So as part of my “being an adult” new year’s resolution, I made a date with both my dentist and my doctor a couple of weeks ago. Which included a) Finding one that seemed legit, b) scheduling the appointments (after making sure they accept my insurance, of course) and finally c) showing up.
It’s that last part that’s the least fun :(
But, I sucked it up and did the deed. You already know the outcome of the doctor visit (the whole “high blood pressure” thing – which I’m currently working on, and well I must say!), but the dentist one was a whole other story. In a nutshell I was reminded how much of an idiot I was for for skipping out on 3 years worth of biyearly cleanings. The convo with my new dentist went like this:
“Well, the good news is you have no cavities. The bad is that a few of your teeth need “deep cleanings.”
“Woohoo! No cavities!”
“Yes, but had you been doing your yearly visits your teeth would be in even better shape”
“Well I thought as long as I was brushing twice a day, as well as flossing AND using anti-cavity mouthwash I’d be cool? What else could I do to prevent it?”
“You could come in twice a year for your cleanings.”
“Okay okay, I get your point. It’s just that…”
*gets cut off*
“The cleanings are important because no matter how much you brush, and how “awesome” you are at it (she literally did the air quotes), you can’t reach all the places that need to be cleaned. Even *I* have to get my cleanings done each year – and I’m a dentist!”
BAM! It was that last line that really hit home with me. I mean, I know you *should* get cleanings and do all that stuff, similar to the yearly *cough* *cough* physicals all us men have to do (you guys know what I’m talking about), but at this stage of life I need to better understand how it directly affects me or it’s liable to get swept under the rug with all of life’s other creepy crawlers… Especially if I think I’ve found a way to game the system (ie *not* doing stuff, haha…). But to hear even dentists need to get check ups now rules that out completely! If they can’t get around it, how could I?
So needless to say I’ve learned my lesson. Not only because of this epiphany I’ve now experienced, but also cuz it affected my wallet too! That “deep cleaning” I now had to do? Oh, it wasn’t covered by insurance. Shocking, huh? Apparently there was some problem with it and I had the lovely option of either waiting 18 months to get it done for free – I think cuz of a “pre-existing cause” or whatever – (it was my first time using this insurance in 3 years), or paying now and moving on with my life. Which was the route I decided to take in the end. And counted it under the “you learned your lesson” category to better hammer home the point.
And that point has more to do with *smart maintenance* in general, than it does a dentist visit. Maintaining our bodies, our relationships (how much do you dread doing that “catch up call” with a friend because you’ve slacked for so long?), and of course with our MONEY. You can set things on autopilot and hope everything remains kosher over the years, but it’s better to check in every now and then and REALLY make sure stuff’s exactly where you want it to be. There’s no real short cut to it all.
This goes for:
- Budgeting (of course)
- Paying attention to those investments
- Keeping our cars/homes/boats afloat (see what I did there?)
- Watching our career paths and salaries/raises
- Updating insurance and wills when major life changes occur
- And everything else that helps drive our lives and our money…
We tend to think we’re smarter than we really are with this stuff – and that bad things “won’t happen to US” – but the truth is we need to watch our backs good. Even if it’s something as small as setting up a monthly reminder to log into your bank/investment accounts and make sure things look in order. Or reviewing your credit card statements to make sure the Target hackers haven’t shopped on your dime, or even stolen your identity and having the time of their lives (it’s a good time to get that free credit report, fyi).
Basically you don’t want to push things off or ignore ’em until they become “a thing.” Things are the worst. And unfortunately this dentist one isn’t the only one I’ve let creep up on me :(
I’ve also been a bad boy reviewing my business income/expenses all year because I’ve let automation and laziness get in my way throughout. That’s what happens when you use awesome services out there – you slack on your diligence! Every month I say I’m gonna spend 5 mins reviewing the numbers over at Outright.com (the free service I use to manage my biz money), and every month I push it off until I’m staring at 12 months worth to do come tax time, ugh… Honestly, I’m an idiot – I don’t know why you read this blog. Now I’ve come quite far from 2011’s fiasco of *manually* managing it all (THAT was stressful), but still. You’d think someone who can stay on top of their personal finances can do the same for their business ;)
So today’s takeaways: Do all your life maintenance, and do all your financial maintenance as well. The more you stay on top of it, the less problems/stress/surprises you’ll have to deal with later. And the crazy part is that it really isn’t that hard at all! Most of this stuff literally takes minutes, if not tens of minutes, and you then avoid the entire set of problems whatsoever. I don’t know what’s wrong with us, haha…
Oh well, it is what it is. Now I’m off to go check on my blood pressure and see if all this firing up here will affect it or not ;) Doctor says to track it at different times of the day to get a good average going (I picked up one of those home devices), so we’ll see if it does! Here’s to a smarter 2014!
Photo by Donald Lee Pardue