On May 31, I quit my job as a tenure-track assistant professor. It was one of the best things that I could have done for my physical health, mental health, and relationships. Here’s what I’ve been up to since then.
Grown my blog followers to 47.
Thanks everyone for reading! I’ve enjoyed spending a good deal of time writing for the blog. I’m still working on finding my voice outside of who I was as professor. Some of my posts in the pipeline are about paying off my student loans, the details of our house purchase, and a few products that I’m really jazzed about right now.
My favorite posts of late were about why I quit higher education (linked above) and about not really knowing other people’s story. In both posts, I share a bit more about who I am and where I come from. I’m planning on doing more writing about that stuff in the future because I want to put the “personal” in personal finance.
Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in any particular topics! I would love to know what you all think.
Posted 36 times to Instagram for my @SmithHappens2019 account.
This is where I’m at almost every day. Interacting with the #debtfreecommunity online has been a lot of fun and this feels like the right place for me right now. I do tend to write quite a bit with every post (by Instagram standards), but not so much as a fully-fledged blog post. I’ve had a lot of fun embracing my creative side by adding quotes and sayings to my photos.
Took 32 yoga classes.
Focusing on self-care has been a huge part of my journey to finding myself again. For me, that has meant lots of yoga because time on my mat is time for me to work on me from the inside out. I’m loving the community of folks who have inspired and pushed me to be a better version of myself.
I don’t think I’ll be keeping up with this level of yoga in the future as I tried (and failed) a challenge to do 30 classes in 45 days. Competing priorities and scheduling conflicts made the last week really tough.
Wrote and posted 18 blog entries.
By and large, I have stuck to my Wednesday and Friday posting schedule. Sometimes, I’m super on top of things and manage to have my Wednesday posts scheduled ahead of time. Other times, I’m a hot mess and forget to schedule posts that I’ve written. Oddly, I’m embracing the hot mess version of myself. It seems that letting go of control helps me to be less stressed and the things I want to accomplish still get done.
I made 13 Etsy sales and created three new listings.
I ran a sale in May to help clear out my burgeoning stash of yarn. I have way more yarn than I could ever use and love that people like what I’m doing here. I’m getting quite a bit faster at unraveling sweaters, but it still takes quite a bit of time to go from sweater to useable yarn. Not that I’m complaining though. I find the unraveling process to be quite meditative and relaxing.
Traveled out of town for 11 days.
Traveling has been a big part of 2019 for us. I tagged along on Justin’s work trip in Bermuda for four days and visited family and friends in Michigan for a week. Since moving to Colorado, I’ve been back to Michigan four times. I imagine that the trend will continue since my mom lives there and I have a good number of friends there too. Justin goes back for work a few times a year as well. That helps to keep costs down since I can just buy a plane ticket and tagalong.
Hosted friends and/or family for 7 days.
Don’t tell Justin, but I love hosting people in our home. It’s nice being able to share my city and all of our favorite places with our loved ones. Justin’s mom visited for a weekend and my best friend visited for a different weekend. Hosting will be a lot easier when we’re in our new house because we’ll have more space and a dedicated guest room.
Made or went to 6 doctors’ appointments.
During my professor life, the best time to schedule annual appointments was during the summer since I didn’t need to contend with my on-campus schedule. With the existing pattern in place, I probably won’t change it. I will say that managing my chronic illness is much easier with a clear schedule. Thankfully I don’t have as many appointments as in the past. I’m down to my biannual appointment with my endocrinologist, blood work, and annual ultrasound. With any luck, my labs next summer will come back good and I’ll get to go down to just one appointment.
Read 4 books.
Most of my reading occurred while I was in Bermuda. For the first time in a long time, I read a book from cover-to-cover in one day. It was only made better by the fact that I read the book next to the beach.
As for what I’ve read: (1) Maid by Stephanie Land, (2) The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg, (3) All the Money in the Worldby Laura Vanderkam, and (4) The Death of Expertiseby Tom Nichols.
Had 3 coffee dates with friends.
Wednesdays are my coffee date days if I’m not volunteering with the pet pantry. Even so, I had to laugh when it took me and a good friend a solid twenty minutes to find a date/time that would work for both of us because, as she put it, “How is it possible to have so many schedule conflicts between someone who works 6 hours and another unemployed?”
Participated in 2 volunteer events
I’ve been volunteering once per month with the Colorado Pet Pantry since we moved here. The work that we do is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. We partner with local human food banks to provide pet food to families in need. It feels good to do something that positively impacts my community.
The other volunteer event that I did was more of a fundraiser. We participated in the 3rdannual Relay for Rescue. This event combined a pub crawl, scavenger hunt, and relay race into one ridiculous party to benefit eleven local animal-related charities. It was a lot of fun, but I’m going to do a better job of practicing moderation if I do it again.
Went on 2 dates with my husband and cooked too many brunches to count
It turns out that when I’m not stressed out of my mind about work, I actually enjoy spending time with my husband and cooking for him. Who knew?
We went out to dinner for our tenth anniversary. It was a bit over-the-top, but I enjoyed every minute of it. He also asked me to go on a lunch date a few weeks ago. It was a bit out of the blue and I had nothing on my calendar, so it was perfection. We also combined lunch with a trip to the zero waste store.
One of my goals has been to cook more often. While jobbing, cooking turned into a chore that I would rather not spend 45 minutes to an hour doing every evening. Lately, I’ve been enjoying pulling brunch together for us most days. I’m not really a breakfast person, so we don’t end up having our first meal until 11 AM most days. It works for us, especially since he works from home.
Took 1 hiking trip
Lastly, we went hiking with my brother at our favorite hiking spot. We normally try to get out once per month for a hike, but our weekends have been collectively full. It’s been hard finding a time when all three of us are willing and able to go for a hike. I think we’ll be able to go out in September and October though to finish out the season.
There you have it. Two months without a job and I have definitely found ways to fill my time. I used to joke that I didn’t have time for a job, and it looks like I was right. In some ways this is a normal summer for me because I usually spend the first two months of break catching up on things. It’ll really hit me that I’m not jobbing any more in the fall when all my academic friends head back to campus. Until then…
You might wonder why I keep referring to the employment that I used to do as jobbing instead of working. Let me tell you. All people do work or labor. This could be paid work outside of the home or unpaid work at home. Either way, it is effort done on behalf of others. Jobbing, on the other hand, refers specifically to the labor that one exchanges for money. Not all people job, but all people work.