The Forest

When I think of our relationship habits, the one thing we do consistently is financial planning. At least once every two weeks (often several times a week) we sit down with our budget together. We look over our spending, talk about upcoming life changes, and evaluate our priorities. Over our years together, these planning sessions have turned into much more than crunching the numbers. They’ve given us the space to compromise and communicate. They’ve pushed us to be intentional with our resources, to evaluate what exactly it is that we are doing with our money, time, and energy. And, every once in a while, we’ll have a mind-blowing insight into our lives as a result. In the middle of our last one, my wife made an astute observation. She said “We’re right on track.”

About eight months ago, we made a one-year plan together. Then, the goals we put down seemed impossible: Christine wanted to quit her job, get accepted into a bootcamp, and get a new job in a completely different industry. I wanted to work, take prereqs, volunteer, ace the GRE and get accepted into grad school. Our plan was to live off my (very meager) salary until she got a job. At the time, we were certain we would crash and fail (or at the very least burn out). Now, eight months later, Christine is right: we’re right on track with our plan.

I’ve been working on a crafting project the past couple months. I keep putting it down and picking it back up again. It’s something simple: a circle of French knots radiating outwards. Just simple enough for me to obsess. Every time I make a knot, a small part of me is certain that I’ve ruined it. They’re too lopsided, too sloppy, too close together. But each time I pick it back up again, I love it. It just takes stepping away to see the forest rather than the trees. That’s how I feel with life right now. I’m doing a juggling act: two jobs, volunteering, classes, GRE, grad school applications, family stuff. And every day it all feels on the verge of failing. But Christine’s right (as always): we’re on track. We’re doing this. I just need to remember to step back and see the forest.


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