This number seems so ominous. So close to forty, but not.

Actually, that’s how old I am right now.

The last birthday cake I got from a friend, two years ago.

Wait a minute–that does look really bad, now that I am staring that number in bold black print. Maybe I should just forget about this post…

But I need to reel myself in and focus on the point:

It’s been a month since my birthday and I am still coming to grips that this will be the last year I spend in my thirties. I guess once I hit my forties, I will be officially old.

Does that mean I am not young anymore?

The funny thing is that I still feel like I’m young enough to try any challenge, whether that means going back to school to get my PhD or starting my own business. I refuse to be bound by an arbitrary number linked to my age.

I wish I had really gotten started earlier with the whole retirement savings. I wish I was retired now and not completely bound to a job. I wish I was financially independent now. But these are things I never thought about when I was younger. Now that I am older, I am glad that I’ve finally realized the importance of saving for my future.

However, just because I got started late at being fiscally responsible doesn’t mean that it’s too late for my husband and me. I don’t feel hopeless enough to think that there’s nothing I can do from here on out. I haven’t given up yet on my dream to be financially independent. I am still driven to achieve that goal, whether that means being more ruthless with our spending or whether that means going out and trying to find other sources of income.

What I do now is going to have a bigger impact than me just regretting the mistakes of my past. Yes, I got started late, but at least I can do something about it.

Words guide me, just like this a lighthouse guides ships to shore.

To help with achieving my goal, I try to motivate myself with simple, easy to remember phrases that I can keep in the back of my mind. Every year, since I was 35, I used to come up with a little slogan or a motto that would capture how I wanted my year to be.

For example, when I was 35, it was “My year to thrive.”

For 36, “Year of the fix.”

37: Financial Haven

38: Just create!

So when I turned 39 this June I decided to continue the tradition. However, I am struggling with something that not only rhymes with the word nine but also something that has to do with personal finance or personal development.

The only thing I can come up with is fine–but it just seems to be such a blah word. I don’t find it exciting or motivating at all.

Hmm. Wine?


That would definitely motivate me. (Insert smiley face.)


I wrote the original post a few days ago and left it without my phrase for the year. I finally thought about it seriously and decided that for the year 39, my motto will be:

“Life by design.”

I love it. I think it’s fitting and encapsulates everything I want to do with my life. I will design it to the way I want it to be. My life will be flexible enough to handle whatever comes my way, but strong enough to get to where I want to be: financially independent.

I know this all seems cheesy and maybe a little strange, but I’m trying to keep myself focused on the game plan. This is one of the ways I try to be productive all the time. I don’t want to do anything that will derail us from our goals. It’s hard enough sometimes when you feel like you’re being pulled in so many directions by life in general. These words will hopefully center me and keep me working hard.

So here’s to my final year in my thirties.

Another drink photo. Do you sense a pattern here?

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 10.56.41


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