Thankful: 2020 edition

In a tough year, it’s been a particularly rough last two months for us. After spending half of this year agonizing over if/how/when/where we were going to move out of our 600 sq ft basement, we finally moved, and that process ate up a good two to three months of our lives. We were finally starting to settle into our house and I was going to finally have the bandwidth to start writing posts again. But we’ve now been dealing with the tough (and expensive) choice to move our big wedding out to 2022 instead of next summer, some overly busy and stressful weeks at work, a death in the family, tense family conversations around the election, aaaaaaaand, of course, some large and expensive home repairs.

Not to mention I’m still mourning leaving DC (and mourning the fact that we didn’t get to say goodbye).

So suffice it to say the Reaching for (Young) FI(RE Knight) household (oh yeah, cat’s out of the bag and it turns out I’m not marrying a cactus…) has seen better times. But our recent personal shittiness, and the general shittiness of this garbage year doesn’t mean there’s nothing at all redeeming about this year (our narrow miss of four more years of authoritarianism being one!). So in the spirit of tomorrow’s holiday, here’s what I’m grateful for lately.

Things that don’t suck

The dark blue walls of our living room, which were not a selling point of buying this house, but definitely a perk. It’s a cozy spot, made better by the gallery wall we just hung up this past weekend. We haven’t even refilled our propane tank to run the fireplace yet for maximum coziness!

cozy af

The much lower cost of living in NC (we think. The dust hasn’t quite settled yet on what our expenses will be going forward), which means we can well afford to pay both our mortgage and a huge extra monthly payment.

Being able to afford both our mortgage and a huge monthly payment as well as large, expensive home repairs without needing to pause the extra monthly payment.

Barre going online. Before moving, I went to a few outdoor barre classes, which was wonderful because I haven’t been to the studio since March and I miss it dearly. Even if in-person classes were an option at all/were safe to attend, the nearest barre studio to me down here isn’t anywhere near, plus there’s the fact that my super-discounted barre membership is only for one specific DC studio and I would have to let that go. But thanks to the magic of pre-recorded and livestream Zoom classes, I don’t have to worry about finding a new exercise routine anytime soon! I can keep working out with my favorite instructors and wave to my friends when they take the same live classes I do.

More living space. We work in separate rooms during the day now. We both have doors we can close when we’re on work calls. We both have desks and monitors. We have so much more counter space in the kitchen now!

We have a whole separate, dedicated space for workouts now and I’m not drying my laundry on the back of our dining chairs!

More living space meaning full-size windows (many of them) and storm doors with screens. We can open up most of the house on nice days, and it is glorious.

Moving into our own house meaning an end (at least for now) of leases and the annual three months (minimum) of “are we moving or are we not moving??” handwringing prior to any lease’s end. Moving sucks. We’re staying put for a bit. Plus getting our security deposit back was a nice little boost to the cash after putting a good chunk of change down for the down payment.

Weeks of moving prep in 600 sq feet was absolutely untenable. Also RIP to my ridiculously comfy armchair, which did not fit into the moving truck and yes I’m still a bit sad about it even though I found a great home for it on the DC Buy Nothing group

Being close to family. It’s benefitted us in house ways: my parents saw the house before we offered on it (we didn’t see it until after our offer was accepted) and were here for the inspection; my dad’s helped us replace our range hood with a microwave we got from my partner’s parents, raked our leaves while we were out of town, helped us re-attach a piece of siding that blew mostly off during a tropical storm, and let us borrow tools we don’t have. Um also them just replacing their roof last year meant they had a contractor to recommend for ours…. But it’s also just nice to be near family and to be able to a) talk to people who don’t live in this house and b) share meals. Oh, and see the dog.

In that vein, my brother flew back to the US from Amsterdam mid-October and has been staying with us (in the guest room we now have!!!!) until he goes back around Christmas. It’s been nice to see him, considering he hadn’t been back since last December (and my parents were planning to visit him in the spring but obviously the pandemic had other plans).

Candles. Puzzles.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Our soaking bathtub!!!!!!

Our Arizona trip in February. Not just because we got engaged there, but because we did get to take a trip this year before everything shut down.

Living in a state where within three hours we can be in either the mountains or at the beach without having to leave the state. This comes in handy during a pandemic, like when my family was recently able to be at the cemetery when my grandfather’s casket went into the ground.

Not needing to look for a new job yet. Thanks to complicated, convoluted tax things, I have to become a contractor instead of a W-2 employee in January to keep my job. But as much of a pain in the ass as that will be for me, I get to keep my job and don’t have to look around the NC market for the moment. We knew moving meant I was at risk of losing my job, and I spent about two months in limbo before getting official confirmation that I would be able to keep working. So this is a relief. (Also, let’s be real, I work a 35-hour workweek. No way in hell am I at all ready to go back to 40 hours per week!)

The stability of my partner’s job. Y’all have seen the net worth/spending reports; it’s pretty damn obvious who’s the higher earner in this relationship. Being secure in his job while reducing our expenses by moving has made the uncertainty with my job a bit less scary.

Coffee. And for the fact that my youngest sibling works at Starbucks and has been sharing their wealth of bags of coffee with us. The coffee they send occasionally has been getting us through this pandemic and working from home.

My partner. Going through a pandemic in a teeny, tiny basement, months of uncertainty about moving or not moving, buying a house long-distance, moving, making initial wedding plans and then spending ages coming up with 23298710 wedding contingency plans, and everything else that’s happened this year has confirmed that I’m with the right person and that we’re on the path we want to be in life. This year sucks in so many ways, but it’s nice to have that major life decision confirmed.

But seriously, I’ve been meaning for weeks to finally sit down and write up all the spending reports I’m behind on. And yes, I’m still going to do them, even though it’s laughable at this point to think all the way back to April and May. I’m several lifetimes away from that at this point, I feel like. But this is me stating for public accountability: I’ll be back next week with a post or two.

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