Mission Reviews, July 2010

PRIOR MISSIONS COMPLETED WITHIN THE PAST 12 MONTHS

  • Self-published book of previous blog’s essays
  • Started new, mixed-purpose (social activism and platform for book sales) blog

MISSION 1: LEVERAGE INFORMATION PRODUCTS INTO A LOCATION-INDEPENDENT INCOME STREAM

CURRENT PHASE OF THE MISSION

  • Roughly six months away from launching a separate, mainstream blog/platform to support sales of business-related information products

KEY ACTIVITIES CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS

Researching various traffic-generating and search engine optimization techniques, including but not limited to:

  • Automated back-links by using article marketing
  • Article marketing for immediate traffic
  • Designing a resource box for articles that will generate increased clicks and visitors
  • Have completed first draft of 3 articles

Planning various strategies for organically building a mailing list of blog subscribers:

  • Creating freemium ebooks to offer additional value to blog subscribers (still in the research stage, and reading many, many books on my subject area)
  • Planning regular “freemium” special reports and other content that will only be available to blog subscribers

Personal branding:

Information product creation

  • Have completed 80% of the first draft of the first paid product

Creating a stockpile of future, evergreen blog posts

NEXT MAJOR MILESTONES

  • Completion of first draft of (paid) product
  • Completion of first draft of one freemium ebook

MISSION 2: TAKE AND PASS THE B2/HIGH-INTERMEDIATE LEVEL OF THE DELE EXAM (DIPLOMAS OF SPANISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

DELE (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language) is the official accreditation of the degree of fluency in the Spanish language. It’s issued and recognised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain. The CEFRL and DELE certificates provide evidence of skills acquired in various European languages for personal, academic or professional purposes. I want to return to Spain on a regular basis in the future. Maybe start spending summers there.

CURRENT PHASE OF THE MISSION

  • Roughly 1.5 years away from sitting for the DELE exam

KEY ACTIVITIES CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS

NEXT MAJOR MILESTONE

  • Learn the vocabulary needed so I can start conducting all of my normal work-related transactions with my secretary in Spanish

TALK IS CHEAP; WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO COMPLETE YOUR MISSIONS?

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63 Responses to “Mission Reviews, July 2010”

  1. Robynne says:

    Congrats Khadija! I’m mostly a lurker around here – I discovered your blog in Oct. 2009 and I have been putting some of the valuable tips you and other posters have offered to use – especially when it comes on to relationships, lol. My immediate goal is to finish law school – and finish well, with a focus on getting a job right out of school (May 2011!). I realise that the legal market had undergone DRASTIC changes since the recession – and I don’t think firms will ever be going back to the days where they would hire a battery of associates for their entering class. One useful skill that I’ve honed in school is writing. I hope to channel that into an income stream (independent of practising law, lol. I’ve been perusing blogs for small business ideas.

    Thanks again and keep doing what you’re doing!

  2. Karen R. says:

    You are waaaaay on down the path. Thank you for leaving birdseed for me to follow as I work to develop my information marketing materials.

  3. Faith says:

    Wow! Congrats to you for your focus.

    I have two European cities I want to live in: Prague and Barcelona.

    I have a few things on the pipeline. Since I just suffered what feels like a big setback today (which despite that I think may prove to be more helpful in the long run but is still very disappointing) I’m shifting to my adjacent plan.

    I still have to establish a foothold since I’ve moved cross-county and am mapping out a new career path but this is definately pressing the need to have Plan B, C, D & E as well as work on making myself as attractive as possible professionally and personally.

    I’m living the art of perseverance right now – not enthusiastically – but with resolve. The payoff in the end will be worth it.

  4. Robynne,

    You’re welcome! Thanks for de-lurking; and thank you for your kind words—I truly appreciate it. :-) You’re in the home stretch with law school—good for you!

    You said, “I realise that the legal market had undergone DRASTIC changes since the recession – and I don’t think firms will ever be going back to the days where they would hire a battery of associates for their entering class.”

    I don’t believe that anything economy-related will return to the “champagne days” of before. I figure that this current Depression will be like the Long Depression of the late 1800s, and continue for the next 20 years. Also, I doubt that anybody will discover an equally cheap alternative energy source to oil. I believe that we’ve hit peak oil and have entered a post-industrial era. The previous 150 years of Western industrial abundance was based on cheap, readily accessible oil . . .

    You said, “One useful skill that I’ve honed in school is writing. I hope to channel that into an income stream (independent of practising law, lol. I’ve been perusing blogs for small business ideas.”

    Very good! You’re ahead of the game with the masses who are still looking to be totally dependent on a single “good job.”
    _______________________________________________

    KarenR.,

    You’re welcome! *smile*

    You said, “You are waaaaay on down the path.”

    {chuckling} We’ll see where it takes me. {more chuckling}
    ________________________________________________

    Faith,

    I don’t feel particularly focused. I’m actually quite slow to make certain types of decisions. There are many things that I dither about. However, once I do make a decision, then I’m focused on promptly following through with it.

    You said, “I have two European cities I want to live in: Prague and Barcelona.”

    I’ve only been to 2 places in Spain: Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca. I enjoyed Barcelona so much the two times I visited there, that I’d like to spend some summers there (and see the rest of Spain).

    You said, “I have a few things on the pipeline. Since I just suffered what feels like a big setback today (which despite that I think may prove to be more helpful in the long run but is still very disappointing) I’m shifting to my adjacent plan.”

    I believe that as long as one keeps moving forward (even if it’s sideways instead of straight toward a worthy goal), things work out in the end. So, continue on with “the art of perseverance.”

    Onward and forward!

    Expect Success!

    • LaJane Galt says:

      I’ll be in Barcelona next month. Anything special I should see (other than the obvious)?

      • LaJane Galt,

        Each time, I was in Barcelona for one day. What we did was spend the day taking the hop-on/hop-off tour bus around the city. If I remember correctly, the La Sagrada Familia church is a stop for all such hop-on/off buses in Barcelona.

        As opposed to places where we felt compelled to make sure to see specific things (the Parthenon in Athens, etc.), we just enjoyed the city in Barcelona. We hopped on and off the tour bus to go shopping, listen to the street musicians, and do some people watching at hop-off stops like Las Ramblas.

        The thing about Barcelona is that the pickpockets are running wild there. Almost every single local we talked to made sure to warn us about the pickpockets. Thankfully, we didn’t experience that either time we were there.

        Enjoy your trip and have a safe journey back!

        Expect Success!

  5. Great to see you are in the mission mindset :)
    Best of luck with the DELE! I really enjoyed sitting that exam!

    Otherwise you are certainly super organised for everything else!! I should take a leaf out of your book and organise my non-language life just as good :D

  6. Benny,

    Congratulations on the update of your Language Hacking Guide! You’ve created a great resource for aspiring polyglots. Thanks!

    You said, “Great to see you are in the mission mindset”

    Something that you said finally sunk in for me: In order to truly learn a language, it’s not sufficient to have an “oh, wouldn’t it be lovely to speak ___________” attitude. That casual, “wouldn’t it be lovely” attitude is why I floated through high school and college Spanish without ever learning to speak the language.

    Your message finally sunk in that if I want to actually learn to speak Spanish, THEN . . . I’VE GOT TO GET IT TOGETHER WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY!!! {LOL!}

    You said, “Otherwise you are certainly super organised for everything else!! I should take a leaf out of your book and organise my non-language life just as good”

    Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. For me, organization only comes after MUCH dithering. {chuckling}

    Expect Success!

  7. Nina says:

    This is sooooo timely Khadija! I was thinking yesterday that I just had to plot my course clearly and paste it all around so that I stay on track. And I wondered about practical steps that other Sojourners might be taking, as I love reading your blogs and joining in the discussions.

    So, in 2 months time I will be free to move again. Two more months in a study program that I just had to get myself into and that I fight bad feelings about moving to Arizona in January to enroll in. I am contemplating a move to CA (the last US state that I have any interest in living in, but I’ve decided that may be a waste, stalling), OR most likely a return to living abroad. (I just returned to the US last fall after teaching and traveling two years in Asia.) I have always known that I would make a home abroad, but this time back in the US has been an experiment in determining 1) if I was really ready to give up living in the US, and 2) being a student again and earning a certification in something that I love. The program is what I make of it and so I just have to keep that in mind and recall that I wouldn’t have let myself relax until I completed it, whatever it is worth. But I am a traveler, and I’m happy that I’ve been in Africa, Europe, Asia, Central America…but so much more of my life to live out there and I must remain true to mySelf.

    So moving, to a place where I really want to be, in the wide-open world that I so love, where my chances of finding fulfillment and even a partner will increase is on my chart. Meanwhile, writing my book day by day, designing my brand too (so crucial branding is), delving deep into my studies, and researching opportunities to get my life started again abroad, such as teaching business English to professionals.

    I will take great hints from the language, format and organization of your mission review. Just what I needed to see. Thanks again.

  8. mochachoc says:

    Congratulations Khadija. 7 pounds to lose and I’ll be there.

  9. Karen says:

    PRIOR MISSIONS COMPLETED:

    +Bilingual
    +Traveled outside of the U.S.
    +Became self-employed
    +Became debt-free (excluding mortgage)
    +Established multiple investments

    MISSION 1: Become a competent Organic gardner with goal to supply 30%-t50% of our food in the next years.

    +Started garden
    +Building gardening library
    +Started composting
    +Found a site where you can volunteer to work on an organic farm in return for lodgings. Target to book a weekend in October
    +Follow Archdruid blog

    MISSION 2: Become a weaver and spinner of yarn

    +Just joined a Spinning Guild
    +Currently searching for local weavers

    MISSION 3: Continue to expand business network for additional customer contracts/contacts

    +Added several new business contacts this year that have viable business opportunities.
    +Maintain/improve business website

    MISSION 4: Continue to improve my health

    +Begun regular fitness routine
    +Eat healthy and no processed foods
    +Maintain my ideal weight

    There are many more things that I am involved with but this gives a short overview.

  10. ZooPath says:

    My goal is to clean up my credit card debt. We’ve held off on completely furnishing the house (no dining room furniture, no outdoor furniture, no chairs in the office, only a beanbag in the bonus room) and I’m still driving my car from med school (circa 2002) to address our credit card debt. I want to actually have money in the bank, not just people willing to lend it to me just because of my occupation. Just when I was feeling smug about the steps we’ve been taking and thinking surely the universe will reward me, the dealership performed $2300 in service on our other car without checking with us first. If we knew that it was going to be that much that car would have gone straight to Carmax and we’d bid it a fond fairwell. Sigh…

    • Karen says:

      Concerning your car:

      1) Is the car paid off?

      2) Normally, you have to sign up front as to whether the repairs are to be done or to be called first. If you did not sign anything stating that they were authorized to do the repairs, then you have a case to go back an renegotiate exactly what you are willing to pay as they did an “unauthorized repair”.

      3) Trade-offs of purchasing another car:
      3.1 If the current car is paid off then one must calculate the carrying costs of said car (i.e. monthly insurance and expected repairs to maintain the car)

      3.2 If your car has been paid off as an example since 2006 and there have been no repairs in the period until now, then your maintenance costs have been 2300 dollars over the last 4 years. This equates to 2300/48 months or roughly 48 dollars a month. Or if this is the first repair since purchase (or 8 years)then the maintenance costs are cut to 24 dollars a month.

      3.3 Therefore, it is important to consider the costs of purchasing a new or used car. If you have to finance the purchase, it is usually not a win situation. As the monthly outlay plus interest will be higher than the ongoing maintenance costs of the current car.

      As a rule after we have purchased a car (in our case, we only buy used and only with cash), we set aside the “monthly carrying costs” so that when a repair comes due the money is there.

      Of course each person’s situation is different, but if after this repair, the car is still in good working order and the mileage is not excessive, then I would take the approach of setting aside an allowance for possible upcoming repairs versus the additional cost of a car purchase (new or used). As a side note, we purchase used cars that are at least 4 years old or older. My current car is now 11 years old and I make sure that it has routine maintenance. Yes, there have been repairs but I still come out ahead versus purchasing a new car or a used car that is only 1-2 years old.

      As always, take what is of value and toss the rest *smile*

  11. Nina,

    You’re welcome!

    You said, “This is sooooo timely Khadija! I was thinking yesterday that I just had to plot my course clearly and paste it all around so that I stay on track. And I wondered about practical steps that other Sojourners might be taking…”

    Ahh…the synchronicity of productive thoughts: Yesterday I had the thought that it’s been about 6 months since this blog launched, so it’s time for an accountability check for everybody. I don’t want audience members coming here to simply vent and do nothing else.

    It sounds like you’ve got things well in hand, and your mission is progressing nicely. Keep up the good work!

    If you haven’t seen it already, you might want to check out the current post at The Archdruid Report, and the comments to that post. People have listed a lot of good resources that might be helpful for your personal library.
    ________________________________________________

    Mochachoc,

    Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. One question though—why are people congratulating me before either of the current missions are completed? That’s very kind, and I appreciate it. I just don’t quite understand it.

    You said, “7 pounds to lose and I’ll be there.”

    Good for you—keep up the good work!
    *************************************************
    **A word to audience members who feel like they don’t have anything to report**

    Take that as a hint to get moving and get busy! It’s one thing to have nothing to report if you can honestly say that you’re already everywhere you want to be in your life. It’s something else if you’re still (unhappily) in the exact, SAME spot you were in 6 months, a year, or longer ago.

    Get moving! “Time is of the essence!” [Robynne, if you're studying in the US (this blog is blessed to have several Europe-based readers), you'll remember that from 1st year Contracts! LOL!]

    Expect Success!

  12. Karen,

    Wow! {deep martial arts bow} I’m working to follow in your footsteps!
    _________________________________________________

    ZooPath,

    That’s a very good mission to have. {raised fist salute} A lot of people sit around, and wait until the credit card debt kicks them in the head before they take action. You and your husband are wise to take action NOW.

    Keep up the good work!

    Expect Success!

  13. Vanessa F. says:

    Silent audience member speaking up for a minute here!

    My mission includes the following:

    * Learn Portuguese, which is one of the hardest of the romantic languages to learn I am told. My father made a suggestion about 10 years ago to learn this language mentioning that Brazil is going to be one of the next big economies and that it would be wise for me to ‘get in on’ learning the language. I finally decided to listen to his advice.

    *Become debt-free. I have the so-called “good debt” – a term which I think is a hoot because any type of debt is ever good debt in my mind.

    *Start to incorporate minimalist principles in my life. I’ve been reading quite a bit about minimalism for the past few months on- and off-line. I do not think I will get to the point where I will be down to owning only 50 items (some minimalists are that hard core!) but I do want to get a handle over having so much stuff. All of the ‘stuff’ that society says you need really isn’t necessary.

    *Start a side business with a low cost-of-entry.

    *Start moving my main career into sustainability consulting. My day job focuses on urban planning so I already have experience in creating sustainable communities, however, I am researching how to move further into this specialized area in the corporate realm.

    *And for the personal, lose those last pesky 15 pounds. If I could conquer my love of pasta salad and almond croissants I would be there already! I remember reading on your prior blog about PX90 and I am going to finally go there. I have a long overdo vacation coming up and I plan to start the program at that time.

  14. Hodan says:

    great achievements you’ve made for yourself Khadija, in sha’Allah everything will go as you want.

    I’ve never been a planner, but as I get older with lots more responsibilities and a vision of where I want to be in the next 10 yrs God willing, I realized the importance of life goals. I have short term and long term ones, here are some of them:

    1. Finish my Master degree and perhaps go on to law school.

    2. Start diversifying my income and saving options.

    3. Improve my Arabic and French fluency, and perhaps add Persian and Spanish languages.

    4. Move out of home and live on my own far away from any family members. As much as I love them, I learned the importance of having your own personal space and life.

    5. Planning to be Canada’s next Prime Minster :) - but for now…..work as a public policy officer within the federal government.

    6. Love to live and work anywhere in East Africa, preferably through my own government or the UN. I did an internship right after undergrad, where I worked and lived in Kenya for a whole yr….the happiest time in my adult life.

    7. Seriously consider getting married, which I had no desire for a long time now. I’m one of those people who don’t like to settle down for the sake of it. There is no point in marrying just because its culturally expected or you are reaching a certain age (usually the big 30). Without a worthwhile quality life partner, its just a waste of time if not harmful. However, as I get older and would be leaving my 20s very soon, I know what I want and trying to look forward to what the future holds for me.

  15. foreverloyal says:

    Mission: Launch a small business
    -researched my idea and found it feasible
    -researched the “nuts and bolts” of what the business would take
    -developed my product (as far as possible)
    -met with a prospective partner yesterday to go over ideas and financial structure

    Mission: organize my house top to bottom
    -had two loads of junk hauled off
    -put up some junk to yardsale, donated unsold goods
    -went thru house assessing organization possiblities
    -put up three shelves in MBR closet

  16. Icon says:

    WOW, Khadija congrats! Your goals are really inspiring. All my girlfriends are currently on that same track.

    So far this year goals I can think of:

    -. Stop biting nails (done! I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, so it was important to me).

    -. Take multivitamins everyday. (done).

    -. Switch from coffee to green tea unless occasionally (done, I was so addicted to coffee it was scary).

    -. Move out of black neighborhood to prevent stress from harassment. (done, and bringing me to the next step:)

    -. Try hard not to flip out and curse and swear at street harassers because of built up stress and cry(not done :-/). I NEVER flip out normally, I’m quiet…But EVERYDAY this is a struggle, it just comes out.

    -. Remember that I suppressed my naturally feminine self for survival, and to rediscover it. (growing!)

    -. When non-black, and normal black men do a double take with eye contact, don’t look away give it back! (Just yesterday, I did this with a handsome white man on the platform, then a black man walked next to me and harassed me and I just walked away). :-(

    -. Stop reading depressing “world issue” and crime blogs, and switch to blogs that focus on women’s political issues, fashion, and beauty (done for the most part!).

    -. Get out more (done!). :-)

  17. VanessaF.,

    Thanks for de-lurking! :-) You said, “Learn Portuguese, which is one of the hardest of the romantic languages to learn I am told. My father made a suggestion about 10 years ago to learn this language mentioning that Brazil is going to be one of the next big economies and that it would be wise for me to ‘get in on’ learning the language. I finally decided to listen to his advice.”

    That was some very shrewd advice. As the US continues to waste whatever money it has on foreign wars, new global power brokers are rising.

    I just read an article today that talked about how Turkey’s economy has been growing since it repositioned itself to be more involved in “the East” as opposed to solely chasing after acceptance by the West. The writer asserted that Turkey not being accepted (thus far) into the EU has actually worked in its favor economically.

    I share your skepticism about the concept of “good” debt.

    You said, “I do not think I will get to the point where I will be down to owning only 50 items (some minimalists are that hard core!) but I do want to get a handle over having so much stuff. All of the ’stuff’ that society says you need really isn’t necessary.”

    The Exile Lifestyle blog host talks about minimalism quite a bit. Which makes sense for him because he spends his time traveling. I would imagine that having only 50 items would be liberating in many ways—almost no “stuff” to worry about or cart around. I just can’t see myself getting down to so few items.
    ________________________________________________

    Hodan,

    Thank you for your kind words and kind wishes; I truly appreciate it. You said, “Improve my Arabic and French fluency, and perhaps add Persian and Spanish languages.”

    I would like to learn Arabic. Although, between Arabic and Farsi (Persian), Farsi is a much prettier language to my ears. Arabic has too many coughing noises in it. [For example, I don't like the sound of how I've heard native Arabic speakers pronounce my name---with a coughing noise at the beginning. Ewww...that's so not poetic...

    All of which is another amusing, behind the scenes power struggle between the agents of Arab imperialism and many non-Arab Muslims. I took great pleasure in telling an Arab who thought he was going to "correct" me regarding the pronunciation of my name (I never say it with the coughing noise) the following:

    The way Iranians, Turks, and others have their own way of pronouncing names that were originally Arabic names, I claim the SAME right for indigenous AA Muslims. So, come back to me with your input only AFTER you've successfully convinced the Iranians to say "Hussein" instead of "Hossein." And only AFTER you've also convinced the Turks to say "Ahmad" instead of "Ahmet." He didn't expect that reaction, and had nothing to say in response. {chuckling at the memory}]

    You said, “Planning to be Canada’s next Prime Minster – but for now…..work as a public policy officer within the federal government.”

    You’re on your way!
    _________________________________________________

    ForeverLoyal,

    You said, “-researched the “nuts and bolts” of what the business would take
    -developed my product (as far as possible)
    -met with a prospective partner yesterday to go over ideas and financial structure”

    Great! It sounds like things are moving along—good for you!

    You said, “-had two loads of junk hauled off
    -put up some junk to yardsale, donated unsold goods”

    I’ve read feng shui articles asserting that clutter blocks the flow of good “chi.” That sounds about right to me. I know for myself, I find it harder to relax or concentrate when the clutter gets beyond a certain point.
    _______________________________________________

    Icon,

    Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

    I praise God that you got out of your previous Black residential neighborhood. Conditions have reached the point in most Black neighborhoods that BW can’t even breathe there. The quality of life for most AA women who are living surrounded by other AA people is dreadful. For all the reasons that have been discussed on various BWE blogs.

    You said, “Stop reading depressing “world issue” and crime blogs, and switch to blogs that focus on women’s political issues, fashion, and beauty (done for the most part!).”

    Excellent! This is something that I briefly discuss on the FAQ page for this blog. Too many AAs focus their attention on: (1) things they can’t/won’t do anything about, and (2) things that are of NO benefit to them.

    AA women are already under ongoing, relentless, spirit-wounding attacks in so many ways. It is NOT helpful for most women to add more negativity to the mix. Why seek out additional hits to one’s spirit? Which constitutes most of the content of the so-called news. “If it bleeds, it leads.” A steady diet of hearing about murder and mayhem does not support living well.

    I used to be a “news” junkie. I stopped watching and listening to the mainstream “news” past a certain point. Because I was disgusted with how the mainstream news served as stenographers for the Bush Cartel. They have served all Americans poorly ever since 9/11. And their betrayal of the public good has only gotten worse with each year that passes. The “news” has become identical to the parody of the news in the movie Network! “Sybil the Soothsayer,” indeed. The reviewer in the previous link quotes some of Paddy Chayefsky’s brilliantly scripted dialogue—which perfectly describes the nature of most television:

    Christensen: “Don’t leave me.”

    Schumacher: “It’s too late Diana. There’s nothing left in you I can live with. You’re one of Howard’s humanoids. If I stay with you I’ll be destroyed. Like Howard Beale was destroyed . . . Like everything that you and the institution of television touch, is destroyed.

    “You’re television incarnate Diana. Indifferent to suffering. Insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War. Murder. Death. All the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You’re madness Diana. And everything you touch dies with you . . . but not me. Not as long as I can feel pleasure, and pain and love.

    It’s amazing to see how prescient some of Mr. Chayefsky’s scripts were. The early and mid-1970s movies Network and The Hospital largely predicted what tv news and American medicine would turn into.

    Anyhoo, once I stopped consuming the “news,” I found that I didn’t miss it at all!

    Expect Success!

  18. I’ve been so focused on empire-building of late that I’ve been neglecting my health. My husband and MIL staged an intervention of sorts that snapped me back to reality. So for the past couple of months I’ve been focused entirely on myself and my health.

    1. Exercise
    Joined the Y. I now walk at least an hour most days of the week and do 20-40 minutes of weight training three days a week.

    2. Eat Healthier
    Eliminated sugar and alcohol from my diet. Trying to stay within 1200-1400 calories per day.

    3. Lose Weight
    Have lost 16 pounds. Still got quite a ways to go, but it’s coming off.

    4. Pay More Attention to Physical Appearance
    Since we’ve become so focused on living cash-only and sticking to a very strict budget, I’ve really been very stringent with buying anything. My son gets new clothes, but no one else. My husband pointed out that I haven’t had a new dress since before our son was born, and that the world won’t end if I get an occasional pedicure. So I’ve been focusing more on that. The outside is a reflection of who you are and what you feel on the inside. Nobody can build an empire while looking like a schlump. So that’s where I am these days.

    Long-term: focusing even more on my writing career. Looking at other genres and other directions. Brainstorming with my writing partner so we can be more diverse and have appeal to a broader demographic.

  19. pioneervalleywoman says:

    Greetings, Khadija!

    Glad to hear your goals are going along fine. Glad to hear as well what others are doing.

    Thanks for this opportunity to take stock!

    As for me, I have had several, and I have made some progress:

    1. Health and physical fitness: For quite some time now, I have been on a 5 day a week, 1 hour per day cardiovascular routine, and things were stable. Believing I could do better, I got back into light weight training and spoke to a dietician who had me cut down on the carbohydrates and increase the proteins–I keep a food diary and pay attention to portion sizes. The effects have been great, the weight has just been dropping, and without any real effort, since the foundation was already there.

    2. Professional, part 1: I have chatted with some folks about some new directions to develop in doing consulting work. I’ll work with them more come the fall to get some of the steps ready to make a move within a few years.

    3. Professional, part 2: I have been coming up with some new research topics in a newer area of interest for me and I have been working on improving my pedagogical strategies for a graduate level audience.

    4. Personal: Creating a better work/family balance during the course of the summer by using more research assistants and setting up a four day work week, bracketed by vacation time–classes end in April, examinations and grading throughout May; June through mid July for research projects, vacation and then course preps for August, right before fall classes start.

  20. lunanoire says:

    Accomplished:

    1. Followed through with New Year’s resolution to join professional organizations. It has really made a difference. If I so choose, there is some type of event to attend almost every day. However, it’s not a good idea to be indiscriminate. I was able to turn my schedule reduction in June to a positive by volunteering during the day and attending targeted events during work hours. At one point, I was able to say to certain people, “Hello again! We met (2 days ago/ 2 weeks ago) at (an earlier industry event. How are you?”

    Short term plans:

    2. About to leave my sub-optimal (low pay, ‘hood work environment and clients) job and move to a new town working with professional colleagues downtown for higher pay.

    3. Moving to a new state, which gives me the ability to create a home environment that fits my needs.

    4. Benefitting from standard of living differences. Though I could work at position similar to my new job for a little more without moving states, according to cost-of-living calculators, the purchasing power of living in the new town is worth 133% of that same salary here.

    Longer-term goals

    5. Brush up on my Japanese skills.

    6. Make a concerted effort to make connections, personal and professional, in the new town.

    7. Figure out how best to transition to my desired industry.

    8. Exercise regulary again, including weight training. The new job has a gym, so there’s no excuse.

    9. Reduce my student loans.

    10. Build up savings.

    11. Buy a new passport.

    12. Research additional income streams.

  21. Roslyn,

    I’m happy your husband and mother in law did an intervention. Because the bottom line is as you described it when you said, “Nobody can build an empire while looking like a schlump.” (emphasis added)

    I’m soooo happy that more of us have gotten past the “not everybody ‘can’ or wants to look good” insanity/resistance that I heard when I first did the “Flawless” post at the previous blog.

    You said, “The outside is a reflection of who you are and what you feel on the inside.”

    Yes, and as much as most AAs want to be in outer space about this topic, the reality is that people DO make assessments based on folks’ self-presentation choices.

    It sounds like you’re moving forward on various fronts. Great—keep up the good work!
    _________________________________________________

    Greetings, PioneerValleyWoman!

    You’re welcome!

    Yes, I’m also happy to hear about the progress that other Sojourners are making. I don’t bite my tongue on those occassions when I’m discussing what I believe the future holds for the AA masses (and why). But I don’t focus on those unpleasant matters. Too many AA women’s online conversations fixate only on problems.

    I spend most of my attention on getting ALL that I can honorably get out of life! Whatever my current circumstances are, and whatever the future holds. :-)

    You said, “Professional, part 1: I have chatted with some folks about some new directions to develop in doing consulting work. I’ll work with them more come the fall to get some of the steps ready to make a move within a few years.”

    This reminds me of a section in Colin Wright’s free ebook about personal branding. [I linked directly to this ebook in the blog post. If that direct link doesn't work, folks can get a copy by starting at his home page at Exile Lifestyle.]

    He talked about how important it is to take inventory of one’s current skill sets, refine them, AND expand outward into learning new, related skill sets. This way, one’s career or business keeps moving forward and growing. And one is less vulnerable as an employee. [Which is a point that another commenter named Karen made during the Tribute to the Automatic Earth conversation.] As has been noted throughout the ages, it’s not good to put all one’s eggs in one basket. It’s not good to depend solely on ONE skill.

    It sounds like you’re moving forward—keep up the good work!
    _________________________________________________

    Lunanoire,

    You said, “1. Followed through with New Year’s resolution to join professional organizations. It has really made a difference. If I so choose, there is some type of event to attend almost every day.”

    This is another important topic that Mr. Wright discusses in his free ebook. Cultivating the right networks gets—and keeps—one’s name, one’s personal brand, and one’s work out in front of a much larger audience than an individual could possibly reach on their own.

    You said, “11. Buy a new passport.”

    Great!

    **Note to Silent Audience Members Who Feel They Have Nothing to Mention—If you don’t already have a passport, getting one is something you can do RIGHT NOW to give yourself choices that you didn’t have before!**

    It sounds like you’re moving forward—keep up the good work!

    Expect Success!

  22. Felicia says:

    A hearty CONGRATS to you Khadija!

    May God continue to bless you in all your endeavors.

  23. Nina says:

    GREAT STUFF!!!

    On minimalism and clutter:

    Several of you have mentioned cleaning house of clutter and seeking to live a more minimalist life. I simply wish to share that for the past 3 years I have lived with very little and to require only that which might fit in 2 checked bags and a carry-on. (I’d love to title a book that, but quickly cause the rules, regulations and restrictions keep changing. :)

    Three years ago I emptied out (through yard sales, liberating give-aways, tossing) my NYC 1 br apartment to move to Asia. I’d accepted a teaching position there, which included an apartment and all furnishings. I took long vacations from that base to countries in the region and spent my travel money on experiences and small, lovely things. On these excursions I traveled only with a carry-on. I returned to the US 2 years later, again with roughly 2 checked bags and a carry-on, at which point I rented a furnished apartment for 7 months. I’m in month 6 and looking forward to my lease end, when I’ll pick up and likely go abroad again. Ok I did have to purchase a car here, so I’ll sell that, but again, I’ll leave with (you know the drill) 2 checked bags…. :)

    Thinking back, as I child I remember loving words like nomad and gypsy, but I also loved rich things and rich experiences. So I have worked to design a life where things are not encumbrances. And it’s so great to not miss an opportunity because of a favorite couch or a flat-screen that I just bought, or a dinette. Maybe I had a tiny bit of grief when I sold a small table and chair and djembe that I had made in Ghana, but no tears—they’d served me well and now someone else could enjoy them. I’m single and a butterfly, but living minimally is possible for all, to some degree. Also the more freely I let go the more freely further blessings flow to me.

    I think that these “things” that we hold on to for comfort, out of guilt or feelings of obligation, well they include weight, relationships, excuses, belief patterns (magical thinking about bm) and behaviors. All relevant to what Khadija and other women strive to share on this blog. So just wanted to share as this is one of my expert areas/gifts and women often ask me for the details. I love reading what you all contribute and again Khadija much thanks!

  24. Felicia,

    THANK YOU and may God continue to bless you as well!
    _________________________________________________

    Nina,

    You’re welcome!

    Even though the idea of only owning 50 items (or your 2 checked bags and a carry-on) is not particularly appealing to me, you and Vanessa F. have inspired me to go through my home and get rid of all the extra “stuff” that serves no real purpose in my life.* As I now look around my study, I see lots of (neatly organized) “stuff” that needs to be tossed.

    [*This excludes my beloved books, of course. Even after I've finished reading them, I love walking past and seeing them on my bookshelves. Them and the crates of books in my basement---that I periodically get rid of via donation---are the reasons why I had to switch over to a Kindle. :-) ]

    You said, “Thinking back, as I child I remember loving words like nomad and gypsy, but I also loved rich things and rich experiences. So I have worked to design a life where things are not encumbrances.”

    Wow, that’s profound . . . {a sigh filled with quiet wonder}

    You said, “I think that these “things” that we hold on to for comfort, out of guilt or feelings of obligation, well they include weight, relationships, excuses, belief patterns (magical thinking about bm) and behaviors.”

    This is true. I would add the inertia of unexamined habits that keep people hanging on to all sorts of non-beneficial, and often downright toxic stuff.

    Nina, your comment and experiences have given me a LOT of food for thought. Thanks for sharing!

    Expect Success!

    • Nina says:

      I’m glad Khadija to share some food with you!

      And on books—yes, many were hard to leave, but I’ve found myself replacing a few essential books throughout my moves. Like you. I like to spot them around my space, like old friends! But one goes everyplace with me, “The Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn (old prosperity teachings, affirmations, positive thinking Grandma style).

      (Ok full disclosure let me tell the truth I just remembered that I did ship fantastic Italian leather “fit to my calf” boots and some other classic fashions, plus some photos and memorabilia to my parent’s home too. But it’s all a welcome addition, fitted organically into my girlhood bedroom, and there for family use—I’m not taking over/moving home. But you know when you’d go to grandma’s house and mom and auntie’s rooms still looked like they lived there—you’d flip through their yearbooks, play in old clothes…? Are grandma’s homes like that anymore, bless ‘em, raising grandkids and such! Anywho, when I settle down again, and soon, and likely abroad, I’ll reclaim the last of my floating important few better things. :) Nothing that cannot be shipped in another large suitcase!

      And SIGH, often people make the mistake of thinking that you don’t care about ‘anything’ when you don’t need all the modern time/money-wasting show-off cluttering stuff; that you’ve taken a vow of poverty/nothingness. But I’m quick to point out that what The Almighty They say one needs, and what The Joneses have, doesn’t much matter to me/us all. So folks who say that I don’t want anything are making a really twisted value judgement.

      I want to be clear to them, there is a difference between “not wanting anything” and “not wanting any thing”. So much to say on simplicity, quality, and richness.

      To our quiet wonder Khadija et al !

  25. Vanessa F. says:

    Khadija and Nina,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with minimalist concepts. If you do not mind Khadija, I would like to share a few other links with your audience on this topic.

    For the Aspiring Hardcore Minimalist – Far Beyond the Stars

    For the “Rational Minimalist” (those who are like me and do not have the will to do the 100 possessions or less route) – Becoming Minimalist

    Now, I am going to attempt to not stay on the sidelines at this site!

  26. Karen says:

    @Nina,

    Very inspiring. I have made a concerted effort to clear out clutter over the last few years, I have found it to be quite liberating.

    Dear Readers,

    Another aspect that I would like to share. In the coming years, a college degree will remain an entry point to most professional jobs. That being said, I would highly recommend that you learn a trade/skill that can be put to use in a low or no-tech future.

    In my case, I already knit and sew. As stated above, I plan to add spinning and weaving (i.e. clothing will always be needed)

  27. Nina,

    You said, “Ok full disclosure let me tell the truth I just remembered that I did ship fantastic Italian leather “fit to my calf” boots and some other classic fashions…”

    Well, I consider something like that to be an essential item! :-)
    ________________________________________________

    VanessaF.,

    You’re welcome, and THANK YOU for sharing the links to the 2 sites you mentioned. I just checked out the Far Beyond The Stars blog, and he’s got some great info about creating passive income and a location-independent lifestyle!

    Ladies and gentlemen in the silent audience: There’s a LOT of free—yes, freeeee—valuable information that people are putting out as either pure freebies or as “freemium” content. If you’re serious, you will eventually have to spend money to access certain types of detailed, advanced information. But in the meantime, if you’re at the starting point of wanting to make money with writing/blogging/information products, there’s a lot of good, free materials out there.
    _________________________________________________

    Karen,

    I 100% co-sign the wise advice you’re giving.

    Expect Success!

  28. Sharifa says:

    Here’s my (short, lol) progress report.
    -In my effort to be debt-free (except student loans), I’ve set up payment plans to pay down debt. It hurts (lol), but I feel better about it. The financial and emotional drain of debt is terrible.

    Thanks for the motivational butt-kick, Khadija!

  29. Sharifa,

    You’re welcome! I’m going to linger on this post for a while. Most of the audience has been mighty quiet in response to the question at the end of the post. {side eye}

    That tells me that this post was needed. {smile}

    You said, “-In my effort to be debt-free (except student loans), I’ve set up payment plans to pay down debt. It hurts (lol), but I feel better about it. The financial and emotional drain of debt is terrible.”

    Good for you! It’s a VERY good thing to reduce one’s debt as much as possible. Carry on the good work!

    Expect Success!

  30. VanessaF.,

    I ran across a very interesting blog post about Brazil being a rising economic power that you might be interested in over at the Sovereign Man blog. It’s titled “The next richest man in the world is Brazilian”.

    Hmmm…I’ve read that Portuguese isn’t so hard to learn if you already know Spanish…

    Expect Success!

  31. CW says:

    It’s a shame to have become very scatter-brained when once upon a time I was VERY focused…Suppose if I actually list my goals, there will be a sense of obligation…And reduce procrastination….

    1. Start on my school assignments (Working on Theology Degree)

    2. Read more of the Bible (Sort of goes hand in hand with #1)

    3. FINISH learning the foreign languages that I began studying oh-so-long ago -Spanish, French & Italian…Right now I only know enough to get myself into trouble ;) !

    4. Recover from the bad housing market and improve finances…Collect more precious metals i.e., gold & silver

    5. *****IMPORTANT FOR ALL***** This world has gone crazy…I am sure many of you have read Khadija’s posts i.e., “When Darkness Falls…” etc…Begin storing up non-perishables and other survival equipment…If anyone is interested in links just write…You do not want to be caught out there…And one finger pointed at you guys…The remainder at myself, because I need to obtain more…Also begin doing your homework on survival/wilderness skills as well…

    6. Do the Lord’s work on a regular basis: Soup kitchen, volunteering to help the sick/infirm & other worthwhile organizations…(Note: This doesn’t include bailing out a lazy family member or acquaintance…Time is too short for wasting resources).

    7. Obtain Passport…I am feeling the burn of shame right now…I have earned my place inside the pit of ridicule…But am determined to follow thru soon!

    All I can think of right now at this hour…I am so proud of you ladies!

    • Karen says:

      Also begin doing your homework on survival/wilderness skills as well…

      I would like to add here that it is important to build your network,literally a group of people that share similar ideas/viewpoints.

      Those survival/wilderness skills are important BUT if you are “alone against the world”, you become a target and can quickly be outnumbered or overwhelmed.

      The communities that existed before surburban sprawl must be recreated. These smaller groups knew each other and more importantly looked out for each other.

      We live in a small town. We have made it our business to get to know our neighbors, and the community leaders/businessmen. People are more likely to care about someone that they know and deal with regularly.

      I also highly recommend the book “The Long Descent” by Mr. Greer. He takes the pragmatic approach to the post-industrial world and his recommendations can be applied to anyone’s situation now.

      Becoming self-reliant, learning sustainability and becoming interconnected in a “local” way will be the key survival tools for all of us. The days of getting goods and services from far away places will be coming to a close in the coming decades.

      As always, take what is useful and toss the rest.

      As the video from “The Automatic Earth” states (paraphrasing), I would rather be a few years too early than 5 minutes too late.

  32. CW,

    You’re being modest. I would count your marriage and subsequent cross-country move as completed missions. :-)

    Expect Success!

  33. Karen,

    You said, “I would like to add here that it is important to build your network,literally a group of people that share similar ideas/viewpoints.

    Those survival/wilderness skills are important BUT if you are “alone against the world”, you become a target and can quickly be outnumbered or overwhelmed.

    The communities that existed before surburban sprawl must be recreated. These smaller groups knew each other and more importantly looked out for each other.

    THANK YOU for sharing this vital message! The harsh reality is that most AA women have positioned themselves to be living in the WRONG places (already violent and dangerous all-Black residential neighborhoods) surrounded by the WRONG people (non-reciprocating and often non-functional).

    During the next post, we’re going to talk in-depth about networks and positioning.

    AA women are already in networks, but for the most part these are dysfunctional, accidentally-chosen networks. And 99.99% of AA women are NOT doing anything to remedy this bad positioning. Most of them have their heads in the sand (the zombies); OR they’re obsessively venting about AA men and doing nothing else (the “Jill Scots”). Meanwhile, in all the ways that really matter, they’re NOT making any progress. Talk is a cheap substitute for action. This behavior pattern does NOT bode well for their futures.

    On that point, folks should check out Halima’s latest post, How Can Black Women Escape the Walls That Are ‘Closing In’?

    The walls are closing in for AA women and other similarly situated BW (such as Caribbean-origin BW in the UK). In terms of AA women, permanent “untouchable” and underclass status is becoming increasingly entrenched.

    One of many important things my Dad taught me is that if you’re not moving forward, then you’re falling behind! In the real world, there’s no such thing as “treading water.” That’s why the fact that so many of you don’t have anything to say in response to the question at the end of this post is an EMERGENCY in terms of your future!

    Let me repeat part of some comments I recently made over at Halima’s house:

    . . . This SAME dynamic applies to those BW who are foolish enough to go to Internet Ike Turner sites to debate with the lunatics who hang out there. My blog readers sometimes send me links to certain crazy conversations.

    Those of y’all who persist in visiting those sites to debate with the Ikes and Ikettes are just as caught up as Jill Scott! Because you’re STILL paying undue attention to worthless Negro males (and their braindead BF guard dogs). You’re obsessed just like Jill Scott is obsessed with BM. You’re NOT winning any battles for BW and girls by going to such places to argue with lunatics. All you’re doing is giving flattery to those nuts by caring enough about what they think to talk to them.

    The other angle is that the time you waste with the nuts is time you haven’t spent doing something that will actually move you forward in life. And I’m sure that some of y’all who do this are stil living in unsafe neighborhods, and still totally dependent on the salary from ONE unstable job. Think about it…

    This is why I get irritated with folks trying to deposit the latest BM Horror Story news clipping or video in their comments here. Some of y’all collect these BM Horror Stories as if they were pearls that you’re stringing together in a necklace. How do you have time to waste with sifting through and then collecting that kind of mess?! That type of wasted focus and destructive self-positioning is why some of you don’t have anything to report after 6 months of reading this blog (and in some cases after having read the previous blog for over a year).

    Whatever you focus on tends to expand in your life.

    Expect Success!

  34. Vanessa F. says:

    Khadija,

    Thanks for the link! I’ve been by the Sovereign Man website once before but did not see this article.

    My Spanish is okay and I need to practice more but perhaps this bit of knowledge will help with the Portuguese lessons. Like CW, I know enough to get myself in trouble which is what exactly happened when I visited Venezuela a few years back. An older woman became angry with me (and I mean loud and angry) because I could not direct her to the nearest bank. She did not believe me no matter how many times I told her I was not from Caracas! LOL!

  35. ak says:

    Prior Missions

    - moved back to London, England

    - realised that my move was a mistake and planning to move back to NYC

    Key Activities Currently In Progress

    - having my feet firmly on the path to receiving an Accounting degree

    Next Major Milestones

    - must find a sideline or second job! Only I’m not really ‘talented’ anymore! And when am I going to fit in a second set of classes? The only thing I can think of at the moment is to do as a regular poster here is already doing and that is become a dogwalker or maybe a petsitter. Possibly bartending? oy! It’s a shame as I’m a gal who loves her sleep!

    - Therapy, therapy, therapy! In Britain, you can get therapy through the NHS but this is taking too long I have to ask my medical doctor what the hold up is or see someone privately. I have ‘broken areas’ in my personality and some damaged areas and I need to change that pronto! It’s the only way I can really move forward.

  36. rainebeaux says:

    I would’ve been here sooner, but reading everyone else’s comments made me feel like I haven’t done enough.*
    ___

    Missions completed

    ~Moved out of the hood
    ~banned the sperm donor from my physical space (establishing/maintaining emotional distance is still in progress. Mostly anger, but still. **exasperated SIGH**)

    *****
    these are the basics I have to pull off quickly [within three years, preferably sooner], since I’m so far behind.

    Ongoing/self

    ~two words: EMOTIONAL DISCIPLINE. without it, my goals mean nothing and I have FAILED.

    ~Also, more patience. *And lose the comparisons of self to others.

    {One year, 18 months tops. Otherwise, the sooner the better.}

    Ongoing/general (in order of immediacy)

    1. Leave this current job–lunanoire, mine is “hood” as well; add “no chance for advancement” and “rich source of hyperstress/hypostress” to taste–and industry, never to return.

    **I know just getting another job is woefully short-sighted, but I need two to accomplish the rest of this (abbreviated) list.**

    1a. Figure out the 15 (more or less) streams of income QUICKLY and use them.

    2. Research field(s)/colleges for degree I want/need. Attend, earn degree accordingly.

    3. Save up every other dime for passport, investments, travel and general purposes.

    4. Learn to sew, knit and braid hair.

    • Karen says:

      Rainbeaux,

      As Khadija stated, we all started from somewhere and we all have things we are dealing with. Speaking for myself, none of my completed missions happened overnight. Often it was slow and there were starts and stops but I kept moving forward.

      In my opinion, you are FAR AHEAD of the masses who still are drinking the kool-aid. *BIG SMILE*

  37. VanessaF.,

    You’re welcome!
    _________________________________________________

    AK,

    It sounds like you’re on your way—carry on!

    You said, “- must find a sideline or second job! Only I’m not really ‘talented’ anymore! And when am I going to fit in a second set of classes? The only thing I can think of at the moment is to do as a regular poster here is already doing and that is become a dogwalker or maybe a petsitter. Possibly bartending? oy! It’s a shame as I’m a gal who loves her sleep!”

    I doubt it’s accurate to say that you’re not “talented” anymore. Perish the thought! :-)

    I’ll mention these general observations about sidelines. Everyone’s individual circumstances and needs vary:

    (1) The QUICKEST path to extra cash is usually by offering a service that you already know how to do. So, don’t discount dogwalking or petsitting. In the case of teachers, they shouldn’t discount offering tutoring services. For other folks, it could be computer repair or tune-ups. It’s not difficult to put up notices offering whatever service in college message boards, grocery stores, etc.

    (2) Between offering a service that I already know how to do and getting a second job, I would probably pick offering the service. Because I would have more control over that situation.

    (3) For those people who don’t have any savings, or are being crushed by credit card debt (or God forbid—both), I believe their FIRST priority should be to get some more cash coming in as soon as possible. I consider these situations to be “hair on fire” situations. Something needs to be done about that right away, whether it’s by offering a service or getting a 2nd job. Folks who are in either of those 2 spots need to get some extra cash coming in ASAP in order to rectify that situation.

    (4) Be that as it may, I don’t recommend working a 2nd job indefinitely. That’s not sustainable for most people. I’ve seen how doing that wears people down without ever providing them a measure of control over their work. I believe the 2nd job should be worked just long enough to make sure one’s hair is no longer on fire. Once a person has put out the “fire,” the next step is to create an income source that can be grown, and can also be done over the long term.

    (5) In the long run, I believe it’s best to create an extra income stream that does NOT trade your time for money. This means finding ways of generating passive income. Trading time for money (which is the nature of most jobs and professions) limits your earning potential. To give examples from the professions, there are only so many “billable hours” in each day that lawyers can charge for. There are only so many medical/dental procedures per day that a doctor/dentist can perform.

    Developing a passive income stream usually has a HUGE research and setup time involved in it. For most such things, there’s no sensible way to just jump out and immediately start. It’s not good for a person to just run out and buy the first rental property they see. Creating a product (such as an information product) takes time. Not everybody wants to do all the prep work involved in developing passive income. For those who aren’t willing to be bothered with all of that, it’s perfectly fine for them to build their longterm sideline around offering a service. Again, each person’s mileage may vary.
    _________________________________________________

    Rainebeaux,

    You said, “I would’ve been here sooner, but reading everyone else’s comments made me feel like I haven’t done enough.*

    …~Also, more patience. *And lose the comparisons of self to others.”

    I’m happy you said the 2nd statement yourself. There’s no way to compare one person’s journey to another’s. People get on the road at different places, and they bring different personal histories to their journeys. Everybody has their own individualized “entrance ramp.”

    Also, the purpose of this post wasn’t only about accountability. It’s also about recognition AND celebration of the steps that people are taking. AND about offering encouragement to continue on the path to abundant life. I know that many of us are surrounded by relatives and others who don’t understand and don’t support our efforts to create abundant lives.

    You’re on your way—carry on! [I'm especially delighted to hear that you evacuated yourself and your child OUT of the hood! If I've correctly remembered the name of your old neighborhood---I'm not going to call its name here---it's well-known to be a dangerous one. For real. Praise God that you got out!]

    Expect Success!

  38. Magenta says:

    I really appreciate these accountability checks. I am unbelievably scatterbrained and have the hardest time seeing things through, so I need someone to “crack the whip,” LOL.

    Completed:
    Paying cash for EVERYTHING. I refuse to get back in debt and I am only purchasing items that I have the cash for up front. I have saved so much money and the freedom from debt opens up so many things (where you can live, work, etc.) I will never be a slave to debt again.

    Works in progress:
    Continue to be frugal and save as much money as possible. It is amazing how when you go a couple weeks months w/o certain things, you realize that you don’t really need them after all.

    I have applied to rent one of the public gardening plots that the county provides. I want to be able to grow my own fruits and veggies. Who knows what may happen with the food supply.

    Perfecting my French. I have really been BSing with this for the past 15 years and I refuse to let another year go by without my being fluent! I have joined the local conversation club and I am making good progress. Immersion is key! You MUST get out there and practice, regardless of how confident you feel.

    Working on my appearance. I have really slacked off on this, but if I am serious about finding a quality mate, I have to step my game up, LOL. I am taking vitamins and exercising, my next goal is to take better care of my hair and develop a signature look. I have always been obsessed with vintage clothing and have always wanted to emulate that kind of feminine, retro look but laziness kicks in and I reach for the jeans and tshirt (sigh). I am trying to break out of that, and the times I actually do go all out, my mood completely changes!

    I have also been working on query letters and sending some ideas I have to paying markets. If I can get my freelance writing off the ground, hopefully it will move me one step closer to having a location independent lifestyle.

  39. Miss V says:

    Like Rainbeaux, I didn’t report either, since I felt like I hadn’t done enough. I’m having a dilemma right now. Okay, here goes: my son and I live with my 68 year-old mother here in Memphis. She’s becoming more forgetful (the cluttered house may very well have something to do with it).

    I’ve been here 12 years because I had my son, and don’t make much money (about $22K annually) and haven’t had much luck finding another job. I work at the local university, which is currently paying my tuition. I also didn’t move out, because I wasn’t certain that we’d make it.

    I just found a house, but it’ll need some work. It’s in a black neighborhood, but it’s quiet, and I’ve checked the local police crime mapper and I didn’t see any burglaries, so I figured that it was ok….but this IS Memphis.

    I have a sister who lives a couple of hours away, and she said that she’d take our mom for 6 months, and send her back home for 6 months, but I’m not so sure about that, since she had her for a month over the holidays, and complained some, and her daughter just went off to college, so I know she’s happy to have her life back.

    I also figured that in a couple of years, I could either sell the house or rent it out, and possibly obtain other rentals. Like you said, Khadijah somebody will always need someplace to live.

    Now, due to my mom’s situation, everybody’s saying that I don’t need to move, but my son and I need our own space (he’s 12 now). I’ll finally be graduating in a year.

    I’m not sure what to do. I’m 42, and I’m just tired of being stuck. I’m open to advice/pointers/prayers.

  40. Magenta,

    You said, “Completed:
    Paying cash for EVERYTHING. I refuse to get back in debt and I am only purchasing items that I have the cash for up front. I have saved so much money and the freedom from debt opens up so many things (where you can live, work, etc.) I will never be a slave to debt again.”

    YES!!! {deep martial arts bow}

    You said, “I have applied to rent one of the public gardening plots that the county provides. I want to be able to grow my own fruits and veggies. Who knows what may happen with the food supply.”

    Great idea! I’ve been wondering if there’s something similar available where I am.

    You said, “Perfecting my French. I have really been BSing with this for the past 15 years and I refuse to let another year go by without my being fluent! I have joined the local conversation club and I am making good progress.”

    Great!

    Let me stress something that I’ve talked about at length at the previous blog. I’ve watched how Latinos in the US use bilingual demands as a way of creating employment MONOPOLIES for themselves to the exclusion of all non-Latinos. Even those non-Latinos who have learned Spanish. I’ve heard reports from AAs in Miami that the Cubans there have taken over to the point that the job listings demand “NATIVE Spanish speakers” only!

    So, when I encourage the study of foreign languages, I’m NOT peddling the snake oil/deception that learning Spanish will help with one’s employment prospects in the US. It won’t. Because these bilingual demands are not about communication—they’re about creating employment monopolies for our Latino “allies.” Period.

    HOWEVER, foreign language proficiency does create various lifestyle opportunities in Europe. Somehow, AA women haven’t taken note of the example set by those AA men who left the US and have built lives for themselves in Western Europe. There’s been a steady, mostly unremarked upon stream of AA men doing this since the US military first put those permanent army bases in the former West Germany.

    But somehow, it never occured to AA women that we ALSO have the same options! For one example, one of my cousins relocated to Europe and she’s built a good life for herself there with her (European) husband.

    In order to have long-term, true freedom of movement, you have to have certain things in place. Such as a passport. Which is why I’ve been encouraging y’all to get passports. Another good thing to have in place is foreign language proficiency. These 2 things give you options that you didn’t have before.

    Yes, English is THE money language around the world. But you won’t be able to have the option of building a life in other places when the only language you know is English. Now, folks can get away with English-only when they live in foreign countries under the auspices of the US Army, but I don’t recommend that. I want more of us to travel and live abroad as free agents.

    I also want to see more AA women reach out and grab ALL that’s available for them!

    Expect Success!

  41. Miss V,

    Don’t be discouraged And don’t feel like you’re alone in facing challenges. You’re NOT. All that glitters is not gold. And quite frankly, everybody I know well enough to have a sense of what’s going on is dealing with something. There’s always something. It’s just that some challenges aren’t easily visible from the outside.

    Let me start with what seems clear to me, and then move on to more speculative matters.

    You need some more money coming in. What you described of your salary does not give you any real breathing room. I would suggest that you start by figuring out what services you could offer on the side. I would strongly suggest that you get a copy of Loral Langemeier’s book, Put More Cash In Your Pocket: Turn What You Know Into Dough. In my view, the reader has to pick the nuggets out of that particular book. But it IS good at giving case studies that go through some of the practical questions one should ask oneself when figuring out what service to offer.

    I have concerns about the idea of you acquiring rental property under the current circumstances. I don’t recommend it under the circumstances you’ve described. In order to keep a property up, you have to have some reserves saved to deal with the (sometimes very expensive) things that periodically come up.

    Things such as the furnace(s) in your property having reached the end of their service life, and needing to be replaced. For example, there are 2 separate furnaces in my building (one for each unit) that came to the end of their service life a few years back. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember exactly how much that cost, but it was at least a couple of thousand dollars.

    If you do decide to get a rental property, I would strongly urge you to only get one that you can afford to pay the mortgage for even if it has NO tenants. That way, you aren’t extra vulnerable. Also, if you rent to AAs, it’s essential to have a non-Black “front” person who can pretend to be the building’s owner. AA tenants do strange and negative things with Black landlords that they’re less prone to do with non-Blacks.

    Now onto the more speculative matters.

    There’s forgetful. And there’s forgetful-needs-a-private-nurse-and/or-nursing-home-and/or-a-city-Department of Aging-nurse-to-visit-and-check-on-them-several-times-a-week. After having watched several people I know try to care for their no-longer functional elderly parents at home, I DON’T recommend that for anybody. It’s much too much for most people; especially somebody who’s working a full-time job. And especially for somebody who’s carrying that burden all by themselves.

    I wouldn’t attempt that home-care stuff with my own parents. It’s too much. I thank God that on their own volition, they’ve decided that they’re going to a retirement home when they can’t manage themselves.

    The part that the Lifetime Channel movies never show; and the part that most caretaker-children never talk about is how ANGRY these elderly, confused, and sickly parents can be! Especially if they have Alzheimer’s. And often, they take it out on the adult child-caretaker. Who’s the only one around for them to vent on.

    The same way other disabled people are often (understandably) enraged about their circumstances, a lot of these elderly parents are ENRAGED. And they pick on the adult caretaker-child who sticks around to be in the path of their anger. I saw one of my friends go through that with her father. It was much, too much. The stress of him playing defiant-child type games about getting dressed to go to his early morning medical appointments. Meanwhile, her running behind her father to get him ready for his appointments was making her late for work every morning.

    I’m not blaming the man—that was the nature of his ailment. He was disoriented, afraid, and angry. But the problem is that folks who have to get up and go to work each morning don’t have time to go through that drama. Now, she’s blessed that she’s a lawyer with some degree of control over her schedule at her firm. But most people can’t do that at most jobs. They’ll get fired coming in 45 minutes-1 hour late every other day for months.

    So, I’m saying all of this to say:

    Miss V, if it was me and my brother and our parents, I wouldn’t let my brother maneuver me into the spot where I’m the only sibling who’s responsible for our parents. Which is the vibe that’s coming off from what you described of your sister’s actions. If you make it easy for your sister to dump your mother off on you ahead of schedule (before her 6 month turn is over), that’s what she’ll most likely do. AND, if she gets by with that, she’ll probably never take your mother back in.

    As my older relatives always said, start things the way you want to finish them. Don’t let a bad precedent get started where all your other siblings are looking at YOU like you’re the only one responsible for your mother.

    I’ve watched that particular game happen many, many times. My more than 2 cents: If your sister (and other siblings if you have them) aren’t willing to shoulder equal portions of the burden from Jump Street, then I feel y’all need to look for an in-house nurse (maybe somebody from the city’s Department of Aging), retirement home, or something along those lines.

    Expect Success!

  42. Nina says:

    Ooh I’m happy to see that the conversation is still going strong! You women are so wonderfully on the move and I admit that I am inspired by everyone’s sharing!

    What you’ve noted Khadija, about going international, is one of my top 3 missions at the moment. I ultimately wish to settle in Western Europe, marry, and build a life there. And as I can’t keep still it makes a lovely base for worldwide travels! I have experience navigating some of Asia, as far as living and working, but have only visited several countries in Europe, not lived. I do have European friends who offer help, but I have sooo much work to do to overcome the legal hurdles of working there as a non-EU citizen (non-EU until I marry of course).

    Seems many of us are working on the same missions—language acquisition, wealth building, health improvements, writing… Karen made the great point about building smaller networks. If anyone wants to join email forces to work on similar missions I’d love it; maybe compare notes or a “my expertise for your expertise” trade-off? Is this okay to suggest Khadija?

    If so, my areas are natural living, natural beauty and wellness, whole foods (researching and writing on all at the moment and have “lived the life” for much of my life.) I can also help with information regarding teaching abroad (in Asia), minimalism, bargain shopping (food, thrift and vintage clothing), independent global travel, commuter biking, and candlestick making (Ok candlestick making was a joke, but a necessary skill/art in these times!!!) And you all have so much to share. If this was NOT okay to suggest Khadija, I stand corrected. :(

    Oh, and I recommend Westonaprice.org as a great resource on traditional diets, whole foods, and natural health.

  43. CW says:

    @Khadija

    “…..CW,

    You’re being modest. I would count your marriage and subsequent cross-country move as completed missions. :-)

    See scatterbrained, I tell ya! How could I forget that?

    @Karen

    I would like to add here that it is important to build your network,literally a group of people that share similar ideas/viewpoints.

    Those survival/wilderness skills are important BUT if you are “alone against the world”, you become a target and can quickly be outnumbered or overwhelmed…..

    I would be remiss in not reminding everyone that “Silence is GOLDEN, but DUCT TAPE IS SILVER”….Keep your lips sealed about what you are doing and what you have…This includes family! Even if they are under your protection, loose lips sink ships…The less folk who know our plans, the better…Now take Oakland for example: (Khadija, I am not trying to run this monster too far in the ditch, bear with me!) The city has made it clear that police presence/protection will be cut http://www.infowars.com/cops-may-no-longer-respond-to-crime-in-oakland-california/ …As a result, businesses and other services will high-tail it out of there…So then we will have roving mobs of lawlessness…If they know you got the goods, it’s a wrap! Yes…PLEASE do everything in your power to move if living in an environment such as this…But this phenomenon will sadly not be exclusive to Oakland…So be prepared!

    @Rainebeaux

    I am sooo proud…But you will be seeing me again soon ;)

  44. Nina,

    You said, “Seems many of us are working on the same missions—language acquisition, wealth building, health improvements, writing… Karen made the great point about building smaller networks. If anyone wants to join email forces to work on similar missions I’d love it; maybe compare notes or a “my expertise for your expertise” trade-off? Is this okay to suggest Khadija?”

    It’s okay to suggest, it’s just that I DON’T want to be responsible for it. Or for making it happen. LOL! Keep in mind that the Internet Ike Turners and Ikettes avidly and obsessively read this blog. And these haters/nuts would love to have a way to get at y’all in order to harass/stalk you. So here’s what I suggest for those regular commenters who are interested in this:

    (1) One or more of you might consider starting an invitation-only blog. Since leaving comments here requires folks to state an email address, I can look back at my WordPress log to check the email addresses given by regular commenters. This is a way for me to screen out everybody who’s NOT a regular commenter.

    [Sorry, but if you're not a regular commenter or already known to me by being another BW blogger, then you haven't built up a track record for any level of trust. And I will assume that you're a troll who's trying to infiltrate.]

    (2) Any regular commenter who chooses to do Step #1 can contact me.

    (3) Any regular commenter who’s interested in joining if a private blog is created can contact me.

    (4) I’ll forward the inquiry emails of interested regular commenters to the regular commenter who sets up the invitation-only blog.

    (5) At that point, y’all can talk among yourselves and figure out what you want to do.

    If regular commenters email me here to express interest, but nobody sets up the private blog, then I’ll reply to everybody individually by email to let them know that.
    _________________________________________________

    CW,

    You said, “”….Keep your lips sealed about what you are doing and what you have…This includes family! Even if they are under your protection, loose lips sink ships…The less folk who know our plans, the better…”

    I 100% co-sign! And you’re absolutely correct—the wave of the immediate future is various city budgets and services (including law enforcement and the fire department) being slashed. The bottom line is that the federal and municipal governments are going to assume less and less responsibility for citizens.

    CW, don’t worry about linking to the (relevant) news story. That’s totally different from certain inviduals making the rounds of various BW’s blogs to dump links to the latest BM Horror Story news story or video; even when this information is totally irrelevant to the conversation.

    Expect Success!

  45. @Miss V: I have a lot of “low-tech” quick money making streams. Here’s just a few:

    1. Baked Goods. If you can bake, whether cookies or cakes or whathaveyou, you’ll be amazed at what folk will pay for homemade baked goods. (NOT black people, you need to hook up with white folks.) You work at a university, even if you have to sell cookies to students during your lunchbreak you can make a lot of money. Also I know Memphis, one thing that town has is lots of restaurants. If you can get established some of them might be willing to buy baked goods from you.

    This is especially popular around the holidays. People want good food for guests but don’t have time to bake.

    2. Homemade Items. (Again, NOT black folk), people will pay major money for homemade things. I’ve sold quilts for as much as $2k, but small items are even better because you can make a lot of them quickly and have a quick turnaround. Baby quilts and doll quilts are HUGE. I can make a baby quilt in a few days and they average a hundred dollars at the flea market. I charge more for custom jobs. One thing I’ve found that is crazy popular is girl’s hairbows. Especially for cheerleaders. Find out the colors of your local schools and make up some bows. Again, you can probably sell them on your campus or even at local flea markets. At flea markets you’ll probably have to rent a booth, but usually it’s not crazy expensive. I’ve sold crochet items at flea markets and done very well.

    3. Cleaning and other services folks don’t have time to do. Your son is old enough to help you with this one. I used to help my mom clean houses and it pays a heckuva lot more than it did when I was a kid. Got a specialty? Do your windows sparkle like a dream? People will pay for that. Get on line there are sites for what is called a concierge. People will pay you to do everything from picking up their dry cleaning to waiting in their house for the cable man.

    4. Home repair. Again lots of time people have small jobs that most contractors can’t be bothered with. If you have any skills in things such as painting, patching dry wall, etc… then you’re sitting on a goldmine. Frankly they’re not that hard to do, and pay off big.

    Obviously these aren’t things you want to do permanently, but they can generate some cash to allow you some breathing room.

    As for your mother, if she’s eligible for Medicare she can get a home health nurse to come to her house regularly. I don’t recommend buying a house when you’re making so little money, even in Memphis where housing is cheap you could end up in a world of trouble. Focus on building a nest egg. Your son will be of college age very soon, and that will be another economic drain. You need to be making money as hard as and as fast as you can.

  46. I forgot about alterations. If you can sew people will pay crazy money for alterations. For instance I charged $20 to replace a zipper. Most folk will pay that without batting an eye. I also discovered that they’ll pay more if you pick up at their house or from their work. And remember if you do baking factor in the retail price of the ingredients. For instance I would buy my ingredients at Costco, which meant I got closer to the wholesale price. But in my calculations I based that on the retail price. That way you don’t cheat yourself. And don’t worry about overcharging. Trust me, they’ll pay it.

    These are things I came up with when I was first at home with my small son. I had to have things that I could do at home, that didn’t take up too much room. When my son was a baby I could bake during the day because babies sleep so much. Same thing with alterations. Fortunately for you your son is at an age where he can actually help you.

  47. Roslyn,

    Thanks for providing those excellent suggestions for Miss V; I 100% co-sign! Especially the part where you said, “I don’t recommend buying a house when you’re making so little money, even in Memphis where housing is cheap you could end up in a world of trouble. Focus on building a nest egg.”

    Expect Success!

  48. missions completed:
    – brought up GPA
    – found a great advisor who supports my dreams
    – started thinking seriously about my future

    Activities in progress:
    – getting more hands-on experience with sustainable agriculture
    – saving, saving, saving
    – study Chemistry so I can ace it the second time around

    Future Goals:
    – graduate with 3.5 GPA
    – graduate with honors in my major from doing meaningful research
    – get alternative source of income
    – become a paramedic my senior year of college
    – find a way to connect on a deeper level with people even if we have key disagreements (I’m actually not sure whether this should be a goal or not)
    – pay off my (thankfully) very minimal student loan debt
    – figure out exactly what I want to do after I graduate in 2 years
    *finish off the last of prequisites and get clinical experience so I can go directly into Physician’s Assistant or nursing school (will require going to debt, which I’d rather avoid)
    or
    * find awesome job where I can save up for a few years and be able to attend Physician’s assistant or nursing school without going into debt
    or
    * get into an awesome graduate school in my major

  49. Nina says:

    Khadija,

    Looks like that makes extra work for you. Not my intention. I will list a few points here as Roslyn V. Holcomb has done so well, and save you all that work, unless there’s an overwhelming interest from women already participating in this conversation. :)

    1. Food shopping: I am now advertising myself as an expert whole foods shopper. So many people are trying to do better but they’re mind-boggled by the sheer abundance of foods in the markets. I aim to make it easier and guide in whole foods selection, and navigating the mess of packaged foods and junk foods in disguise. (I am my best advertisement because I maintain a very healthy weight, I am very fit, and possess a happy and healthy glow, and I love food shopping. You may offer make-up shopping, clothes shopping/fashion styling, home decor shopping…Whatever service you choose to offer, look your part, and aim to look it effortlessly. People will pay to “be like you” granted they like what they see.)

    2. Selling clothes: We all have possibly a few nice things in our closets that we don’t wear. I sell mine to consignment shops. If I really need to replace the sold items then I will accept the store credit. If not I take the cash. Of course the cash option pays less. But selling keeps me within my minimalist principles as well, as I don’t have a ton of clothing around and unused. I also sometimes see items at thrift shops that are great quality and great bargains but they don’t fit me. I will purchase them and resell them at a consignment shop. In selling clothes it is important to have the eye for what sells of course, to know your market, to follow seasonal buying trends (don’t try to sell a wool coat in June), and to keep labels intact. (You might sell any number of things, like books or jewelry. It really amazes me what valuable unwanted and unused stuff people have lying around.)

    3. Meal planning: I offer holistic nutrition planning. I make it simple, taking the confusion out of “what to eat”, and make it more fun and less stringent! I don’t offer diets, but lifestyles. Thus far I have bartered this service to an associate who is trying to improve his health. In exchange I received an airline pass. Yeah, a free trip!!! The trade-off was huge for me yes, but what I’ve offered to him can last a lifetime. (Maybe you can offer vacation planning, party planning…?)

    These are just 3 little suggestions. I am still learning to NOT take for granted the gifts that I have, and to see them as worth getting paid for. I’m sure that many of us have at least one amazing thing that we can do with our eyes closed (and I note this because time is of the essence for most of us)! Thats your money-maker, especially while on the road to passive income building.

  50. RevolutionaryAndJoyful,

    It sounds like you have things well in hand at school. Keep up the good work!
    _________________________________________________

    Nina,

    You said, “Looks like that makes extra work for you. Not my intention.”

    THANK YOU! I truly appreciate you considering the impact on me. So often, what most AAs do is come up with new and additional assignments for the people who are already doing a multiplicity of things. This would come up at the previous blog when well-intentioned readers would talk about how I “should” do a radio talk show/blogcast, yadda, yadda, yadda. Without factoring in that I’m already quite busy. Our historical pattern is that AAs use up our activists.

    You said, “…Whatever service you choose to offer, look your part, and aim to look it effortlessly. People will pay to “be like you” granted they like what they see.)”

    This is a critical point that far too many AAs are confused about. This point (“looking and sounding the part”) is extremely important in terms of effective networking, social climbing (for those who are so inclined), and business opportunities. Most AAs are:

    (1) confused about exactly what this means for various settings. Many AAs don’t understand that running around wearing or driving the most obviously expensive things often marks them as being POOR, or as having grown up poor. [There's the very ugly expression that describes this type of "wealth"---"n-word rich."]

    When I was in high school, we could immediately tell which AA kids were from the projects because of how they dressed. Either they were blinged out in whatever current ghetto fashions (“Gucci” t-shirts, slum-looking jewelry, etc.).

    OR they were over-dressed for that environment (for example, wearing suits and ties everyday to a public high school). Even when they wore the Black middle-class teenage “uniform” of that era (polo shirts, jeans and penny loafers), the (AA) project kids never looked comfortable in that uniform. We could also immediately tell which White kids came from serious money—usually the ones who were dressed in the most grungy-looking t-shirts and jeans. They could afford to NOT care about being seen while wearing some ratty jeans.

    Many AAs also (2) foolishly try to rebel against this permanent feature of human nature—which is checking for visual and behavioral cues to see if somebody “belongs.” The idiotic rebellion (against common sense) comes in the form of AAs dressing like thugs and assorted other criminals, and then being offended when people treat them like thugs and criminals. Usually while whining that “I have the right to dress how I like; and people shouldn’t judge me by my clothes-thug outfit.” This is downright stupid.

    Anyhoo, we’ll get back to your point about effortlessly looking the part when we talk about networks in the next post.

    Expect Success!