Transition: NEW SITE; same me!

Hey everyone!

I want to tell you how grateful I am for your follows, comments and likes. I pray you will continue this writing journey as I’ve transitioned to Wix.com.

So please join me at Her Renaissance Blog *virtual hug*

I hope to see you there!!!

 

Love,

 

Kou, The Content Creator

 

 

Adulting: You Need A Budget.

“Girl, I know.”
I’ve been trying to get more serious about my finances. I’ve always been pretty frugal overall. Somehow, I was still able to get my hands on free stuff, but I knew there was more to money than just not buying things.

Part one. I learned in college that cheaper isn’t always better.
There was a particular lotion that I used to use. It worked so well on me. I really wanted to save money, so I got the knock-off brand. Broke out into a rash and returned that lotion. No more shortcuts for me!

Part two. What am I saving for?
I so didn’t like to spend money that I would allow the buttons on my shirt to fall off, my jeans to rip and my shoes to talk before I would even think about purchasing new clothes. It usually took until someone yelled at me before you saw anything new in my closet.

Part three. Minimalism Rocks.
Last year, I cleaned my room with the KonMari method. I was able to see what I needed and what I wanted. The more space I made, the more I was able to determine what was required. I avoided specific two for one sales, especially if I knew I didn’t need those items at all. The goal is to get clothes that will last for years, or when it’s time to donate, the receiver would be able to wear it for as long as they need to.
I learned that less is more. And I realized that I just didn’t need more stuff.
But despite all my lessons, I wanted to grow some money. I started following the “Financial Diet,” I read “You are a Badass at Making Money,” I looked up tips from Tiffany the Budgetnista, Dave Ramsey, and some others. I was disappointed to find out that some of their suggestions I was already doing…except the most important one that they all screamed in my face- “SIS, YOU NEED A BUDGET!”

“NO,” I’d shout back, “YOU NEED A BUDGET!”
“Alright, Kou,” the Financial Diet stepped forward.
“We’ll try something else,” Jen Sincero said.
“…For now…” warned The Budgetnista.
“But do NOT forget,” said Dave Ramsey.
“YOU. NEED. A. BUDGET!!!!!” They shouted in unison.
Massaging my earlobes, I sighed, “Alright. We’ll discuss it later.”

I remember my brother suggesting years ago that I should take out a certain amount of cash per week as spending money. I thought it was a great idea that I decided to do during my year of unemployment.

I would place all my coins in a jar until I heard a representative from The Financial Diet suggest that every five dollar bill you get back you should save. So in a jar, the bills went with the loose change.

Some months later, I did some deep soul searching about what I wanted as a career. I realized that I was about to give up a job with benefits. One of them being a 401K plan that would have been the key to me having a steady normal life. Then I realized, I wasn’t normal. So I decided to use all my fives and change to open a Roth IRA. That was my adulting win.

…But of course, I still need a budget.

Spiritual Talk: Suddenly September

Ack! It’s September! When did you get here? This year went by so fast like every other year and I must confess, I THINK I accomplished what I wanted for this year. I’m not sure. I thought I had New Year’s Resolutions but to be honest I don’t remember doing it. But I do remember wanted to start this year all extra fresh.

Like last year, I made a commitment to work on myself by being mindful of my time, embrace better money management, and I guess you can say, get my life together. Another thing I was focused on was doing more of what made me feel alive and being honest with myself about what does without overthinking if I would ever make money off it. During this walk, someone told me to stop looking at the big picture and make those small steps daily. Now, I know this person was not telling me to stop dreaming big but this person recognized how much stress I was putting on myself for the little things. I think of the Bible verse that says “do not despise meager beginnings” and to be honest the last years had been full of meager beginnings which could be frustrating for someone who wants to make the most out of life.
The Word says that God will never leave you or forsake you…it’s taking some time but it’s becoming more and more true in my life. In journaling, I recognized that God is a comforter and omniscient. He knew every situation I was in. There has been a worship night I attended a few months back. A woman around my age walked up to me. She placed my hand on my shoulder and prayed everything that I’ve been praying for weeks in my private time with God. I was moved because at that moment I remember that God is with me and He hears me.
It’s suddenly September. The leaves are changing color and my life is changing. I’m in a much better place than I’ve been in years. I sense myself becoming my best friend and drawing closer to God, which is always a hope for me each year. Well, not actually becoming my best friend because for the longest time I was hard on myself for not being “normal” or like everyone else.
I became fascinated with people who got up and did things. That looked at something, though it was cool and kept doing it until the finances flowed or their name became great or until they became highly connected. That’s what I hope for in this journey. Someone told me that, “I’m always looking.” I guess, but I want to change that to “I’m always experiencing.”
One of my current favorite cartoons, Steven Universe, had an episode when Steven and his “best friend” (future girlfriend but I digress), Connie fused into one being. The being was named Stevonnie. Stevonnie was filled with excitement. They ran to meet the gems and one, in particular, told them, “You are an experience.” For me, that almost gave me permission to just experience.
One day last year I was mediating asking God about my situation. I heard the words, “I want you to be more present.” From then on I’ve been striving to be more present. It’s been a beautiful journey.
So going back to New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps it was to be more present, experience more and learn what it means to live life fully and abundantly. This time it means to be free. This time it means to cherish and be grateful for every moment. It means to be honest with God and myself.

Adulting: Groceries and Let’s Be Frugal

Which is better? I wondered with a friend. Eating out for free or buying groceries? I love the freedom of  not having to buy anything throughout the week, but I admit I cringe while grocery shopping. Some stores do not have the variety, and some stores claim to be cheaper, but I see similar prices. What store is better on gas? What store will give me gas points? Prices are rising, and my paychecks are few and far in between. But there is an isle that’s beauty is more radiant than the morning sun shining off the grass’s dew.

It’s the reduced-price section. Every time I go to Stop and Shop I search for this section like it’s buried treasure. Well, in many ways it is treasure. One day I found my favorite cereal for $2.49 in this section. Sure, the box took a beating, but I was not going to let that stop me from having something to eat in the morning! The original price is $4.99 plus tax because here in Rhode Island we tax food.

After that experience, I vowed to always slip through the reduced-price section of Stop and Shop. My friend also told me about deals one can get when you download the app.
But I know, I still need a budget.

Adulting: Networking.

I enjoy talking to people, but so quickly I get bombarded with boring questions, unsolicited suggestions and people who look for free labor.
I networked a lot when I was unemployed. I had no direction and openly and not-so-confidently told people I didn’t have a job. I wasn’t clear on what I wanted, and anything would do. So some people suggested that I meet for an “opportunity.”
Now, I suggest that you be clear with someone what that opportunity may be. Also, your time is VALUABLE. Do you hear me? I do NOT care if you’ve retired, been fired, or laid off. Time is a precious thing to waste. Tell them you have thirty minutes.
There was a woman who talked me to near death about her life and the company she represented. I couldn’t take it anymore. I never realized how short my attention span was.
We met in a library; which was my first disappointment. I love meeting people over food. Yes, I knew that I shouldn’t spend money out but to me, everyone is more interesting to talk to over food.
We found a little spot towards the back with a table for two. We sat across from one another and she began to tell me about her life. How she came to this country, how long she was married, how she pretty much raised her child in the library we were in, how she worked as a researcher at a healthcare facility while working at some financial company.
My behind realized how hard the wooden chair I sat on was. My eyes wanted to drop. And this yawn I had was ready to wake the whole library. I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought I loved hearing people’s stories but this time, I just couldn’t.
So, I waited about an hour thinking she’ll be done. I wanted to be polite and let her finish. Plot twist, she never did.
“Well, now I’ve said all that I’d like to tell you about,” she had the nerve to pull out the book about the company she represented. She was trying to recruit me. I was trying to go home. So I told her I had to go. I gave no excuses. Didn’t blame it on anyone just said I had to.
“Oh, I thought since you were unemployed you had time…”
How dare she? How dare she bore me to death because she thinks I have all the time in the world. Sis, I’m looking for jobs more interesting than this encounter.
I dashed out of the library and into my car regretting the draining meet up. For a moment I felt bad for her. I felt bad that it was not the industry I wanted to get into. I think I’d rather stick to the hardship of finding myself in the professional world instead of wasting precious energy pretending to care. I was disappointed knowing that in reality, I wasted both our times because I was afraid to say “no” and wanted to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, I made an appointment with her the following week. In case you’re wondering, I was even more bored than the first meeting.

Neighbors

You blast your music on Wednesday around 10 o’ clock at night.

But you helped me shovel my snow.

Neighbors. You drink too much and why are you shouting you heard gunshots? Are you not afraid to get shot, too?

Neighbors. You brought food by when you knew one of my family members were sick.

You brought beer by when you wanted to party.

Neighbors. I didn’t invite you over.

Neighbors. Please, shut up.

Neighbors. Went for a walk with my family so I have a real soft spot for you.

Neighbors. You came by when the ambulance came. When you saw us in black. When you saw me in a prom dress. When you saw us with packed bags and a smile on our faces. You always check on us.

Neighbors. But why does your dog bark every morning at the crack of dawn? WHERE IN THE HECK DID YOU GET A ROOSTER? WHY IS IT IN YOUR YARD? IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY? NEIGHBORS?!?!?

Neighbors. Where are your baby’s clothes and why are they running in my front yard? Little Neighbor, don’t ask me to buy you ice cream! Where are your parents?

I see there is a “For Sale” sign up but we heard a while ago you were leaving. You planted a pretty garden with sunflowers, lettuce, tomatoes, and eggplants. My gosh, I will miss your faces.

Kou

Adulting with a Car: Hang in There

I still need to vacuum inside my car. I loved how beautiful it looks after an excellent vacuum and how beautiful it smells after applying the cleaning dust and hanging the Yankee Candle air freshener. It just makes me want to drive around all day, pick up people and show off how nice my car is.
A couple of years ago my car passenger side window decided, “Hey, you know what? I’m just NOT going to work today!” When people sat in the passenger side and tried to roll down the window, it wouldn’t go back up. It happened so frequently anyone who wanted to roll down the window I would make them work to bring it back up with their hands. This is normally achieved by me glaring into their soul silently making sure they feel my annoyance burning from within. One day I had one of the main culprits tape the button for the window so no one can bring it down.
About gas, I realized I made a huge mistake when I took a job several miles away from my house, leaving me not enough time to really invest in myself while building a career. After some thought I was like, this is a bad idea.
My car said, “It SURE IS!” And I got a flat.
Adulting has no script. No structured schedules. Everything at the end of the day is doing what’s best for you, boo. I know you’ll make it through.

Retirement

(Kou’s retirement letter, inspired by a retirement letter written by someone who worked in a company she worked at)

Dear Colleagues and super close acquaintances,

Peace out yo.

I will miss you all, but social media makes me think the world is small enough not to miss you. I will probably be on Instagram once a week to show off a picture of me jet skiing and living my darn life. I expect you to do the same.

Let’s be honest, you’re going to miss me. But you’re life will go on. You’ll probably think of me when your bored at work wondering where is Kou to cackle with me? Where is she trying to help me save the world? Where is her delicious banana bread that I never thought to just ask her for the recipe and make my darn self? YES, you will miss me. I must say after all these years I’ve finally gotten the professional respect I longed for and I’m so grateful I found it- while working for myself, traveling, and living my life. Again, I hope you can do the same.

Save your coins, like I did when I was young (and I still look it. Yes, I still get IDed), use your vacation days, do an excellent job but don’t take it home with you. They will replace you when you’re dead. To all you employees, entre and intrapreneurs, bosses, CEOs, and retirees- make the most of your life while you still can. It’s a gift, not a curse. If I hear any of you all say that “life sucks” I’m punching you.

If you care to know, I’m going jet-skiing this weekend. After that, I might babysit some chicken nugget looking grandkids of mine and travel some more. I’m going to enjoy retirement- now that I’m no longer expected to work.

I’m going to really miss you all. It was lit. PEACE!

Only the Best,

Kou

Nothing Less

Lord forgive me for not caring as much as I probably should

Or loving more than I probably could

Nothing Less, nothing less

Trying to give to the world my best.

I’ve crossed my T’s

and dotted my I’s

Believe in my heart that I will survive.

Faith with works make a powerful concoction

On that consumes me with conviction

And leads me closer to a new nation

Let it go; let it flow

Down the river it goes

Someone told me that if it’s in God’s will…I suppose

It will flow back to me and by His power it will never let go

We don’t know; we don’t know what the future holds

But I’ve been told

That it’s all in His hands

Please, take me to this river

Let me lay my burdens down

Let me feel the strength that my ancestors speak of when God’s around

Take in this fresh air and gaze at the still waters

Nothing less; nothing less

I will only get God’s best

By: Kou T. Nyan (like all the other posts) 🙂