Can You Afford Your Lifestyle?
I think this has to be a question all of us ask ourselves at least three times a year, particularly as we are all getting raises, more exposure to the "finer" things of life, etc.
I didn't start asking myself this until around this time last year. The reason why is because I was opened up to the world of J.Crew. While I can't wear EVERY single thing they offer (the hip-page area of pants just aren't forgiving enough--- even for a petite black woman!), I DO like the style. I started buying clothes from there... not whole outfits or whatever, but if they had nice cashmere sweaters and I knew they'd look good on me and they'd last forever, why the heck not?
But I started thinking--- does what I wear and where I live dictate my lifestyle? In my opinion, you betcha. And can I afford it? Uhhhh.... and since that hestiation is there, I've been watching myself!! LOL!!!
I remember having a conversation with three of my coworkers.. I just happen to be moseying on along and they called me into the conversation. They asked "Can you live comfortably in the DC area on 90K a year?" I almost choked and said "Absolutely." But when someone broke it down, I understood the dilemma. The guy had student loans from undergraduate school totalling to almost 100K (gosh darn!!) that he was still paying off; a car loan from a car he bought because his previous car just got messed up; a $2500 mortgage per month; and some credit card debt that was totaling to around 10K. Wow. And while he wasn't a baller, he did like to look nice, so you have to add in the whole gym membership stuff, good food, nice clothes, etc.
I'm adding this up now... if one were to make 90K a year, take out taxes, take out 5% of retirement, that's around 4800-5000 per month of take home pay (and I'm assuming that a person is having a bunch of crap taken out of their taxes or what not). That sounds good to me! However, take a closer look: after taking away the mortgage there's only 2500 left. GOSH DARN IT! Take away another 500-600 bucks for gas, water, phones, DSL and misc bills. Then you have your student loans which totals up to around 750-850 bucks a month. Then you have to eat, and that's around 250 a month (and that's frugal). Another 300 for personal care (haircuts, dry cleaners, gym memberships, washing clothes) and another 200 for possible entertainment. So that leaves you with 600 extra which would likely go towards paying off the credit cards, car insurance, car note, etc. And very little left for savings. I guess my coworker was right--- some would qualify this as barely making it.
But then let's be real, though. There are ways to make it work and make your savings grow. Do you really need a car? DC has a great Metro system. While it can be somewhat inconvinient, and take a bit of time, you can take the Metro. You don't really
need a car. I've been doing alright without one for forever. I have to admit--- sometimes it's a pain not having a car but you can rent one for a half a day and just do what you've to do and you're done for the month. That would equal a fraction of paying for gas and insurance for a whole month!
I guess your lifestyle is dependent upon the choices you make. You can't have everything, particularly if you know you're being stretched by some of the things you already have. Unless you're rich up the wazoo, if you're like every other 20-something year old, then I'm afraid you're going to have to wait for either the big house, nice car, nice clothes (which need to be put in the dry cleaners which means extra dough), nice vacations, top of the line groceries, the nicest resturants, etc. I guess our generation is being told we deserve all of this stuff and we're all entitled to it. Well, can you afford it? That's the big question.
I'm back.. again! :)
I've been away for quite some time. I have perfect excuses--- I deployed for a few months to Iraq, went to visit my now-fiance Bach Boy who was in China for a bit of time and had to get settled back into work. While work was sort of the same, I took on more and more responsibilities while one of my supervisors was preparing and now deployed. It's been a worldwind of a year, I can tell you that much.
All I know is that it is good to be back and hopefully, I can maintain this op tempo of work work work, exercise, and getting ready for the spring/summer. I am VERY excited about nice weather! haha!
Unfortunately, not practicing as much on the piano but still got love for it. :) Once I get this working thing a bit more down pat, it should work out a bit better.
There have been some changes going on around here but I think it's for the best (life-wise). At some point, you have to REALLY grow up and face life head on and really know what it is your deepest needs are and learn how to have said needs met while being able to live, work and understand other individuals in an interdependant way. Since this is so vague, it may not make sense, but I think we all come to a point to where we have to just be upfront with folks and say "No, that's not what I want." or "Sure, this is fine." While you can't control everything, you can't allow others to control you in an effort to keep the peace. It may have worked as a kid, but it definitely doesn't work as an adult. You'll run into a lot of flack because people resist not having their ways. But that's just life.
OK, so that's my vague lecture for the day! :)
Good to be back! :)
OK, so this weekend did not go as planned. However, I did do a bunch of practicing today (Monday). I really cannot believe I had enough patience back when I was teenager learning these things, I tell ya.
So, here is my revised repertoire list:
- Mozart's A minor sonata, K. 310-- 1st movement so far
- Beethoven's 3rd movement of the "Tempest"
- Elegie by Rachmaninoff
I am still deciding on the Bach. I'm not sure I quite understand what's going on in that and I'd like to have some type of path before I jump right into it. I am also thinking about doing Chopin's Nocturne-- it's the first one... B-flat minor, I believe. Absolutely gorgeous. If I can do the one in D-flat major, I know that I can do anything.
So I practiced for a day and was able to work, hands together very slowly, up to the end of the second page of botht he Mozart and Beethoven. I really like the way they are turning out. If I am more consisten throughout the week, I think I can move on this rather nicely.
Pieces that I am working on now
Well, after coming to the conclusion that I need to know my scales and arpeggios, I then know that I need to learn a few pieces to get a few things under my belt.
Bach-- Prelude and Fugue Number 4 from the Well Tempered Clavier
Mozart-- two sonatas--- the first one for mostly practice/warm up, the usual Sonata in C major K. 545; The other sonata is K. 310
Beethoven-- two sonatas as well-- the really easy one in G major (I think Opus 14); the other one would be Sonata Opus 30 No. 2, the third movement (it's gorgeous, but long and difficult)
Rachmoninoff-- Elegie Opus 3 No. 1-- I heard it only once and knew that it was totally made for me.
Brahms-- Intermezzo #6
I think I have my hands full with all of this stuff so far.
I think the goal is that by next month, I would like to be able to slowly practice the sonatas hands separately for the first 2 pages each.
Practice from two days ago went fine, I just have to get back into the groove of practicing and "starting over". I'll also try not to spend TOO much times on scales and everything. I need to have a goal for everyday rather than trying to do EVERYTHING in just ONE day.
I did not practice Thurs or Friday. Saturday, tho, I plan to practice for around 1.5 to 2 hours. I will focus on three things-- the Bach prelude, the Mozart sonata (first movement of K. 310) and then the Rachmaninoff Elegie. Or whatever variation, but I won't do EVERYTHING. That's what will kill me. Besides, it's a 3 day weekend-- I can get away with doing 2 hours a day-- split it up or do more than I want.
Will report soon.
Guess Who's Back?
Well, gang, I'm back. No need to worry. Just been finishing up degrees and such.
Well, I'll cut right to the chase. I've gotten back into my piano practicing phase. I'm trying to take it slow so I won't get overwhelmed or disappointed too soon. So, I started back up around Saturday. I spent an hour going over scales, arpeggios (I've always been so scared of those), and going around the circle of fifths as much as I possibly can.
I have my heart set on learning a few things-- the third movement of Beethoven's "Tempest" Sonata. BEAUTIFUL, but quite different from what I would usually do.
While that's pretty hard, I'm working on a few easy sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven and just deciding what few other pieces I can just go for (Chopin, possibly some Bach).
Keep you all posted!
Ok, when there is a beautiful woman out there, I'm not afraid to admit it. Especially when I think that she's representing the Dark and Lovlies of the world. This woman is gorgeous. I'm really really jealous.. I'm just glad that she ain't nowhere near my man! :)
Who's that, you ask? Ms. Kenisha Thom.. Miss Trinadad and Tobago in the Miss Universe competition:
Yeah, some airbrushing here and some photoshop there may have made it complete--- but I really don't that's the case with her-- there's a lot to work with.
Go on, girl! :)
I think I wrote about him in an earlier post (like last year or so), but I recently went to one of his live performances (by myself, no less) at the 9:30 Club. It was WONDERFUL! He's a mixture of folk, blues, funk, country, etc-- but the concert seemed to be more of the country type which I accepted b/c he has a great voice. He has this certain type of kid-like vulnerability to him and you could tell that while he really enjoys what he does, he's sort of shy and just wants to play music. I actually shook his hand! And I got his autograph! LOL
I have to say that the next time he's in DC, I will definitely go and see and drag as many people as I can to go with me. He's one of those down-low, Starbucks-y type of folks that you hear about but they aren't in the spotlight like Beyonce and the gang. In any case, check out his CDs... I really really like his first one-- it really depends on your taste, but has a great soulful voice no matter what he sings...
A New Trend?
I meant to post this up about a month ago... but I went to a club with a bunch of folks because a good friend of mine was in town for the holiday. So, we went to this club "Play". I thought it was OK, I probably won't go back there because of the experience I had, but that's another story.
In any case, at least 3 times, there were instances where Black men made it a point to make sure that me and two other Black women I was with knew for sure that they, the Black men, were dancing with and were more attracted to white women. If you are, that's fine. But there was an obvious tone of maliciousness in this.
News flash, guys. While some Black women still get a bit upset about seeing interracial couples (Black guy, white girl), the height of that controversy is so 5 years ago. It's over. Everyone, love and be loved. Enough already! There's a plethora of things to incite fury in folks for (you know... genocide in Darfur, world hunger, nuclear rockets in North Korea... you know?)
There's nothing wrong with interracial dating. Hell, I'm doing it myself. But the thing is that if someone has a problem with it, it's because they just generally do, not because I inflamed them by saying "Hey, look at this WHITE GUY I'm with. He's so WHITE. Look. He's WHITE!" This is essentially how we were treated at the club.
I don't know. Maybe it was just that night? Or maybe it was just that group of guys? Or maybe it was just that club... which partially why I'm probably not going back there. I've been out of the social scene lately so it could just very well be a new trend. If so, let me know, guys so I can write down some retorts or just ignore it altogether.