March 2017 – A Month of Closure

Recently, I met up with a friend that I haven’t seen for at least 5 years. Back when I was in Waterloo, we helped each other with our math assignments. She’s currently doing her PhD in bioinformatics and her placement was in downtown Toronto. So I reached out, we got together and updated each other on our lives. By the end of my update, she made a comment on how crazy my life seems.

I guess it only seems that way because of the last few months. Planning to live in another country was the reason why I renovated my basement. It was completed and rented in February and the goal then was to get the rest of the house rented so I can have the rent cover all my expenses in Canada, allowing me to live in another country without having to worry about financial obligations here.

And it happened…

Found a tenant!

It was March 9th. The last few weeks were a little nerve wrecking. Even though I’ve had some experience vetting people to find a good fit as roommates, I had no experience finding a family or group who who would be a good fit for renting out the whole house. I had so I put my ad up on kijiji and it got to 500 or so views and 7 replies. That ratio looked really low to me so I was wondering if I was doing something wrong.

Moreover, of the people who replied, 6 of them did not pass my income test (must make 3x the rent). One of them wanted to sign without seeing the place (or me seeing him). I definitely felt like I was doing something wrong.

But luckily I found a tenant a week later. She didn’t pass my income test, but after she showed me some papers, I was comfortable that wouldn’t be a problem. More importantly, she had a passion side project that she’s been working on and been selling. I looked her business up online and saw 5 star reviews and some great pieces of work. I knew it takes a certain character to do that which really tipped the scale over to a yes.

The last test was a credit report. I got her to fill out one and her score came out better than mine, with absolutely no debt. It seems like everything she said was true.

Anyway, long story short, she moves in Apr 1 which bring me to….

Closure

As soon as she signed the lease that night and left, it felt as if the floodgate was lifted and emotions surged in. Maybe it was because I was so focused on getting it rented that once it finished, I finally had nothing left to do. Or maybe it’s because that’s when it felt real – that I was not going to have a place in KW anymore.

Either way, I felt my KW chapter of 9 years (that’s ⅓ of my life!) coming to a close. Since that day, I’ve been wrapping up all loose ends. Thanking everyone who’s played a huge role in helping me get to where I am today. If you’re reading this, and we had some sort of interaction in KW, yes you were one of them.

So I guess all I have left to say is thank you for a wonderful time.

Books

Up till now, I always had a goal to read a certain number of books. But I’m realizing that this is a stupid goal. I’m starting to view books as a goal and am not really focused on analyzing it, internalizing it, enjoying it. I think having a goal to read a certain amount each time is a better goal as then I can simply continue reading longer if I’m in the mood to do so, or can stop if I’m not.

That said, I did finish 3 books. Which? You’ll have to join my mailing list to get that.

Mindvalley application complete

After 5 months of talking about it, I finally have it done! It’s by no means perfect, but it’s good enough. The hardest part in this whole process is knowing that you want to go there, and so everything I did was always not good enough. I came up with grand visions of how I could make the best application ever. But that just paralyzed me into not taking action.

I was actually getting quite frustrated why I wasn’t making any progress in finding a chance to live abroad and so I wrote about it. I looked into my logical rational, and looked into my emotional fears. It was a liberating thing to go through, to realize that I’ve become too comfortable with the knowns, and uncomfortable putting myself in the unknowns.

Anyway, now that it’s done and submitted, I can start applying for other opportunities. If I’m still here by June, make sure you call me out on it.

Personal Finance Education

If anything, March was the month I decided that personal finance education was going to be what I will have as my main side project the rest of the year. A lot of my daily writing has gone into writing for Cut Home Bills. Many of them never see the day of light, but the blog posts that have come out have been a few days of writing combined. Writing’s actually becoming a lot of fun (who knew I’d ever say something like that…)

Besides writing on the blog, I’ve also created a facebook community called Personal Finance for Canadians. As the name suggests, this group is meant to be the go to for Canadians to share their personal finance experiences and to seek advice from their peers. My vision for this is that this literally becomes the go to for those who are disengaged with their finances to get free advice, where the community will support each other. It’s really cool to see this group grow to over 60 people without me randomly inviting people.

I’ve also created a meetup group for personal finance in Toronto. I don’t really know what I want this group to do just yet. I’m playing with the idea that it will eventually self organize into various topics, and people can find others who are in similar situations, or have similar goals. After they create their own tribe, if they have common questions, I would then be able to facilitate a physical meetup with professionals who are well versed in those areas. It’s still in the early phases, so we’ll see. What’s crazy is that this group went from 0 to 50 in less than 24 hours.

Designing your life

I spent a week reading and going through the exercises of Design your Life goodread, amazon. It’s a great book that I highly suggest everyone go through to get clairity on what matters most to you and how you can apply design thinking to experience it years, if not decades earlier to know if that is actually what you want to be striving for.

Through this, I realized that the experiences that put me in flow can come from multiple faucets, many of them are directly in my control. I know what I’m looking for when it comes to work, and know how I can skip a few decades to test if what I think I want is really what I want.

Once again, highly suggested. Especially to all you 20 and 30 somethings who are lost.

April goals

As always, I’m looking forward to what I’ll be able to do and experience this month. Especially when it comes to the challenges and opportunities of living at home again.

Reintegrate myself living at home full time

It’s been a long time since I’ve lived at home. I don’t have anything against it. But there are its own challenges. The big one? The crazy amount of distractions that is present at home. For example, as I write this, I have 2 containers of homemade cookies right behind my laptop. I have a fridge that is constantly stocked. I have a TV and PS4 always taunting me at the back of my mind.

Back when I lived in KW, my fridge was pretty empty. There was nothing in the living room. I would get bored and be forced to entertain the boredom, which introduced me to so many great ideas.

Getting bored at home will introduce me to many bad habits.

And so, I will need to find a way to reintegrate myself to living at home without wasting my willpower on things like this.

Build a network in Toronto

Although I do know people here and there, my network in Toronto is nowhere compared to it in KW. But it will be fun to build out and see how far I can get while I am here. Moreover, with KW, my network was mainly with the techies and real estate. I still want that type of network in Toronto, but I’m also hoping to meet people interested in personal growth, non tech entrepreneurs, and be a part of a mastermind that can really keep me accountable to my goals.

Apply apply apply

With the Mindvalley application complete and submitted, I am allowing myself to apply to other opportunities. Luckily, all of them are going to be easier to apply to, simply from the fact that they do not require a video and I do not have as much emotional investment in them as I did Mindvalley.

Continue to build CHB

It’s been a lot of fun creating content for this blog. It’s been a lot of fun helping others with their questions. It’s been a lot of fun seeing this thing grow.

I even found a potential way to monetize this going forward. But I’m still in the early early stages of testing feasibility, let alone my commitment in seeing this through (the big problem I had with my other endeavours up till now).

Actually since we’re on this topic, if your family income is over 85k, and you’re interested in making $10k more each year, let me know.

Hike Hamilton

It’s April. Snow should hopefully be out of the forecast. And if rain is also out for a week, the hiking trails in Hamilton should hopefully be dry. I’d love to hike them while I’m still here.

First ever weight related challenge

So I was playing handball with my cousins this past weekend. It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun. The only problem was that I haven’t played any fast paced sports for almost 10 years. Being outdoors, running, and feeling out of breath made me realize how dull my competitiveness fangs have gotten. It made me remember just how much I enjoyed sports in the past. It made me want to get back to my highschool day’s physique and abilities.

But the next day, I realized I can probably do better than that. The highschool me did not take in any additional sources of information besides what was provided in school. The me now only takes in information from other sources (well, that’s also because I’m not in school anymore). I know that if I take the time to find the optimal way to rebuild my strength and endurance, I can easily surpass the old me.

That said, I don’t know how exactly I’m going to measure my progress, or what the training will look like. But I’m going to start by focusing on getting to 10% body fat (currently hovering 16%) within the next month. I’m sure as I continue to explore this field that I know absolutely nothing about, I will have more clarity.

Hey at least I know more about this than I did about home renos when I first started. Oh and if you want to follow this progress, you can do so here.

Conclusion

It’ll be nice to introduce a month long theme and goal again. When I had that with my home renos in Nov Dec Jan, I found it much easier to focus. The only difference this time is that I’m going to try to structure my days to complete everything I’ve listed out by 6pm each day so that I have the evenings to do whatever I want.

As for how I see how my days will be shaped out, the first 3 hours of the day is meant for meditating, idea generating and writing. After that is my workout, which should take no more than an hour. In fact, I shouldn’t be doing much more than 30 minutes each day. I should easily get this all done before lunch so with the rest of the day, I’ll be focused on applying, building CHB or building out my network.

Let’s see if this will actually play out the way I’m aiming for.

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