Health and Happiness on a Budget

Hello! I am Julie. I currently live in the Midwest and work for a wonderful non-profit museum. I am turning 30 today and decided I would finally make the move to blog about the things I love to talk to folks about, outside of what I already do for work. Which could include everything amazing I have learned in life, but mostly living a happy, health lifestyle on a budget. Although, some of what I do for a living might find its way here because I feel my job is the coolest!

Some background on me, I grew up in a mid-sized Midwest city in a blue-collar family with a lot of money issues, among other problems. As an adult I have worked hard to turn all those negative experiences into motivation to create a better life while living within my monetary means (there have been many bumps in that road, however). I decided to go to college for something I really enjoyed, Astronomy, thanks to the advice of my high school chemistry and physics teacher. It made my family nervous for me, but it all worked out into a beautiful journey that shaped me into who I am and I am happy to share it.

I did not even know or understand what I could do with a degree in Astronomy at first, but once I started college I learned some options, which lead me to research and a PhD program. While in graduate school, I realized I did not want a PhD. However, I did learn that I love communicating science to a variety of audiences. So I jumped into a museum studies program and after an internship ended up at one of the finest institutions in the states. This professional journey involved a lot of ups and downs, and while all this was going on I struggled with relationships, health, and self-esteem. Things all of us deal with at one point or another.

Around the time I changed my career goals in graduate school, I decided to add to my challenges by taking health and fitness seriously for the first time in life. I had seen many of my peers have such balanced, happy, rewarding lives. I felt so left out as they would talk about their morning workouts and well planned healthy meals. I felt as though health was more challenging than working on my education and career. I had no clue what being healthy really meant and being active was an off and on thing throughout my adolescence and adulthood. Looking back though, I always have been my happiest when I was active a few times per day. Additionally, I have always been slightly overweight, at least 5-10 lbs above the healthy weight range for my height and bone structure.

It was not until April 2012 that I began to take fitness seriously, though I still felt I was missing some piece to the puzzle. Then in May 2015, I was forced to make some serious diet changes, which resulted in my weight finally reaching within the healthy range for the first time in my life. It lead to some surprising feelings and studying nutrition to make sure I was giving my body what it really needed. Nutrition, another word I did not really understand before this past year, but I have become so passionate about it. I am even thinking about going back to school to become a health coach on the side.

Through this blog I hope to share what I have learned about health, fitness and happy living within a reasonable budget. I have gotten into the best shape of my life, traveled around the world and become the happiest I have ever been all while living on a budget. Saving money is not just something I do because I grew up in a tight financial situation. Like most of the country, I make less than the U.S. average salary. I know I would like to get married, buy a home, and retire one day. So living within my means is essential to meeting my long-term goals.

I hope that by sharing my life with you will help encourage you to take the steps you need to have a balanced, happy life. This may not work for everyone else, but it is not about you following everything I have done. I have learned so much from others sharing their story with me. It has motivated and inspired me to make better choices for myself, whether those choices were similar to others or completely different. I believe it is about finding joy in the journey and mine would not be same without the stories that were shared with me.

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