Happy Fall! Who else is ready for cooler weather? It’s time for a change! I can’t wait to move on from this summer’s sticky and oppressive heat. Q3 2023 was jam-packed with a constant stream of activity. Over the past few months, Brian and I have felt the pressure of our hectic schedules. Thankfully, we balanced out our frustrations by reading, spending time with friends and family, and maintaining our determination to explore more of our 52 experiences.
Frankly, what we accomplished this past quarter surprises me a bit. We felt so drained that we were tempted to prioritize the bare minimum must-dos and shut out the rest of the world. Do you ever have days like that?
Instead of retreating, Brian and I chose to keep moving. It’s safe to say that determination is half the battle! Spontaneous yesses and unplanned plans led to new adventures and lessons learned. We treated ourselves to a historic site day trip (courtesy of our library card!), tackled a DIY AC repair during one of the hottest weeks, enjoyed the company of our best friends, and more. I’m happy that we chose to say yes to what felt right and to say no to what didn’t.
1. Make our way into Canada
We did it! Brian and I visited Vancouver after years and years of talking about it. Our weekend trip was short but sweet. We had never traveled to Canada before. The scenery was beautiful! We got to experience a lot in a short amount of time, including tree-lined hikes, city streets, local beer, and a diverse range of food.
|In case you missed it: Check out our top favorite experiences in Vancouver!|
2. Research and find a financial podcast
It took us some time to sort through the many financial podcasts out there. I used to love Listen Money Matters, but they haven’t released new episodes since 2020, so it was time to find some new material. The Afford Anything Podcast keeps us company on long car rides. I also listen to The Stacking Benjamins Show. You can never learn enough about what to do with your money!
3. Read and apply strategies from self-help books (at least 2)
Our summer vacation afforded us more time to read, read, and read. It’s honestly one of our favorite ways to unwind, especially while on vacation. I finished one self-help book and picked up two others on my way back home.
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life inspired me to write about how a return back to basics creates a life of happiness. Cassie Holmes’ Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most carries a similar message to that of Ikigai. I can be quite the speed reader, but I took my time reading through these two books. I really enjoyed the message behind them and wanted to ensure that I was learning the material so I could apply the recommended practices to my day-to-day experiences.
4. Read more during my downtime
In addition to the self-help books, I read through 8 fiction novels during Q3. It helped that we had a vacation planned as well as a handful of flights. Aside from downtime during travel, I read late at night or very early in the morning. I used to devour books at a ridiculous speed, so it feels nice to be able to get back into the rhythm of reading.
I hope to keep the momentum going! Currently, I have two books on request from my library, and my wish list continues to grow.
5. Limit and/or remove social interactions that drain us
Instead of tetris-ing all of our social engagements and to-dos, Brian and I continue to be intentional with our time. We passed on travel plans, postponed get-togethers, and sought refuge in uncrowded spaces.
As we took time to focus on what matters, we found that it wasn’t very difficult to say no to the things we ultimately didn’t want to do. Rather, we gave priority to moments of spontaneity, fun, and genuine connection.
6. Dine & shop locally
Supporting locally owned businesses means a great deal to us. It’s a purposeful way to actively invest in our neighbors and our community.
While we have decreased the frequency of dining out, we make a conscious effort to visit local restaurants (or order carry-out from them!) whenever we have the opportunity. Brian and I also enjoy exploring international markets with locally sourced goods, local craft breweries, and craft distilleries.
Decking was one of the recent items we bought locally. Though purchasing from a local lumber yard was more expensive than online, we ultimately decided that we would have a better experience working with a local business. It was the right call! They worked with us on pricing, have given us invaluable information, and are readily available to answer any of our questions. In our experience, shopping locally offers a much more personal level of service than shopping elsewhere.
7. Build something together
Brian and I randomly found ourselves building an attic hatch (or door) after we repaired our AC. During one of the hottest weeks this summer, our AC decided to stop working in the middle of the night. The next day, we discovered that our AC capacitor was fried! And how did we know that? Well, we had just repaired our washing machine that had—you guessed it—a bad capacitor! The AC outdoor unit was making a similar noise to our washing machine, so we took it apart, tested the capacitor, and voilà! Fried. After installing a new capacitor, we were back in business.
Since we were without AC for a couple of days, Brian and I thought, Why not go without AC for a couple more days so we can fix our janky attic hatch? It was separating from the ladder; Brian had to hold the ladder against the door so I could safely climb in and out of the attic. We had been meaning to fix it for months but never got around to it.
Feeling particularly handy and confident after our AC capacitor repair, we decided to take on the attic door. It took a full day, but by the time we were finished, we had a much more durable and safe way to access our attic. We added more support to anchor the ladder, though we still need to add a few washers for even more reinforcement and then paint it. At least it’s functional!
It’s fitting to end our check-in with a little project of ours. As we close out this quarter and head into the next, Brian and I will be in the midst of our deck re-building. Q3 was a mish-mash of planned and unplanned events, long days turned into nights, and a determination to keep going. We’ve only begun tearing down our old deck, yet the reliable rhythm of routine and physical exertion lulls us into an easy calm. It’s a welcome change of pace from the last few months.
In three quarters, we’ve completed 27 out of the 52 experiences on our list. We don’t exactly know where the last quarter of the year will take us, but we look forward to finding out. Stay tuned!