It’s day 15 of Blogvember. I’m following the prompts from Andrew Canion, which can be found here.

I’ve recently begun to recognize the need for renovation in a few areas of my life. The first area, as I often seem to be writing about right now, was this website. My personal website had gotten dusty and largely neglected. The more attention I give it, the more I realize what was missing for me. I shifted services, simplified things, and recognized that over-worrying about the details was keeping me from doing the number one thing I wanted a personal website to do: give me space to write about things I care about.

Another area that needed renovation was finances, and frankly, this is still an area under continuous improvement. It started with refinancing student loans: even with a “low” federal interest rate, I was putting over 60% of every payment towards interest, and about 18 months ago I decided to start paying them down more aggressively. I finally refinanced the last federal one. I’m paying far more than I was before, but it’s helping knock out principal. What’s been helpful? Deciding I needed a budget, and getting a good look at what goes where. Big lessons learned: auto-saving every month is great, unless you’re sending money to savings which you’ve already spent on credit cards (I’m one who spends on cards for points and then pays in full each month; the rewards I like best are the ones that can be used as cash toward my balance).

A final area of renovation in my life has been learning to take care of myself. This means working to support myself and my husband, and taking time out to rest, give back to the community, and rejuvenate.

What’s interesting is seeing the intersection of all these areas and how they affect one another. Budgeting properly has helped pay loans more readily, while also simplifying my financial life and helping me feel more confident with decisions. It’s also helped me set aside money each month so that I can have moments where I can take care of myself. With a physically and emotionally challenging job, this has meant scheduling a massage therapy appointment once every 4-6 weeks (ideally; sometimes it ends up longer, but so it goes). The routine aspect helps by making it something that I value, and it’s something I look forward to and enjoy the benefits of later.

These things collectively help me see more clearly what I want, what I value, and work more specifically towards those things which bring me the most joy and benefit. It’s also helped prevent me from reaching the point of burnout, which I’m prone to doing. It’s an ongoing process, but taking time out to reflect like this is certainly a nice way to see where I was, where I am, and where I hope to be.