Investing in Me

I have never been what most would call “frugal.” I am not thrifty, I am not a couponer, I am not a price-comparison shopper, I am not a budgeter. I am, to the endless annoyance and bewilderment of my far more financially responsible sister, one of those people that just buys stuff.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be tacky or insensitive or bragging about my privilege or anything like that, I’m just being honest. I recognize that I’m very fortunate to be in a position where I can buy most of the stuff that I want without having to plan for it — and, of course, I’m not talking about impulse-buying $1000 handbags or giant plasma screens or any huge ticket items like that. I’m just talking about things like the sushi dog plushie I ordered off of Etsy, or my Stitch Fix (and BirchBox… and Julep…) subscription, or the two pairs of Seychelles shoes that I purchased off Amazon last night.

So, yes, I am very fortunate to be in a place right now where, between my full-time job, my book sales, my blog income, and various other projects (like the occasional photo gig or shooting weddings with Ben), I do have a bit of disposable income. And while it has been important for me to have that buffer, not so that I can shower myself with gifts but so I can afford things like Daxter’s most recent trip to the emergency vet, I’ve recently (or, rather, finally) come to the conclusion that my money could most definitely be better well-spent.

I’m not much of an investor. I mean, I have my 401(k), and I have a Roth IRA set up, and now that I work for Yelp I have some stock option stuff that I still don’t fully understand, but I’ve never devoted too much of my time to figuring out where to invest my money. Most of my extra money ends up going into my savings account, and I’ve always been fine with the 0.004% dividend or whatever I get from that every month, haha. And while, as I get older, I’m sure that being financially-savvy and investing my money wisely will become more of a priority for me, at this specific time in my life, there’s really only one thing that I think I need to concentrate my investments in: myself.

The past year has included a lot of awesome stuff in the life department. I landed a true dream job, I wrote a book that, at least according to the Amazon reviews thus far, isn’t terrible, I’m in a great relationship, I have an awesome family that I am obnoxiously close to, fabulous friends… life’s pretty good. So, unlike the first time I started on this health and weight loss journey, when a lot of those other things were pretty much at their lowest, I’m in a pretty amazing place. Which is why concentrating on my weight loss, concentrating on breaking those terrible habits, instituting some good ones, and generally finding that balance I so desperately crave, is finally a priority again.

I’ve always been a big talker. I talk a lot about all the things I want to be do, the experiences I want to have, and the ways I want to improve myself, but I’ve never been particularly great at follow-through. Like, I want to go hot air ballooning and I want to visit Japan outside of Narida airport and I want to finally eat at Toki Underground, but I never make plans to actually do any of those things. And so, beyond what I’m doing to improve my health and lose weight, I’m in a place where I also want to do all the other things for myself I always talked about doing. And so, for once, I am.

Which is why I finally bit the bullet, and decided to get LASIK back in October.

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And is also why two days ago I got lingual braces.

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You’re welcome for that extremely flattering shot of the inside of my mouth.

I actually had braces back when I was 12/13, but once I got to college stopped wearing my retainer (sorry mom and dad!) and, well, you know how it goes. And while my teeth are not in the worst condition, my top teeth have always bothered me. Some people may be quick to say that I don’t “need” braces, and while that’s technically true because it’s not like my teeth don’t work, it’s something I’ve been wanting to fix for a very long time:

EYEphone Outtake

Ignoring the rest of the bizarre photo (don’t ask), this is a good example showing the off-kilterness of my teeth. So I got lingual (behind the teeth) braces, just on top. My bottom teeth are also kind of messed up, but the orthodontist wanted me to get a tooth extracted and all sorts of craziness, plus you can’t even see them when I smile and I totally admit that this is primarily a vanity thing soooooo… yeah. And my teeth hurt crazy bad and my tongue is super pissed at me for putting metal all up in my mouth, but on the bright side, eating is extremely difficult right now so this should be awesome for my diet. #silverlining

But here’s where my original point about money comes full-circle — finally! — because obviously when you’re talking about stuff like metal brackets in your mouth and laser eye surgery, you’re not talking nickels and dimes. You’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars. But, as I said before, it’s not like I had really been spending most of my money on particularly significant things (Daxter emergencies aside, of course). And this kind of stuff? It is significant, at least to me. Because it is spending money ON me.

Getting LASIK is already the BEST money I could have possibly spent on myself. I know I owe you a thorough post about what getting LASIK was like, but for now I’ll just say that it was totally, completely, 100% worth it. If you’re feeling impatient, you can check out my Yelp review of The Eye Center for a more detailed look at the actual process, but I promise I will update you all here soon.

And there it is! As my sister pointed out when I was speaking with her, I got my LASIK in 2013, and I’m doing my braces in 2014, so let’s start taking bets now on what ridiculously expensive thing I do for myself in 2015, eh? Personally, I’m gunning for a week-long trip back to Harry Potter World (the Diagon Alley expansion opens this summer!!!) or… something else. 😉

In what ways have you invested/are you investing in yourself? It doesn’t have to be monetarily, that’s just the direction I took this post in. Could be money, could be time, could be effort… After all, the things I’m doing to improve my eating habits, exercise habits (kind of…), and overall health are big investments in myself as well!

The Curse of the Four Eyed Monster

Once upon a time, in a land rather far away, a little brown-haired girl was sitting in the back of her 3rd grade classroom. The lesson of the day was multiplication, and the little girl’s teacher was showing the class a big yellow chart upon which she had written a multiplication table.

The little girl looked quizzically at the yellow board. She could see the board, and she could see that there were numbers written on it, but she couldn’t see them very clearly.

“Mrs. Roberts,” the little girl asked, squinting as she raised her hand high in the air. “I think you need to write the numbers bigger. I can’t read them.”

Of course, little did the girl know that she was, at that very moment, succumbing to become a victim of…

THE CURSE OF THE FOUR EYED MONSTER.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. Yes, I was indeed an adorable little girl with dark brown hair, who, in the 3rd grade (at the ripe old age of 7, in fact), found out that I needed glasses. But considering I converted to the blessed religion of disposable contacts at the even riper age of 11, it hasn’t really been a huge deal. I mean, I’ve spent more of my life with impaired vision than without, so I got used to it, you know?

Now, that being said, that isn’t to say that life hasn’t had it’s unfortunate circumstances due to the fact that I have terrible, terrible eyesight. My contacts prescription is -7.25 and my glasses prescription is -7.75 (or something like that). And for those of you who have no frame of reference for those numbers, that is pretty bad. In fact, my vision is so awful that it is absolutely impossible for me to go about my daily life without SOME kind of corrective lens. This isn’t some kind of “I need glasses when I read” or “I have worse vision at night” thing. This is straight up “I am basically blind” stuff right here. And that, naturally, means that the times when I am forced to go without glasses or contacts, it’s not super fun.

Like the time I was at camp, and my glasses broke when I fell off the tire swing, so I had to wear my prescription sunglasses for the rest of the summer. Or pretty much any time I’ve ever been swimming, ever, and unable to open my eyes underwater for fear of my contact lenses just floating on away. Or that time I was driving home from work, and I got something in your eye, so I rubbed my eye and then my contact popped right out — poof! And fell somewhere onto the bottom of my car so I had to drive the rest of the way home with one eye closed.

Yep. C’est la vie. Or at least, it is my life… until tomorrow morning. Because bright and early tomorrow, I am going under the laser and getting LASIK.

WHEEEEEEEEE!!!

Getting laser eye surgery is something that I have honestly thought about since I was probably 13 years old. Of course, it wasn’t actually feasible from a monetary standpoint until now (this ish is ‘spensive!), but it does feel like I’ve thought about it for FOREVER. It’s just always seemed so… liberating. The thought of not being dependent on glasses or contacts to see. Not having my glasses fog up when I get hot (which is, er, a lot of the time, actually). Being able to wake up in the middle of the night and not have to squint to high Heaven just to see the time on my bedside clock. Being able to fall asleep without having to go through the horrible dry-eye that comes with falling asleep with your contacts in. Getting to avoid the entire pre-bed ritual of taking them out in the first place! Ahhhh, SO MUCH FREEDOM!

Of course, there is some vanity involved, too. I mean, if I wasn’t vain about it, I probably wouldn’t wear contacts in the first place, right? But that honestly isn’t the main reason that I want LASIK. Heck, since I’ve been confined to my glasses for the past two weeks (a pre-procedure requirement), I’ve even had many people tell me that I should wear my glasses more often!

It’s cool though, since I’ll be even more of a hipster if I wear the frames WITHOUT the lenses anyway, right?

Again, it really comes down to the liberation of not being dependent on something — glasses OR contacts — in order to be able to see. And while, admittedly, I’m a little scared of the idea of a machine cutting a flap into my eyes with lasers, I’m pretty darn excited, too. So think good thoughts for me tomorrow morning! Good, clear visioned, 20/20 thoughts.

Do you wear glasses or contacts? Have you had LASIK? Ever considered it?