My last “life-update” blog post consisted of my announcement that I was dropping out of grad school, moving back home and trying to change life paths by entering the job market. It was a tough decision that I have stood by, but questioned constantly as I think about where I could have been had I stayed (trust me, that’s not healthy nor is it helpful). And while I’m currently stressing hard about my situation now, one thing (amongst others), I definitely need to remember: while I was in grad school, for various reason, I went through some intense resurfacing of my battle with depression. I cried to sleep multiple times a month and questioned my worth more often than that. Despite what I could have gained staying where I was, since I left, my depression has lessened dramatically, back to a very manageable state that I’m improving daily. That alone should keep my confidence in my decision high, despite the current stresses that replaced my past ones.
What stresses, you ask?
My life, at the moment, lives up to the term “Catch-22.” I did find a new job that I started exactly one month ago today (huh. I didn’t even realize). I’ve messed up quite a bit, but I’m slowly learning the ropes, becoming more comfortable and connecting with my coworkers, so I’m excited. Plus, I really enjoy it (which is paramount to me). It’s working part-time at one of the libraries from my undergrad. I love books, I love my university and I love helping people love books, so this is a win-win situation. Plus, since it is an evening position, the commute from home isn’t as stressful because I don’t have to get up before the sun does (and as a person who has a Grandma-inspired-relationship with sleep, this was amazing).
However, despite finding an awesome job, the whole “You’re an adult now” reality punched me in the face royally.
Like I mentioned, I have some very gracious parents who are letting me live at home so I can get my feet back under me financially (plus, learn how to cook. Lord do I need to do that). Moving 12 hours away took a toll on my bank account that wasn’t helped when my car needed unexpected repairs and then the government decided to ask me to pay taxes for the first time in my working career, so my parents generosity and understanding are paramount and not appreciated enough. I don’t even really mind the commute much, though it makes getting to meetings and my eating schedule a bit hectic, at times. However, I would like to get my own place sooner rather than later, which made me sit down and figure out my finances, so I could budget out what I could afford and start searching for, with a goal move-out date before next semester.
Yeah, about that.
Basically, not to bore you, because my current job is part-time (and lacking benefits due to budget cuts), my loans from undergrad start coming in over the summer and the town I want to move it isn’t exactly known to be affordable, I have to get a second job to scrape by on all the bills I currently have and the future ones I’ll gain from being independent. I don’t mind getting a second job. I had two jobs for almost the entirety of my college career. I know that life.
However, I obviously want to get a second job in the same place as my first job, so I can cut out commuting once I move. Yet in order to save up, that would mean finding another job prior to moving, thus having either an even worse commute (worse meaning hellishly early) and trouble figuring out how to have three portable meals a day, until I can move. Or, I could get a job closer to my current home, but then that makes it difficult to move, as it would either have to be a job that will let me transfer to another building in my new town or, once I save up enough, I’ll have to quit that one and find another job, putting me back in the same boat of struggling to support myself with one job I’m currently floating in. Plus, finding another job that will pay enough–or give me enough hours–to be able to afford everything my first job can’t will cut drastically into my writing time. Which I really don’t want to sacrifice, considering how much progress I made while I was unemployed for a few months.
So, my Catch-22: I want to get an apartment so I can stop being the pest in my parents home (though they don’t mind) and be an independent, young professional, yet I need a second job in order to afford that. Yet, because of my commute and current living situation, paired with the desired future living situation, finding a second job that will make this work is proving to be problematic, as having an apartment first would make more sense.
I don’t have one, yet.
Not exactly inspiration, I know. However, I also know this: I’m doing a little too much stressing and not enough praying. Problem number one. Second problem is that I’m focusing too much on the stressful aspects instead of focusing on the benefits regarding my current situation. So there are some mental changes I need to focus on making. Also, thoughtfully realizing that, because I am so concerned with being happy instead of finding the most financially-rewarding job, I’ll probably live paycheck-to-paycheck for a long time, I must remember that I’m naturally a very frugal person. So the challenge of saving up money to prep for an apartment search and a move isn’t hard for me. I horde it naturally, because I recognize that I’m most likely never going to be rich. But I do want to be entirely financially independent and be able to support myself. Even if that means a trip to the theatre becomes a rarity and eating out with friends a luxury. That’s why living a life that’s a Catch-22 is so frustrating. I don’t like relying on others and I don’t like being in limbo, trying to figure things out and not being able to create a routine. But at least I have people to rely on and support me, until I can support myself. That is key and that is something I need to focus on more and be more thankful for. Yes, I’m stressed now. But it could be ten times more stressful.
My tentative plan, despite claiming not to have one, is to give myself April to work at my current job and write in the mornings/afternoons (Camp NaNoWriMo is April and I’ve already signed up, hence my desire to put writing first). Then, after really dedicating some real time on writing my current MS and editing my previous one, saving up as much as a can along the way, come May, I’ll start looking for a second job. I’ll use my resources and figure out where I should apply. I’ll alter my schedule if I have to commute and raid Pinterest for meal ideas and invest in a backpack. I may have to live at home a bit longer than planned and the apartment I move into may not have all the ideal aspects that I wanted so it can fit into my budget. But what I’m dealing with isn’t as impossible as my tear-filled ravings to my parents make it out to be. I’ll figure this out and keep going, staying positive all the while (even if I have a hiccup with that mindset every once in a while).
Because what else can you do?