Time just keeps on flying by! September is almost over, and I haven’t done any Monthly Reflections since my first one in June! So here’s one for July, August, and September… Basically Summer 2017!
In July, I officially began my Minimalism Journey by dumping out my main closet and creating a huge mess in my apartment, as well as donating a huge portion of my wardrobe.
It was a hugely empowering experience, especially as I was experiencing more and more issues with my chronic pain, which was making me fear for the worst: that I will no longer be able to live independently, and will have to therefore move in with someone. Lessening my material possessions meant less work when it came to moving.
Before I got to the decluttering, I started reading a lot of books about habit-forming and good habits. I began to play around with different potential habits for me to take on, and lifestyle changes that I wanted to incorporate in my life.
Of course, August was my most eventful month.
Diversity in Tech Conference
In the beginning of the month, I attended Tech Inclusion, my first ever tech conference. The convention focused on the issue of Diversity in Tech, and I attended as a representative of Diversability, a disability self-advocacy organization.
The day before the conference, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis after months of dehibilitating chronic pain that was worsening by the day. I finally got my answers, and started taking chemo drugs to try to get my immune system to chill the eff out.
Unfortunate side effects are that I’m immuno-compromised (my immune system is shot, because autoimmune disorders are caused by overreactive immune systems, so the chemo drug is killing my immune system), and I have really bad fatigue the few days after I take the drugs every week.
Also, throughout the whole month, I took part in the #1PaycheckChallenge: a financial challenge to live on just 1 (of 2) paycheck for the whole month of August. I came out with $100+ to spare!
This was my first “real” challenge on this blog, and it was tons of fun getting to come back and review it after the month was over.
First thing I did in September was to get my hair cut with the money I had left over from the #1PaycheckChallenge. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years, but never had the courage to actually do… And I’m really glad I finally did it.
Though the actual reason why I finally took the leap was because the drug I’m on makes my hair fall out, so in an effort to keep as much hair as possible, we figured it would be better if I kept them short.
In September, with my chronic pain subsiding a little bit because of the chemo drugs, I started going back to the gym a little more, on top of my weekly Yoga classes.
I’ve been sticking to the low-impact stuff like stationary bikes and elliptical. I hope to find something that’s a little more entertaining soon.
A huge win on the Minimalism Journey happened when I finally shipped out my purses.
Now, if you know in any way know me in real life, you would know I love purses. I don’t spend much money, and I don’t buy many things, but stationaries/notebooks and purses are just my vices.
So it makes sense that it was always weighing heavily on me to have so many purses (that I spent good money on) that I don’t use, and feeling guilty about it, but because I love purses, I couldn’t just throw them out. (Let’s get real; I can’t even throw out 25 cent erasers; there’s no way I can throw away $150 or $300 purses.)
In August, I took out every single purse and wallet I owned, and sorted them: To Keep or To Give Away. I was very stringent in my selection process, because I felt like this was it. If I didn’t get rid of them now, I would never be able to. And I figured if I really missed it, then it means I liked it, so it’s an excuse to go out and buy a replacement for it… I MEAN…!!!!
I found that I had 17 purses and 4 wallets in my closets.
After long deliberation, I decided to keep 5 purses (+ 1 wristlet) and 1 wallet. My most favorite and most-used purses. I tried to keep a variety in what I kept, too, so they would all have their separate uses.
The rest, I gave away to friends, or donated. I wanted my donation to go to somewhere meaningful, where I knew my partings will have actual impact on actual people, so I chose to donate most of them to a geriatric care non-profit my friend works for in Texas.
As a private, not-for-profit organization, Aurora House does not receive any form of government funding or private insurance, nor does it charge patients who come to Aurora House for care.
Instead, Aurora House relies on the generosity of its residents and their families, the community, and charitable organizations for support.
Because Aurora House operates at capacity, 100 patients in 2013 and 67 patients in the first half of 2014 could not be accommodated. In response, 4 additional patient rooms have been built.
Now you have the opportunity to partner with Aurora House and help provide furnishings and staff for these much needed patient rooms.
They have silent auction as one of their fundraising efforts, and they would be able to sell my purses there to bring in money to help fund their end-of-life care facility.
If you have spare purses and wallets lying around that you think you can part with for a great cause, I highly recommend contacting the Aurora House in Weslaco, Texas. (Or, if you have spare $$ lying around, I’m sure that’s extremely welcome too :P)
<- This is what the boxes of my purses being mailed out looked like.
I still have a few bags’ worth of stuff I am planning on donating at some point, which I need to get around to doing so that my living room can stop looking like a junkyard (its constant state for the past few months as I’ve been decluttering from everywhere).
This was definitely an emotional milestone for me, and I’m really glad I finally did it. (And now they have better new owners that will love them and actually use them!) I haven’t missed them at all, and it’s a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, because I don’t have to be reminded of how much money I’ve wasted, and am still wasting by not putting them to good use every time I opened my closets.
I also began my #100DaysOfCode Challenge, which is a personal challenge to code/learn to code for at least an hour a day for 100 days. I’m on my 3rd week, and actually quite impressed with how well the challenge is going, given I am in general no good at doing anything every day.
As my first project, I am working on my portfolio, which I am having a lot of fun designing and tinkering around with. I haven’t coded a website from scratch in probably a decade, and diving head first back into HTML and CSS makes me wish I never stopped in college.
I don’t know if I’d give up IT to pursue web development, but it’s a skill that I’m not going to ever regret having, so I’m going through a lot of courses and programs to get back up-to-date on the current affairs of web dev world. Besides, it never hurts to have a back-up plan for a job, especially when you’re at a precarious health situation like I am. If I have to scale back my actual job for part time while I’m going through a rough time, at least I know I have something to fall back on to work on when I’m feeling a little better.
I also finished my 2017 GoodReads Challenge of 60 books (I finally stopped upping my book number every time I reached the 100% mark, because I realized it’s going to be a never-ending cycle).
I also finished the S-Town podcast (I’ve been listening to it on and off for months). Let me know if you have any podcasts you recommend! I’ve been listening to Serial and the Minimalists, but I know a lot of people have their favorite podcasts they listen to every week. I’ve just never really gotten into the scene, but since I’m out of audiobooks to listen to, I need something else to entertain me on my 2 hour commutes.
Because September is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month, I’ve also been doing daily awareness campaigns on Burgundy for Life’s Facebook Page.
What an eventful few months! I hope the fall is going to be a lot calmer…
October is AVM Awareness Month, so I’ll be doing weekly posts here for AVM awareness. Keep an eye out. 🙂 I’d love for you guys to share or spread awareness with me next month!