I have to confess that on Saturday I woke up feeling a bit "meh" - after all the excitement over paying off the mortgage, it all felt like a bit of an anti climax after it was actually done. Mostly, friends just didn't quite "get" it - with a few exceptions who couldn't have been more delighted for us. One person I would formerly have described as a very close friend who I KNOW saw the text mentioning it (and had she for some reason not, would definitely have seen it on Twitter) chose not only to totally ignore it, but hasn't even mentioned it since - that sort of thing makes you re-evaluate, you know? We all have things going on in our lives, but I cannot imagine one SINGLE circumstance where I would let momentous news like that go without giving heartfelt congratulations to the person concerned, no matter how much there was a little bit of me sitting saying "why not me?". Hey ho, there's nowt so queer as folk, eh?
I said before that I was always just a teeny bit scared about this point - and I guess now I can say why - people just aren't meant to get to 44 and find themselves mortgage free, are they? The thing I was a little bit worried about was exactly that - that it would change the way people saw me....saw us, in fact. People don't see the hard work and effort that has gone in, the tears that were shed when I lost such a massive chunk of my income back in 2010 - and we genuinely had visions of all that work falling by the wayside (For a while I wasn't fit enough mentally to go back to even part-time work - it was at that stage that we took the decision that going forward I would only work 4 days a week, which has of course also impacted on my earning potential), the times when we've had to say "Oh no, I'm sorry, we're not about" because there just wasn't enough money to allow for us to join in with what was being proposed, or more recently the times I've had to sit mentally working out what "cheap" option I can eat off a menu so I still have enough money to stand my round of drinks because my personal spending money was so limited. Bottom line is, there is NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT THESE PEOPLE - so there you go, it's out there, I'm letting it go. (But, as I've said, with certain re-evaluations of where people stand in my life and where I clearly stand in theirs). I'm not angry - it's just hurtful that I can get a warmer, more excited and congratulatory reaction from people out here in blogland than from someone I actually choose to spend time with.
So - new challenges are required. I can't imagine, now, us not having a "goal" to work to in certain areas! The first is purely financial and is to rebuild the lump sum we've just paid out to clear the mortgage as quickly as possible. We're making a few minor tweaks in what money goes where, and allowing for a "standard of living" increase to occur - "inflation" if you like. We've always been careful to make sure that our food choices are healthy and as far as possible, ethical, but we're now aiming to be able to buy better cuts of meat when we choose to, and more things like fresh fish, and shellfish, which we love! Being able to have that stuff regularly not just as a treat will be fantastic. Our savings are now spread over three main accounts - 2 regular savers and an ISA - as well as our "routine" savings pots which allow us to budget for regular expenses. I'll post more about the money stuff in a Frugal Friday post, I think.
The second is a bit of a decluttering challenge - I've done these before, including a whole YEAR of decluttering back in 2013 - but the time feels right to do it again. I'm not doing this in any sort of structured way this time, just "taking it as it comes" and aiming to free up space. My wardrobe needs tackling, and I want to look through DVD's, and books, too. It'll be done in 15 minute bursts as that is a method that works well for me. It'll be nice to be able to get clothes in my wardrobe without having to fight with what's already in there!
Thirdly is an attack on our well stocked larder and storecupboard. We're intending to get our kitchen rebuilt later this year, and as we already know from the upheaval of the bathroom rebuild back in the spring, living in a flat does mean that this sort of work around the place causes a certain amount of upheaval which simply has less of an impact if you live in a house...and thinking about how much storage was needed to house everything from the bathroom, the thought of having to empty our kitchen into the spare room, or front room, or wherever is just terrifying! SO - the intention is to start thinking about what can be used up, with the rationale on attacking the storecupboard as well being simply this: The more free space there is in the storecupboard, the more stuff from the larder it will house when the time comes. Simple. The first stage on this is, I think, to go through the larder and work out what is in there that can simply be used, and what there is if anything that has been overlooked too long, and needs disposal. I'm hoping there's not too much of that, though, food waste makes me very cross. My bullet (ish) journal contains a rolling list of foodstuffs that I know need using, and when I do my meal plans for the week I take these into account. That helps stop us take our "eyes off the ball". While doing that we will also refill any of the containers in there that need it, and I'll establish whether there is anything in there that can be better and more tidily stored. When the kitchen is redone the inside of the Larder will be getting fully re-tiled/painted so we need to consider how best to store things from then on. I might post back here about this challenge, we'll see.