Yep, the end of 2020. And many people are celebrating. There’s optimism that this will be the year of change – after all, 2020 was a shocker, right?
Don’t blame 2020
It’s really tempting to blame the year, but really how can you blame time? At any point in your life there are good times or bad times. Most years I read posts from people on New Year’s Eve where they say something like “it was a really hard year and I hope this next year was better”. In reality, life is full of ups and downs and it’s about our resilience dealing with it.
Don’t me wrong, I had my share of challenges including months of toxic smoke haze, bushfires threatening my inlaws home, the death of my Nana Irene (and not being able to say ‘goodbye’ as she died in Victoria during the lockdown and there was no funeral), months apart from hubby, homeschooling stressed-out kids, a fraught family gathering and the collapse of my post-work business model.
But I’m also tremendously proud of myself and what we have accomplished this year, including:
- paying off our mortgage (despite the uncertainty);
- launching a podcast;
- being on the front page of the Herald Sun/Daily Telegraph etc – more than once;
- being featured in the UK media;
- speaking at several events including Money Debates and the Canberra Zero Waste Festival;
- starting a money coaching business and being able to help people work through their money issues;
- starting my signature Six Weeks to Abundance course and seeing the phenomenal results achieved;
- giving away 1,000 items aka #joyfulgiving;
- launching The Joyful Business Club; and
- (more recently) developing a new digital platform for The Joyful Fashionista.
Don’t brag about money?
I’ll be honest; I’ve also been COVID affected financially. Hubby and I were in a stable financial place before I made the jump from quitting work in November 2019. I’m not 100% FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) – yet. But I’m close. We can live on hubby’s salary comfortably and what I bring in is cream on top.
After leaving work I decided that I really wanted to build my business. It’s been two steps forward and one step backwards. I’ve started some things I am really passionate about, but they are not yet harvesting abundance. It’s easy – so easy – to get mired into scarcity thinking and self-doubt. I’ve had my share of those problems this year, especially with some freelance gigs ending abruptly.
I believe strongly that the way out of tough financial times is abundance mindset. In economic terms, we talk about stimulus packages to encourage consumer spending (i.e. from scarcity mindset – not spending or hoarding – back to business confidence aka abundance mindset). Yes, many are doing it tough and it can be like salt in sore wounds to talk about successes. But we also need to talk about what is possible and to inspire and motivate.
We are living in a time of unprecedented disruption. The Zoom/working from home revolution didn’t start in 2020. I remember being on an innovation course back in 2016 where we worked on a ‘solution’ to the Future of Work problem (i.e. how to encourage greater flexibility in the Commonwealth public service). Our work was taken on by the Australian Public Service Commission and four years ago there was already some thinking about these issues. Accordingly, when the pandemic hit there were already some work units that could easily expand its working from home.
This is just one example. Not all industries can pivot. Some will die. It will be sad and even traumatic for some people who are saying goodbye to businesses that they loved almost as much as children. But new areas will flourish.
A few times last year I’ve posted things about ‘attracting money’ or shared about paying off the mortgage. Some people have indicated that I shouldn’t say these things; the subtext is that many people are hurting and it’s inappropriate to brag. I believe we need to share the lightness in the dark and we need to focus on the possible. Not all is joyful in my world all the time, but that won’t stop me from being proud of what I accomplish.
What’s ahead in 2021
I’m in the process of doing some strategic thinking for 2021. To be honest, I usually do this in early January but this year I was utterly exhausted at the beginning of the year and needed a bit of a break to recharge. I suspect many felt the same.
The big thing for me is pivoting back to focusing more on this community – that’s right, focusing more on you the reader. I admit I got a bit seduced by the bright lights of journalistic stardom. I enjoyed it immensely. But I also felt that one of the main publications I was writing for didn’t share my values on issues including (but not limited to) climate change, gender equality and also diversity in general. One of the great things about being (almost) financially independent is that it gives you power and choices to say no to work that isn’t aligned with values.
What is my focus in 2021 for The Joyful Frugalista?
- More fabulous guests on The Joyful Frugalista podcast, including from the FIRE community, the Joyful Frugalista community and manifestation experts. The ones I have recorded already are awesome and I have some fabulous new ones lined up.
- More recipes. Do you like to cook? Well, so do I and this year I will be going back to $5 Friday recipes. Do you have a glut of zucchinis or plums? I will have you covered.
- Fortnightly professionally produced newsletter. Make sure you sign up HERE. I just love how it is looking and I hope you do, too.
- Facebook Lives every Wednesday night. Tune in each Wednesday on The Joyful Frugalista Facebook Page. And drop me a comment or a line to tell me what you would like me to focus on. I’m listening.
- Building a YouTube presence. I’ll be doing more on YouTube this year – stay tuned for launch details.
- At least three training courses. I’m super excited about these small group sessions as it really enables frugalistas to connect with and support each other. No matter what stage you are at on your financial journey, it’s such a transformative group setting.
Speaking of which, the next course starts on 27 January! Find out more here.
What are you celebrating in the year that is past? Are you able to celebrate (i.e can you find something positive among the gloom?)