Reducing Stress Levels

As we approach July 1st, I can’t help but reflect back on what a difference a year can make in one’s life / perspective.

Last July, I was contemplating my eminent return to work after recovering from back surgery. I was unsure if I’d be able to handle the physical and emotional demands of a full time job and yet, in my haste to return, I’d unwittingly accepted a totally inappropriate position. A busy store, 13 hour work days with virtually no time for food / bathroom breaks and a micromanaged, emotionally toxic work environment awaited my return.

Sadly, work wasn’t the only area of stress to contend with last summer. I’d gotten stuck with a terrible tenant in one of my rental properties. Said tenant paid no utility bills for the duration of her stay, damaged my property, called city inspectors routinely to portray herself as a victim and sent me harassing texts / emails regularly. A lengthy LTB case, legal fees and countless hours were spent on this individual. Even once I’d received a judgement, I knew it was money I’d never recover as any attempt to do so would be an additional waste of my time and resources.

Now, one year later, I find myself in a much better position. I’ve used the lessons I learned from my horrible work and tenant situations to more thoroughly screen both tenants and work opportunities. I now have great tenants who look after my properties as if they were their own, and a lovely pharmacy that I enjoy working in. By building paying down some ~100k of mortgage on my rentals and building up a larger emergency fund, I’m far less likely to accept subpar employment or tenants due to a cash crunch.

My goal for the next year is to continue freeing up headspace by reducing sources of stress. My focus is no longer the anticipated ROI of a potential investment, but rather the RAOI (reduced anxiety on investment). By paying down debt, increasing capital expenditures for my rental properties, and keeping an ample cash balance on hand, I’m really just investing in my own wellbeing.

Vacation Time

I spent a week observing Americans. While on a 7-day Celebrity cruise to Bermuda with my family, I was presented with ample opportunity to observe our neighbors to the south in their natural habitat. I almost felt like Jane Gooddall. And given the proclivity of cruise lines to nickel and dime for each add on, I was almost tempted to pay extra for all of the case studies. Where else could I openly observe the ramifications of a lifetime of indulgence and immediate gratification? I saw it firsthand, and it wasn’t pretty.

From the relatively superfluous (their diets, level of sun exposure and entertainment options) to the life altering (their choice of spouse, number of children and career aspirations), it seems that short term happiness takes precedence, to the detriment of longterm success.  The scary part of this is, if you are making such horrible choices when the outcome is readily visible in public (being overweight with sun damaged skin covered in tattoos) imagine how terrible your non-visible life choices are. I shudder to think how much credit card debt or liver damage these people have.

 

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Conversely, if you think I look good, you should see my credit score!

So here’s a shortlist of what I learned on vacation:
-tattoos advertise an inability to make intelligent life choices
-segways are an acceptable mode of transportation in the Bermuda maritime museum
-sunbathing: not even once

In attempt to not allow myself to become too Americanized, I’ve started a dietary detox and amped up my reading list. I’m also hoping to travel a lot more in the next few months.