Quarterly Check-in

Spring has sprung (albeit a rainy one) and the first quarter of this year is almost in the books, so I thought this might be a good time to do a progress check on some of our current goals and endeavors.

On Facebook and my social media ban; after a little more than a month (I started early) of not using social media, I’ve discovered a few things:

  • I absolutely do not miss Instagram or posting things on FB, but I do miss my good friends that I once regularly interacted with.
  • Just because I gave up social media didn’t mean everyone around me did, and few had the time (or proximity) to actually meet up for coffee or chat on the phone. Most wondered why I wasn’t just following their lives on FB. More than a few times in phone conversations I heard the phrase, “oh, I thought you might’ve seen that on my FB page”.
  • When I was searching for local businesses (like a plumber and carpet cleaner for my mom), a lot of them only had a FB page as their website, so due to my self-imposed ban, I could not check them out. Nor could I look at Marketplace when I was searching for used window screens.
  • Not scrolling through FB didn’t really stop me from scrolling entirely. I simply moved over to my Google news feed, where the quality of the content was only slightly better (after I tweaked it to remove things I don’t care about, like the NBA and Hollywood).

So, as my experiment draws to a close, I’ve decided to take a “lite” approach to Facebook. I will keep my personal page to have access to Marketplace and business referrals. I will also use it to keep up with our neighborhood group and the friends I really care about. I will not be posting anything to it (at least not regularly) and I am no longer going to carry around obligatory acquaintances and family members on my Friends List just because someone else thinks I should.

On consumerism and socially responsible investing, we’ve had our ups and downs. We have not purchased anything from Amazon (yay!) and the last few times we’ve needed something (like shoes), we’ve searched the thrift stores first. And as luck would have it, I did indeed find a brand new pair of Mizuno running shoes in my size for only $10.

But…investing responsibly still has us stumped. We’ve accepted that in order to be fiscally responsible (ie. save for our future), we are going to have to make some concessions when it comes to socially responsible investing. Our newly adopted criteria is based on the 80/20 rule. A fund can have no holdings in Big Oil and no more than 20% of holdings in companies we wouldn’t personally support (like Amazon). We are currently researching the Humankind ETF (HNKD), SPDR S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Reserves Free ETF (SPYX), and SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE).

On self-improvement, we are still studying Spanish daily on Duolingo and can now converse with each other in simple phrases, like I want a cup of coffee, please.

Quick side story: When I was sitting in the dentist’s office with my mom earlier this week, I happened to catch a bit of the Kelly Clarkson show where she was interviewing Rhetta (from Good Girls). Both of them use Duolingo. I just thought that was neat 🙂

I am also trying to be more involved in Angie’s fitness routines. I might not join in every day but I do try to at least twice a week. We are walking our sidewalk, which is 1.5 miles roundtrip, several times a week, and going hiking as often as we can too. And we are still eating plant-based. In fact, we’ve made it through several family meals and outings without compromising. And I hesitate to share this little tidbit in case it falls into the wrong hands, but I’ve subbed plant-based meats and cheeses for every single meal that I’ve prepared for my mom since last Thanksgiving. She’s enjoyed vegan chicken noodle soup, vegan chicken and dumplings, spaghetti with vegan meatballs, and vegan sausage balls. A few weeks ago, I made vegan pimento cheese and she said it was the best she’d ever had (better than her own). She has no idea she’s not eating meat or dairy.

On stress management, I joined an online support group in late January for children of narcissistic parents but quickly found that it was not the right place for me. Support groups do wonders for some people but hearing horror stories of what my mom could be like a few years from now didn’t make me feel better prepared. It scared me, it immobilized me, and it made me want to run away even more than I already want to run away. In short, the group stressed me out more than actually dealing with my mom, so I quit, and moved on to what I’m calling self-therapy. Right now, I’m working my way through Diane Metcalf’s Lemon Moms program. There’s a lot of journaling, reflecting, and boundary-setting involved. The last part is where I struggle most. With my mom, there’s almost no way to set a boundary, except the invisible kind (in other words, the ones that you don’t tell her about but just do on your own). For example, I’ve started limiting what I tell her about my work, our goals, or what we do in our free time. I’ve found that without ammo, she has very little to fire at me when she’s angry (which is often). I have also found that if I do not volunteer information about our life, she does not ask me about it either. Let that sink in for a minute…

On adventures, we’re off to a slow start there as well. We haven’t gone on any cheap trips yet, but we are venturing out to the park for picnics more often when the weather permits. We have tentative plans to go camping next week, and we signed up to run the Bledsoe Creek Amazing Race again this year. This is a fun event that takes place in our local State Park, where teams of two solve puzzles while racing over a 3.5 mile course. Speaking of our State Park, we’ve also signed up to be volunteers there and will be doing our first activity in April.

And while it wasn’t on our goal list, we have continued to declutter. We went through all the plastics again, along with the rest of our kitchen, boxing up several things to take to our niece next month. I also (finally) sorted the storage closet on the balcony. I was able to get rid of one storage tote and two cardboard boxes, and organize our camping and gardening supplies to make them easier to access and use. I even put up the string lights that have been on my to-do list since last year! Now, if it would only stop raining for a minute, we might be able to actually sit on our balcony and enjoy the lights.

How are you doing with your 2021 goals? Have you added, dropped, or changed anything on your list?