Tag Archives: Finances

So Much More

Remember this rant? About how I’m floored at how average humans afford to live, even when they are working full-time jobs that make above minimum wage (with the reality that most of them can’t afford to live, aside from being paycheck-to-paycheck, finding another job or splitting incomes with a partner or friend)?

That hopelessness and the overwhelming, “What the freak am I supposed to do?” feeling has only increased in the past week.

First off, though, there was a surprise: I actually got a raise. (I know, I’m just as shocked as you are.) Though the budget library wide made that impossible to happen, which is why I was so convinced that wasn’t an option, the university pulled through and gave eligible employees a raise! Sure, it’s only .45 cents for this kid, but this kid isn’t complaining at all. She’ll take it.

And then, within a span of 24 hours, I learned of two additional things. First was that Kansas state taxes are increasing not only this month, but in January of 2018, as well. So not only are they taking more out of my paycheck each month, but the amount I owe the government come April will most likely increase. Worse, the bracket of incomes that are projected to be effected the most are “single households fresh out of college making $30,000 a year.” Sound familiar? So that’s going to be fun.

Then, secondly, my retirement options email came through today and I have a month to figure that shit out. Talk about adulting slapping you in the face and making sure you’re well aware that you’re no kid anymore. I’m just overwhelmed trying to begin to discern which provider to choose, let alone all the nuances that go with retirement I’m not even sure about. I wish I would have learned a bit more when I was younger about how to navigate these waters. Granted, I knew retirement would be taken out come September and even if it wasn’t mandatory by my employer (which it is) I still would have opted into it, because I recognize how important it is to start saving as early as you can. That said, that doesn’t make the process any less daunting, nor the pay-cut any less painful for me now, even if I’m looking out for little old lady me in the future.

So yeah, I’m just a tad bit stressed financially. What else is new?

It’s taken up a lot of my thoughts, recently. So much so that I keep forgetting what really matters.

There is so much more to life than money.

Granted, that is easy to say and a lot harder to believe, let alone live by. Because money dictates a lot of things. Bills have to be paid and in order to make money, you gotta work, which makes up for a lot of the time you spend in your life. Yet you can’t let it be everything, even if it is a major part of your life. Recently, that’s all I’ve really been able to think about.

Yet I’ve been reading some really good books lately. I actually made it to the first (free!) Mythgard class over The Treason of Isengard last night and nerded out over Tolkien with individuals all across the globe, and that was invigorating in and of itself. I think I’ve finally found a running routine that I enjoy and is both feasible and productive. It’s the summer time, so even though it’s hot as everything else, swimming has been amazing. I’ve been editing my favorite story and love the progress of this draft. PitchWars starts in a few weeks and I’m really stoked to enter into that contest and continue to learn from and get to know such a supportive community. I’ve started a D&D campaign with some friends and learning the ropes alongside them has been wonderful. I have a couple of coffee dates in the future that I’m super jazzed about. I’m doing well at work and excited for the new semester to start. I’m getting new ink the first week of August and cannot wait to see what my new artist has come up with. Plus, only 36 days until I’m on a plane and heading to freakin’ London.

Yeah, life is stressful, right now. Money is stressful and I feel like I can never get caught up, that I’m always behind paying this bill or trying to get away from this debt. But at the same time, there are a lot of good things going on in life and a lot of good things ahead. Just like there are a lot of trying times and a lot of difficult things ahead.

You can’t just focus on all the negative things. You’ll drive yourself into a depressed spiral that’s really hard to get out of, if you do that. You gotta remember to focus on the good, including the little things (like hearing your favorite song on the radio, getting to hit snooze on the weekend or crossing something off of your To-Do list) to the rare things (like seeing a friend from out of town or spending an entire day doing nothing) to the grand, exciting things (like traveling abroad or achieving your dreams). That’s what I’m trying to do: focus on the good and remembering that I can handle the bad, no matter what’s thrown at me.

And so can you.

Cheers.

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Another Rant On Adulting

Let me start off by saying I’m really freakin’ lucky.

I have a good job (that’s now full-time *throws balloons*). I have a reliable car. A cute apartment. I can afford groceries, utilities and Internet. I have good health and am in a pretty good mental state. For the most part, I’m completely independent when it comes to bills and taking care of myself, which is really important to me.

And yet.

*cue rant*

I’m a pretty frugal person, much to the annoyance to most of my friends and family. I have a budget spreadsheet of all of my bills each month, all the bills that I have to pay once a year (e.g., women’s clinic visit, eye exam, that sort of thing), the amount I’d like to save and a wishlist of things I’d like to own, from a toaster to a coffee table to new clothes to books to tattoos.

Every so often, I update that budget to try and stay in line with my spending or reevaluate my goals of how much money I want to spend/save. Recently, I got moved to full-time, which definitely requires a budget change. And as my first full-time paycheck comes in tomorrow, I was really, really jazzed about it. No more living paycheck-to-paycheck like I have been. No more need for a second job. I could actually afford to live and be able to go to the movies without guilt, actually start crossing off things from my To-Buy Wishlist.

Oh, how naive I was.

Earlier, I said I was completely independent financially, “for the most part.” It wasn’t until this year that I realized that my parents have been paying for my car insurance and my tag renewal every year since I was 16. So next year, I’m going to be taking that over. As I should. My parents have been awesome and supportive, but I’ll be 25 this year. High time I start lessening their burden a little bit. Next year is also the same year I get kicked off their health insurance, so that will start coming out of my paycheck. In September, retirement starts coming out, so that’s another cut. And then you have all those one-time expenses I always forget about: doctors’ visits and new contacts and oil changes and parking permits. Those add up really quickly. If I want to have any savings account at all, that’s another cut.

Looking at all of those expenses, by this time next year, I’ll be back living paycheck-to-paycheck again.

And that just…floors me.

I make very decent money. And like I said, I’m super frugal. Occasionally, I’ll splurge, but that occasion is more rare than common. I’ve already canceled my gym membership to try and cut back on expenses, but every other bill I have is necessary.

I just…don’t know what to do.

My job isn’t going to give me a raise. We’re suffering from budget cuts as it is and, if the trend continues, that cut is only going to increase as the years pass. Yet I work 40 hours a week, 3pm-12am. When would I have time to add in a second job, again? Do I just give up on ever crossing off anything on that To-Buy Wishlist? Do I let this one trip to London I saved up for this year (with the hope that I could save up and travel abroad to a new place once every year) be the only trip of that nature? Do I just accept that I’ll always have this feeling that I’m trying to catch the money I earn up with the money I owe, without ever having any extra money to spend?

I just don’t know, friends. Again, I’m very lucky, to have what I have and live the life I live. But I’m also so dang tired of being so stressed out financially and being that one person in the group that always orders a water or refuses to meet for coffee or is known for being the person who “doesn’t spend money.” It’s selfish, I know, but I’d like to be able to buy that cute sweatshirt without feeling guilt. I’d like to be able to go out to dinner with friends and not stress over how to shave off that money I just spent somewhere else. I’d like to get a new tattoo and not have to wait over a year to save up to get another one.

Like I said: selfish, I know. But goodness me, a person should be able to make 30K a year like I do and not live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Cheers.


Quest for Happiness: Week Two

qfh

Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

Fitness:

  • Long-term Goal: Shape the body I want and become healthier.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Go to the gym. Once.
    • Status: Success! I didn’t leave myself any room for error on this one. Tuesday was the first day I had time to go to the gym. When I got home, in-between jobs, I changed clothes, ate lunch and then headed straight there. By the time I walked in, it was too late to give into anxiety or fear what would happen once I arrived. And I surprised myself by actually loving it…and going two more days, making it three in a row for week one.
  • This Week’s Goal: Four days in a row!
    • Definitely doing babysteps. Eventually, I hope to be going five days a week, 45 minutes a day, and incorporating a healthier diet, counting calories (potentially), tracking water and mixing up my fitness routine. But for now, going one more day to the gym than I did last week is a good step forward.

Writing:

  • Long-term Goal: Edit three books, write four new books and query at least one.
  • Last Weeks Goal: Write three times a week on BLOOD PRICE and outline another novel.
    • Status: Partial Success! I did end up writing three times last week (twice for almost an hour when the goal was 30 minutes and once for only 10 minutes but that is better than nothing). And I got to the point where I’ll be doing more new writing and reworking than I will be editing previously written stuff, so I’m really stoked about that. Didn’t outline another novel. So guess what I’m doing this week?
  • This Week’s Goal: Write four times. Outline novel.

Reading:

  • Long-term Goal: Read 60 books.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Read every night before bed.
    • StatusSorta? I read four days last week, usually during meals and cranking out 60~ pages per session. Yet I never read before bed, because I was just too dang tired once I got off work. Plus, reading Lynch requires my devout attention, not sneaking in a few more pages with heavy eyes.
  • This Week’s Goal: Finish The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Blogging:

  • Long-term Goal: Increase output over all three blogs, i.e., post more consistently.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Try out new blogging schedule and see if it works.
    • Status: Partial Success! I do really like the new blogging schedule, but I missed it by one blog post for each blog. I think, as the routine grows, I’ll be able to keep it up, but it was a nice trial run week.
  • This Week’s Goal: Write three blog posts for each blog.

Financial:

  • Long-term Goal: Manage money with more awareness, start retirement fund and build savings.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Balance checkbook for the week.
    • StatusFailed. While I did manage to save receipts to track spending, I definitely didn’t write anything down and actually balance my checkbook. I could blame it on forgetting my pen at home and not having one in my purse, but…
  • This Week’s Goal: Actually balance checkbook. Talk to manager at second job about keeping consistent hours.

For the first week, not a bad start! I really like the routine I got going, even though it has me going nonstop Monday through Friday, making it hard to squeeze in anything else. I loved that I was able to jump over some mental hurdles (making it the gym, writing words on the page again) and prove to myself that all of these goals–even the ones I fell short completing last week–are all very, very possible and achievable. It’s simply a quest to get there.

And I’m stoked to be adventuring.

Onward to Week Two!

Cheers.


Weighing Importance

I’ve been doing a lot of adulting lately. Which, strangely enough, actually looks very similar to panicking: the increased heartbeat, the sweaty palms, the tears threatening to fall past your eyelids.

The shrinking bank account.

disney scared aladdin nervous worried

Moving out and living on my own in a kickass apartment is fantastic, but the bills that have followed are not so much. Pair that with working a three-quarters time job that doesn’t allow for a minute of overtime. Add in the fact that the bills I have acquired are barely covered by what I make in a month. All this results in a stressed out pseudo-adult who struggles constantly with the reality of my situation and the choices that result from that.

The reality is that my bank account is pretty much stagnant, as all my income directly vanishes to pay bills. So the money that I had left over from the move and saved up during my time living with the ‘rents sits in my bank account without the possibility to increase. In fact, with bills such as utilities and groceries varying month to month, the chances are that my very small nest egg is going to decrease over time. It definitely isn’t going to increase.

This reality leaves me with two main choices that I switch between on a daily basis.

Option A: Getting a Second Job
The obvious remedy to my financial stagnation is to get a second job. That second job could help increase the nest egg that I currently have and also help take the pressure off to not spend any extra money, if possible. I still have plenty of things that I would like to get for my apartment. I really want to save up my vacation time to travel abroad once each year–can’t really do that when you aren’t able to save up money to fund said travels. I’d like to be able to go out to eat or catch a film in the theatres every once in a while without feeling guilt and freaking out about how much I spent. I want to start working on my sleeve that I have planned out in my head but never felt comfortable spending the funds on (plus, finding a good tattoo artist is hard). I have yearly doctors’ appointments that still need scheduling, an oil change that is looming and who knows what other one-time expenses that are going to pile up, thus depleting said nest egg. Getting a second job makes the most sense.

Yet at what cost?

The biggest one is time. Mainly, writing time. Since I moved out onto my own, I’ve been averaging roughly 5,000 words a day, writing roughly four hours a day. I have read four books. I’ve caught up on my editorial work. I’ve been writing more blog posts and book reviews. That output in extraordinary for me and something I am totally not used to. And it is something that I cherish highly, already, even though I’ve only done it for two weeks. I don’t want to give up that time for a second job.

But what does that cost?

Option B: Living off a Tight Budget
The cost of not getting a second job is obviously very literal. I’ll be living on a much tighter budget. I’ll have to really limit what I buy and when I buy it. I’ll have to minimize my utilities expenses any chance that I get. I’ll have to be more aware of where my money is going and be more on top of balancing my checkbook. Some of the things I’d like to have in my apartment might not get purchased. And unless my bills somehow lessen so I can make more than I owe, eventually, the money is going to run out and I’m going to be forced to resort to Option A. It’s inevitable.

But if I choose Option B, I can give my writing the attention it deserves. I can take it seriously and truly treat it like a second job (as I should). Though I’ll always be hyper aware of my financial situation and stressed out, I’ll escape from it all within the worlds I’m currently writing about or revising, at least for a little while. I can work towards my ultimate career goal of publishing books and making a living as an author. Even if choosing Option B is just for a few months, before I’m forced to get that second job (unless a miracle happens and my current job promotes me to full time. *snorts*)

Of course, I could try a hybrid of the two. Get a second job that I only work a few days in the mornings or work Fridays and Saturdays, so I don’t have a day off. Not write every day but still write a few days out of the week. Sleep a little less, be forced to prioritize my hobbies a little bit more. Yet I hesitate. I selfishly want a weekend. I enjoy the Friday Girls’ Nights that have happened the past two weekends. I’m able to go to my friend’s wedding this weekend without taking off of work. I can go home and see my family without trying to balance multiple jobs. And sometimes, I just want to be a bum on a Friday and play videogames all day, never changing out of my PJs and eating leftover mac and cheese.

*lesigh*

At the moment, I’m not actively searching for a second job. I’m going to begin the first round of edits on my fourth novel this week to prep for the #P2P16 contest happening in October. Yet I’m aware that while I really enjoy my schedule (working evenings and having the mornings and afternoons free to dedicate to my creativity), that schedule isn’t enough to live a life absent of financial stress. And I’m really tired of bawling my eyes out trying to balance my checkbook or watch as my bank account shrinks ever slowly. Yet is financial stability and comfort worth the price of creative output? Is creative output worth the stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck?

I don’t bloody know.

Cheers.


The Demons of Doubt

You know you’re a writer when Doubt plagues you so often, you’re reaching a point that you just want to punch Doubt in the jugular and also find some way to use it in a future story. At least, that’s how I’m feeling at the moment, which, in an odd way, proves that despite how often Doubt invades, I can take comfort in the fact that I’ll never stop writing (because only a very stubborn and true writer would decide to turn the very thing that stops her from writing as a form of inspiration in future works).

But even knowing that doesn’t ease the times when Doubt is really raging hard, especially when it comes at you in multiple angles of your life and you succumb, feeling powerless against it all.

I wrote a blog post recently about my life as a Catch-22, which has only gotten more complicated since. Basically, I’ve learned that my part-time job, due to the budget cuts, not only limits my hours, but also changes the hours over the summer, moving them during the day instead of the evenings, while also not scheduling me during breaks when the university is closed, to ensure I don’t go over my 1,000 hour limit cap. So while getting three weeks off in the summer and getting Fall, Spring and part of Winter Break off sounds really lovely, my current financial situation is paycheck-to-paycheck living. I can’t afford those breaks.

Of course, I still plan on getting a second job, but when the hours of my current job fluctuate between evenings during the school year and during the day over half the summer, that really complicates the types of jobs I can apply for. For example, I thought about applying to be a bank teller from 8-5 before my night-shift job, but I couldn’t switch to an evening shift at the bank that closed at five during that odd month in the summer where I work during the day at my part-time job. Yet I’d need to be able to work the most hours at both jobs to make ends meet. So that makes me lean towards retail, but I’m not confident that I could make enough working a retail job to meet the minimum bills I’d obtain after moving out on my own.

Me being me–a stressed-riddled-over-thinker–I didn’t stop there. I stressed about how if I got a 8-5 job on top of my part-time job, I’m looking at a 5:30am wake up call when I’m not a morning person. A day where I started working at 8 and didn’t get off of work until 10, at a different job. Not to mention trying to figure out how to make three portable meals a day to eat, especially once I move out on my own and don’t have my Mom’s leftovers to rely on. Or what about scheduling in workout time, especially because my self-esteem has plummeted in recent months due to my curves and growing tummy?

Realizing all of this got me not only flustering, but doubting myself on an immense scale.

Then, my car broke down while I was on my way to a rare overtime shift.

She’s fixed now, but if I wasn’t down in the dumps then…Let me tell you, sitting in your car that won’t start on the side of the road, bawling your eyes out because that’s your natural reaction to everything, for an hour and a half during five o’clock traffic isn’t exactly the way you want spend your Friday afternoon. Especially because you’re not bawling because you’re stuck on the side of the road. You’re bawling because you desperately wanted that money from that overtime shift. You’re bawling because your slowly building up your savings account from the last time your car needed unexpected–and very costly–repairs, only to have her betray you again, simply because she’s 15 years old and that’s the best you could afford two years ago when you got her; and you’re not in a better spot now to upgrade, either, without tightening your wallet even more suffocatingly. You’re bawling because you have to commute to work and you seriously can’t handle the stress of trying to find, let alone afford, another car at the moment. You’re bawling because things are hard right now and you’re doubting everything.

Normally, when I’m down, I try to escape by leaving reality for a bit, whether it is through gaming or reading or writing. I “leave” and deal with other people’s problems, which are always so much greater than mine, yet easier to solve. While gaming, I just kill things and relieve stress; while reading, they have to figure it out, not me; and while writing, my characters have to figure it out (though sometimes, that actually does fall on me). Regardless, it is refreshing and relaxing and oddly empowering. So, naturally, when this was all going down, I turned to writing as an escape and tried to work on my current project, only to be even further discouraged. Doubt had found me there, too, even though I started a new project with fresh ideas, different characters and new twists from my previous trilogy.

Your story doesn’t have enough meat to it. It’s going to be too short. Nothing even happens in it. There isn’t enough action. You’re not smart enough to write science fiction. Sure, it’s expanding to now include an unplanned-sequel, but that doesn’t matter, because no one is going to read the first one. Look how well your first series worked out.  

I mean, damn, Doubt can be a bitch.

I’ve always had these thoughts concerning my writing, though I usually fight through it and keep writing, regardless of what the voices say. I’ve doubted my precious trilogy numerous times, yet that didn’t make completing it taste any less sweet. Perhaps the exact opposite, actually. I hoped, trying a new vein and starting a new story, set in a dying world with some political commentary and technology I’m not familiar with–but excited to learn about–that Doubt wouldn’t be so quick to invade. Especially as I’ve been dealing with so much doubt regarding my career, my finances and my independence in my real life (not to mention the constant doubt surrounding my body image and unyielding single status). Writing is where I am meant to escape doubt, not be plagued by it so deeply that it took days for me to get a single scene written, my mood never elevating like it usually does after a writing session.

Here’s the thing. Here’s the hard truth: this is life. I’m a 23 year old young “professional” who just graduated college and is still trying to figure out how to adult. Finances are going to be hard to figure out. Adjusting to the adult life is going to be hard; stressful; tear-inducing. Doubt is a demon that has always plagued me. Yet, in that same vein, doubt is the demon I’ve always slain. It’s a part of life. It’s part of growing, a part of learning and a part of prevailing. Even with writing–my sacred, sacred craft and passion–doubt is not banned there. But neither is it eternal.

Amidst this past weekend where I’ve felt like everything is falling apart and I can’t keep myself together long enough to survive it, I worked 10 hours of overtime. My car got fixed. My parents were supportive, both financially and emotionally. The weather was beautiful. I came out with a new workout motivator that I will hopefully start using (soon). I got past that scene I dragged through and am in the middle of writing a new scene that makes it easy to push out the Doubt that nags at me; a scene that, instead, makes me want to point a certain bird at Doubt and claim, “This shit is gold.” I’m in the middle of a book–it nears closer and closer to the end and I am not ready–that constantly makes my own problems seem pale and increases the risk of me being late to work each day as I try to slip in another chapter. Life is good.

Life is also stressful. Life is hard. The demons of doubt surround, engulf, suffocate. Yet they need to be there. They need to be experienced. Because then that same doubt can be learned from and, eventually, overcome, in one form or another. Don’t give into doubt but don’t ignore it, either. Instead, stay positive, focus on what makes you happy in life and strive to find more things to increase that happiness. Fight your battles and know when you need a break. But never give up. I got this. You got this. Lets slay some demons.

Cheers.

 


Catch-22: My Life Edition

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.

My solution?

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?

Cheers.