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  • Late Start Earner

Adjusting for Major Life Changes

Some things in life are unplanned. Last month, my partner and I decided that we were better apart than together after months of therapy (both couples and individual) and long discussions. Sorting out how to disentangle our financial and logistic lives was shockingly easy. Going through the stages of grief was much, much harder. The breakup itself and letting go of our planned future together was emotionally crushing. I am so grateful for the overwhelming and open love and support those around me shared in both my best and worst of times.

Planning for the future? That will be my biggest challenge.

Prioritizing Mental Health

I have not prioritized my mental health over the last year, at least. I relied on my resilience without feeding my sanity and protecting my essential boundaries. Over the next few months, my first priority will be to do what I need to preserve and rebuild my mental health. This includes continuing individual therapy, setting aside for reflection and alone time, and getting regular physical exercise.

It also includes time with other people. There are a few things that I want to deliberately prioritize, even if it adds extra costs:

  • Doggie Daycare - I’d like to physically go to my company’s office once a week, possibly twice, to force myself out of the house and interact with colleagues. With a high energy pup at home, it will make more sense to have him in daycare rather than sitting at home alone.

  • Doggie Boarding - It is very important to me to stay in touch with people I care about, and in my situation that often means traveling one week each month.

  • Home Improvement - Having a project of my own that is purely for myself has given me purpose outside of a relationship. I am currently working on several steps of remodeling my bathroom in a DIY fashion, and I’d like to continue investing in these changes.

Understanding What Matters To Me

Aside from being unhappy over the last year, I often questioned whether I was living in the right city. Why not move somewhere closer and more permanent to my longtime and closest friends and family? It was really easy within the context of a relationship to delay the actual decision of whether to move until my partner at the time was able to do so. However, now that I am no longer required to stay in my current city, it’s less clear to me whether or not I should.

I’ve already experienced several major changes in my life in the past few months, and I don’t want to add on top of it a major city move. I’d like to commit to staying in my current city for at least a year while I figure out what life to craft for myself. Now outside of a relationship, for the first time in years I am in a position to also ask myself what I want out of life and how to build and optimize towards what matters most to me. If I were honest with myself, I had never dedicated significant time or energy into thinking about this beyond my career.

Establishing Boundaries

The last thing I want is to fill the newfound time I have on my hands with my career. I will continue to set boundaries on when my start and end times are at work, and evaluate and escalate when these boundaries are at risk.

Recently, I was asked to take on two large projects at work. One excites me in both its potential for impact and current challenges. The other sounds like an operational nightmare, dangerously reminiscent of a project from last year that nearly broke me. I’ve been evaluating both in the back of my mind over the weekend, and thinking about how I may be in a position today to better approach them, while also thinking through having exit options in place to back out. Being deliberate about evaluating whether and how to engage in these projects is a new step for me at work, and one that is still developing in form.

Giving Myself Grace

The next couple of months will be fairly volatile financially as this new chapter in life takes shape. I am still contributing to my 401k to meet EOY targets, but will otherwise give myself permission to experiment and learn about the experiences I find most valuable.

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