Young, Dumb and in Love

Young, Dumb, and in Love

Yesterday was the anniversary of our first date.

We met six years ago at match.com, but our relationship truly blossomed on a little relic called myspace.com (We were both too cheap to auto-renew match.com for one more month at the time!)

After several weeks of emails, Kristin and I decided to meet face to face for the first time. As many online couples do, we chose our first encounter at a Starbucks. I was excited and nervous that day, as was she.

We talked about life after school, the rush and worry of existence that only a young person in their mid-20s could, and cell phones.

(For the record, six years ago I had the Palm Centro and Kristin was in love with the Blackberry Curve 8330 with a pink case)

We’re pretty nerdy, I know.



I had such a great time that day, thinking I could talk to this woman forever and not be bored. She was so much like me, had similar struggles and success like me, and we just clicked from day one.

Our first picture together

Ever the hipster, Kristin had blogs and took selfies way before most of the world knew these were even things. She was as smart as could be about stuff before it hit the mainstream, and so I even learned what a hipster was from her!

Kristin's selfie circa 2008

From an outsider’s perspective of our relationship, it was such a different dynamic, most people did indeed think we were crazy back then, but that was ok with us.

I think we were talking about rings within 2 weeks of meeting each other, and the great Cincinnati Wind Power Outage of 2008 ensured we made haste when moving in together.

 

This past weekend, for our six year dating anniversary, I took us both on a trip back down memory lane by compiling the 1st 30 days of our Gmail chats and making a scrapbook of them all. (thanks Google for wanting to know our entire lives, sometimes it actually comes in handy!) We read it at Starbucks.

Kristin and the Scrapbook

Coffee and Gchats

I had a complete blast doing this, and something really struck me as I read all of the late night messages, giddy conversations and talk of the future with the two of us together.

One singular statement really read true in all of these love letters.

We were idiots.

It turns out we were both not great with money. Messages abound of “spotting” each other tens of dollars in between waves of the feast and famine that was payday.

My favorite text in particular talks about not having enough money for both a loaf of bread from Panera and gas, and how we were actually choosing between the two:

gas or food

Gas won out if I recall. We didn’t have money for a loaf of bread, people.

As is often the case when no one has told you otherwise, we had no clue that we were living our lives in chaos in our mid-twenties.

As the relationship grew, we started facing our money fears head-on. I started working with a budget and telling Kristin how bad I really was with handling money. It was difficult, sure, but it saved us. We realized that we wanted more from our lives and struggling like this was not going to get us there.

Slowly but surely we began to turn our lives around. Not just with money but in all habits. The uphill battling together only made us stronger.

We started treating ourselves and others better. My life began improving because I admitted there was a problem. I started living a life of integrity and a sense of purpose that had somehow evaded me for so many years.

If you feel that you’re stuck and your life is not getting any better, or if you just can’t seem to move the needle enough on a project, know that we all start somewhere. For us, it was making plans to not want for so much and appreciate what we have.

If you struggle, know that there is always something better beyond today. Know that you can make those miracles happen.

If Kristin and I had not kept moving forward in our efforts with money, we would still be where we were at all those years ago. I can honestly say now that we are far better people, much happier in life and live with a renewed sense of gratitude.

We can’t wait to see what the next six years bring.



What’s your Food Kryptonite?

Food Kryptonite

“I think we should get two jars this week, maybe..” I say to my wife, looking like a little kid with the sad, puppy dog eyes.

“It hasn’t even been a week, and you have a half-full one at home!!” she exclaims. “No way, It’s completely ridiculous!”

I can almost smell the anger in the air as she gives me the bull-horned face of rejection. I put the other jar back on the shelf and my mind darts to wondering how I’m going to survive the week, like a junkie with an empty needle.



This is the conversation that happens weekly in aisle 7 of our grocery store. Sometimes I’ll just quietly go to the aisle myself, pick out the container and place it in the cart so that she doesn’t have to deal with the conversation. Why should I ask anyway, she knows my habit.

Better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?

 

Is this some crazy sugar-filled treat I let myself have? An outlier in our otherwise healthy eating habits? Could it be some weird concoction that’s an expensive delicacy like caviar, therefore bankrupting our frugal living?

No, it’s organic peanut butter, and I’m completely and hopelessly addicted.

Yeah right, if only I limited myself to this much at a time.

What usually ends up happening, in reality, is somewhat unbelievable and horrific. I devour peanut butter to the point of excess. One week, I calculated that I could easily average 800 calories a day of peanut butter. That is too excessive, probably… but, I mean, it’s delicious, guys.

Soon after coming home from work, my wife knows that I’ll already be all over the stuff. She’s no stranger to the peanut butter-laden welcome home kiss. We could be on our way to dinner, and I’ll just have a little bit to taste. I’ve even had it for a whole meal while standing up in the kitchen.

What’s the big deal?

We’re not talking about an unhealthy thing here, really.

Organic Peanut Butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A source of good fat, little to no added sugar, and a fair amount of protein. Basically just peanuts and a little salt, right?

The problem lies in my complete dependance on the stuff. Even if it were the healthiest food known to mankind, I should still try to limit my intake of peanut butter just as anything else in life. By keeping a check on my food, I’m able to better balance out the rest of my life, otherwise I’d just be curled up in the corner of the room, rocking back and forth, with dried peanut butter crusted around my lips.

It has easily become my food kryptonite, and it can take down an entire day’s worth of workouts in a single bound.

Over the past few months, I’ve been really trying to stick to one spoonful of peanut butter a day. I’ve found it best to keep myself out of eating more by grabbing my spoonful and then quickly replacing the lid.

This method has really helped me, just by setting this simple control in place.

It’s important to recognize what may trip you up, and not reject it completely. Though I’m getting slowly better at limiting peanut butter in my daily plans, I still allow myself the treat and try to limit and monitor it.

Let yourself have that food that you want, whatever it may be. It feels rewarding. Just be able to recognize when you are powerless over it, and make a plan to include it in your success.

 

Have you recognized your food kryptonite? What is it, and how are you limiting it to achieve success?

Subscribe to our mailing list!

* indicates required

Email Format


50% Complete

50 Complete
I can’t believe the year is already halfway over.

It seems like just a few short months ago that I was making plans on what to do this year. Some goals I thought of were easy goals, and some were lofty stretch goals.

In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” A lot has happened in these last 6 months. This is my snapshot of where we are in our halfway mark with a few of 2014’s Goals.

Exercise

I had planned to run something longer than a marathon this year. “2013 Ethan” would have thought I would need to give myself plenty of time to train for an even longer run, so it had to be in September or October.

As I got closer to my annual Flying Pig marathon in May, though, it dawned on me that it would be much better to pick something sooner, so I signed up for Another Dam 50K in June, only 4 weeks after the Pig.

It turned out to be a great run and very helpful to set those runs close together so I didn’t lose training momentum. I feel like I can now tackle new, even scarier challenges with confidence. I’d even like to set a goal to hit Marathon Maniac status in the future!

Ethan's 1st Ultra

For the 2nd half of 2014, I’d like to keep my good running base by doing another marathon or half-marathon. I’d also like to work more on speed. Kristin and I are even looking at getting a GPS/ heart rate watch!

We’ve already been really successful this year with exercise, and we’d like to build upon that success base in the second half of the year.

Financial

We made great strides in our finances in 2014 as a couple. Kristin got a new job that has much better pay, and we have regained focus on our target to pay down the remaining student loan debt we owe, which is about $30,000.

We had given ourselves a short break from intense saving, and we now have new purpose with which to attack that goal. Paying off the student loans will help us to set up some amazing things in the near future as well. It’s our only debt besides the house!

It feels really great to have the freedom and security that financial success allows. The only money problems we seem to have are the good kind these days, and that is a real blessing.

Productivity

One of our biggest goals this year was to start this blog.

20140701-210340-75820166.jpg

 

For a new blogger like myself, It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I get excited, scared, frustrated & satisfied all at once.

Kristin has really helped me along in navigating these new paths, and it’s been really rewarding and surprising to see some of the things that have come out of this project.

In the future we hope to grow this hobby and allow it room to expand. It is not the center of our lives, but I feel like it is helping us to build a solid foundation on which to create our voice, for whatever we do going forward.

Personal Growth

If you had told me that I’d be journaling every day consistently 1 year ago, I would have told you “that’s a nice idea, but it will never happen”.

About 12 months ago, I started journaling as part of the Start Experiment, and it wasn’t until January this year that it became almost daily. I now have 2 journals, actually – a personal journal and a productivity journal.

I should have been doing this years ago. I had this notion in my mind that writing in a journal was embarrassing. That only 12 year old girls write in journals. I admit was wrong.

Journaling has brought some great clarity and focus into my days. It helps me to deal with the issues of the day, it helps me reflect on what I’m doing right and wrong, and it gives me perspective on what is really important in life.

I highly recommend you just start doing it if you’re on the fence. I limit myself to 15 minutes a day using DayOne, and that works out great for me.

House

It may seem easy for most, but another one of our goals was to set up a home office. Kristin and I had gone back and forth about converting a lovely baby’s room from the previous homeowners into an office. They had decorated the third bedroom in Winnie the Pooh with a hand-painted mural, you guys.

We couldn’t bear (pun intended) to cover over that work of art for almost eight months, and finally we realized that it was doing no good for us in its current state. We painted it over with the help of family and bought a desk and lamps to create an office space. I also hung a cork board, and we plan to get a white board as well.

20140701-205721-75441027.jpg

Conclusion

As I look back at the year that’s already halfway over, I’m proud of all of our accomplishments thus far. This is one of the first years that I’ve written down and then checked back on my goals in a timely fashion. It has helped so much in keeping myself on track and accountable to finish by the end of the year.

92% of New Year’s Resolutions get side-tracked. Don’t become another statistic.

I hope to set and achieve bigger and loftier goals in the future. I want to be the best me that I can be. In order to do so, I realize that, though it will take hard work and dedication, the rewards are worth the effort.

 



   
   

   


 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: