that I am actually thriving in my life, despite circumstances that have happened lately, I can think about what my mom taught me. It may not be standard financial lesson such as a 401 K or taxes, but it is still pretty important to me nonetheless.

Life happens. Do your best anyways.

If I have learned anything this past year, it’s that life happens. I get so caught up loving life when it’s great that when something bad happens, it hits me harrrddddd. I get so upset that it’s literally all I can focus on and it takes me hours to calm down, only after I have bawled and cried to anyone who will listen to me.

I do have a condition that I actively seek therapy for ( borderline personality disorder if anyone is wondering) but a lot of my therapy involves changing thought patterns and healthy coping techniques. My coping techniques aren’t always the best but I am doing a lot better about not getting stuck in my head. And I have to remember life happens and I need to do my best anyways.

My mom was a prime example of life happening in so many areas of her life that I never realized it until recently when thinking about her. 

My mom and I at Disneyland! I still have that look.

My mom, who had never wanted children, found out she was pregnant with me after falling off a horse at a party. (Yes, my mom was a good time, something I like to think I inherited.) The doctor told her that she was fine and so was her baby and she sort of yelled WHAT BABY. She was on the pill being an independent woman y’all. Oops.

Life changed drastically for her and she did her best anyways. She moved to Phoenix so she could have more family support with her brother. She started a new job as a veterinary assistant so she could have more stable income. And she decided to be a single mother without telling the birth father, despite being chronically ill.

My mom ended up loving being a mother, something she had not imagined. She had such a great energy about her life despite her circumstances that she ended up dating the firefighter who came to deliver me. She maintained her single mother status until I was four and she married the man who adopted me, the father I’ve known (not the firefighter, she left him for my dad).

This wasn’t the first or last time she had a major life change. She ended up choosing to divorce my father a few years later. Things were tough financially for us then, since she was chronically ill and couldn’t work. But she still did the best she could and I never went without. And when she knew she was terminally ill, she still did the best she could, encouraging me to stay with my education even when I would rather be taking care of her. I ended up being home schooled the last few months of her life but I was okay with it and I’m happy I had the option at the time.

Life changed and she did the best she could. 

I wish I had more time with my mom. There is so much you need your mom for and I feel cheated on a lot of things. But, I am so lucky because I have so many people in my life who love me. And that is what I need to remember when life changes so I don’t become so stagnant in my own thoughts.

What did your mom teach you? 

Spring Cleaning? Follow These Tips!

I remember when I was younger, I loved cleaning the house. Growing up with a chronically ill mom and workaholic dad while being an only child allowed me to sucker in the cash. Before my mom’s medical bills got outrageous and she divorced my dad, I was able to sucker $25-40 a week just by cleaning, stuff most kids do to build character. Except my room. I hated cleaning that.

My apartment is sort of like the adult version of my room in that I don’t want to spend all day cleaning it so I make jedi mind tricks to help. Along with keeping a day job, freelancing, friends and being a cat lady, keeping a clean house helps keep me sane. It can help you too.

Allow time for breaks and time for work. 

I am the biggest proponent in the world of breaks. My mind is busy and I can get easily off task. Throw in some chronic health issues that require rest and anxiety that leads to being overwhelmed, I could use a nap.Which is why I allow time for breaks and time for work.

I am a big proponent for the 20-10 rule made popular by UfYH. You can read more about it but it suggests working for 20 minutes and then breaking for 10. It’s like the pomodoro technique but for those of us who don’t like tomatoes and can’t handle the idea of only breaking for five minutes. A professor in college suggested to my class only working on something for 20 and then doing a chore. This aligns nicely with that.

Don’t be afraid to throw shit out. 

I “think” hoarding may be generational. If you have parents who are hoarders or pack rats, then chances are you never really learned a healthy relationship with your own belongings.

My dad is the biggest pack I personally know and owns over 60 cars that don’t run. I can’t really discuss the idea behind this because it doesn’t make sense to me. But, I’ve had my own trials tribulations with personal belongings I didn’t need. Not only did I have a problem with shopping I will discuss at a later time, but I had a personal problem with letting things go.

After I realized why I had a shopping problem and why I was hanging on to things, I was able to declutter. Decluttering allowed me to move four times in less than two years  when my life was unsettled. I was able to move in two car trips instead of renting a u-Haul. Excess furniture I don’t utilize doesn’t belong in my house. And when my life feels chaotic, I know I can cut shit out.

Do a little bit each day.

Along with taking breaks, I don’t make it a big deal to do everything in one day. I do get stressed out if people are coming over or staying long term, like my boyfriend, but I try not to make a big deal out of it or cram it all on one day when I’m sure to get overwhelmed. Instead, I allow myself to do something everyday.

Maybe Monday nights are dedicated to the bathroom or laundry. Maybe vacuuming is something you do on Sunday mornings. Create a cleaning schedule and do things when you know you can, little by little, everyday. Along with a checklist for my night routine, I know laundry is done on Sundays and my fridge needs to be cleaned out on Thursdays.

Allow yourself some fun cleaning products.

Nothing is wrong with wanting pretty things in your home and that includes cleaning products. Not only do I buy sponges in fun prints from the dollar store, I also allow lavender scented Swifter sheets and bamboo smelling air freshener.

I like to have fun when I clean, so I power up the radio and pop out my hot pink spray bottles. You can get most cleaning supplies at the dollar store like me and splurge on a few items at Target. They are probably cheaper at Walmart but the one by my house is one frequented by Phoenix Police so I try not to shop there too often.

Do you have any spring cleaning tips to share?

May Goals

April showers bring May flowers but if you live in Arizona, it brings a lot of wind instead. Along with out first 100 degree day ( yes, it’s hot!), everyone’s allergies have been crazy but will hopefully die down soon.

April was also crazy expensive which has been my life story since the beginning of this year, with a lot of associated health care costs. I have good days and bad days still but have been feeling a lot better. I’ve been working on my diet and supplements and next month I would like to incorporate working out twice a week. I also spent a lot of time and money on my car Sophia these past few months but she is now ready for the year. On to the May goals.

  1. Work out twice a week. This month I’ve worked hard on adjusting my diet in an effort to feel better and I lost 3lbs. Along with setting up little 5lb weight loss goals I’d like to hit, I’d like to add working out back into the mix. I’m going to Puerto Rico this Christmas and would like to lose 5 lbs a month until then.
  2.  Throw away 10 things a day.  Last month I had to pack up a lot of stuff in my apartment so it could get treated by an exterminator due to no fault of my own. Said stuff is still bagged up and in my closet and dining room. I already gave away 3 bags of belongings and I’m hoping to continue on my decluttering streak. 10 things can be easy like 10 pieces of paper, items out of my cupboard I am not going to touch or bath products collecting dust.
  3. Stick to my blog calendar on MSL. This is going to be my BHAG goal for the month. I always have tons of ideas for MSL, my own little piece of the web but client work always comes first for me. It’s a quicker return financially and I really enjoy the clients I have. But, if I want my corner of the web to grow, provide more income and really be all that it cane be, like a place for Latinas to find the financial knowledge they need, I need to step it waaaaaaay up.
  4. Read 2 books. I’m re-reading IT this month and that’s over 1,000 pages so I’ll only be shooting for 2. This should be doable even with a lengthy book as I aim to read an hour before bed 4-5 nights a week
  5. Send out thank you cards. I’ve been slowly but surely gathering addresses to send out overdue thank you cards to people who donated to my fundraiser. Better late than never? ( Please don’t hate me)
  6. Tally up spending for quarter 1. You know I’m a financial nerd, I need to run my numbers and figure out how to pay even more to this medical debt.

What do you have planned for May?

 

March Goals

It seems silly to make goals for the next two and a half weeks since I’m late but I’m going to do it anyways. First up, a recap of February Goals!

  1. Really think about my week and plan it. Success! I am happy to announce that I have finally started planning for my health better! I joined a gym right before radiation and now that I am off my medical rest, I can start attending. Along with the gym, I’m allowing myself time for rest. 
  2. Eat as healthy as possible. Fail.
  3. Read six books. ( Self explanatory) Fail, I read 3.
  4. Catch up with clients. Success!
  5. Do taxes. ( self explanatory) Success!
  6. Organize my finances. Fail. I keep trying to do an online system and I just don’t like it very much. 

March Goals

  1. Get my car detailed and fixed.
  2. Start working on thank you cards. 
  3. Read 2 books. 
  4. Continue doing yoga 5 times a week. 

What is everyone else working on this month?

I Have Cancer

As long as I can remember, Google told me I had cancer. Headache? Cancer! Sore throat? Cancer! Needless to say, I stopped googling my symptoms as much as my curiosity would allow since it seemed to never be that serious. Meanwhile, I’ve been battling auto immune issues for the past few years and consistently felt tired, among other things. Hoping that the exhaustion would go away after I finished my bachelors, I was disappointed to find out that wasn’t the case. On the weekends, I could, and still do, sleep 12-14 hours to just feel normal again.

Back in November, I flew to the east coast for a week. I felt fine, good even, as I walked around New York City with coworkers and went hiking with my boyfriend on the Appalachian Trail. Sure I slept when I could (boyfriend let me sleep for 15 hours one day) but I felt like my exhaustion had finally gone away.

The next week, I found myself knocked out with what seemed like a random cold. I’ve had problems with my ears my whole life so when I had ear pain, I made sure to make an appointment with my physician. Spending Thanksgiving in Texas with my boyfriend and in laws did not sound like a pleasant time when I had a busted ear drum from flying which has happened before. After being diagnosed with a sinus infection and not seeing anything in my ears, my doctor examined my lymph nodes in my throat and was alarmed when she found two huge masses. Actually, to be honest, she said, “OH MY GOD DO YOU FEEL THOSE?!?!” and I burst into tears.

I can’t explain how I knew, then, I had cancer but I did. I was just unsure what type I had. Perhaps it was her reaction which she later apologized for, my constant googling of symptoms or just feeling exhausted all of the time but I knew. Chalk it up to intuition.

The next four weeks were an insane blur, trying to find out what was wrong with me. An ultrasound led to a CT Scan, which led to an ENT, which led to a biopsy, which led to an official diagnosis ( although three people had already said it was probably cancer) and then I had my consult with a surgeon who referred me to his partner. I cried everyday to my boyfriend who got used to talking to me about dinner one second and then watching me have a breakdown the next. Although I have to give props to everyone in my life, the real MVP is him, moving in for a month and a half and taking care of me when I needed it the most.

Cancer is rough. Not only are you ever prepared for it mentally, you aren’t prepare for the logistics either. My papillary thyroid cancer had spread so significantly, I needed an open neck dissection instead of a thyroidectomy. DO NOT GOOGLE IT. Along with more recovery time, I had a longer surgery and one tumor needed to be chiseled out due to it’s size and location. Basically, I had a golf ball lodged in between my artery and jugular vein. I had an amazing surgeon but he was expensive and wouldn’t operate until he had $2,000 down. No payment plans here.

After surgery comes radiation. That is in two weeks and I am busy preparing now by not eating any salt, dairy, red dye 40 and basically anything fun because I already don’t eat gluten due to auto-immune issues. Radiation is confusing in itself because it’s administered in a pill form and then I’m radioactive at home for a few days, isolated with the BF leaving snacks at the door.

Between worrying about my diet, radiation, medical bills and adjusting to a new life without a thyroid, an organ that does SOOOOO much, I’m exhausted. Some days I cry and can’t get out of bed. And then some days, I feel lucky that I have thyroid cancer and not something else. I feel grateful for all the support I’ve received from so many, from a fundraiser a friend did online to people buying me scarfs and bringing me food. I feel blessed I have good doctors, my cat and a partner who has done so much for me.

It’s a long journey with many ups and downs but a journey nonetheless.

February Goals

Hello 2017 and hello friends. I haven’t been around in a hot minute and I’ll tell you why, including a few more posts regarding how I found out, what treatment has been like and my ongoing mental state but in a few words, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer right before Christmas. 

It’s been rough, needless to say, especially since I feel like my body is in a never ending battle with itself due to all of my auto immune issues. In an attempt to feel better and to help my mental state, I thought getting back into a routine and blogging could do me wonders and you know how I am about my goals.

  1. Really think about my week and plan it. I really need to think about my health and my immune system at the moment and this includes planning out my week. I thought I would be okay jumping into my old life but my body is quickly shutting that down. So I need to make time for errands and time for rest. If I plan to go out, I need to stay home the next day. Basically, if I do anything, I need to make sure I can rest after.
  2. Eat as healthy as possible! I need to eat as healthy as I can. I don’t properly plan like I mentioned before and end up spending too much on take out and then feel crummy. So I’ll be cooking and packing my lunch and making sure I have snacks in my purse. I think this will help with my immune system as well. 
  3. Read six books. ( Self explanatory)
  4. Catch up with clients. I’ve taken time off and put a few on hold so I need to catch up and see what my services are looking like moving forward.
  5. Do taxes. ( self explanatory) 
  6. Organize my finances. I started doing this last month but got side tracked. I enjoy doing my budget and finance goals quarterly but I need to update it with new medical bills and expenses.

I think that’s about it! Just enough to keep myself busy and take care of business while resting. What do you have on the agenda?