Well, no meteor, but the dog suddenly revealing what “supposedly yummy treasure” she ingested from who-knows-who’s yard all over blankets and the floor a couple hours before bedtime is a helluva substitute for a universal F-you. I’d planned to stay up a while with a list of things to at least get a good start on related to job searches after a relaxing shower and some Texas red. Instead, I’ll likely be downing the coffee, checking on the pup and the laundry half the night, and trying not to freak out as I squeeze pennies from some rather dismal accounts into a new plan, which may become my first realistic, workable budget.
You know those days when you get the day going, realize how it’s going to end up psychologically, and you just wanna go pull the covers over your head and start over tomorrow? I had several of those this past week. In a row. And today became another doozy.
I swear, it’s like every day I opened the mail, more b.s. from the universe would come out. Getting a bill for something that’s not even mine, but was once mine and I gotta make a phone call and get some documents to resolve it. Then a letter about a tax lien–or the threat of one–on a house I don’t even own anymore (and haven’t for years), in a situation that I was told had apparently been resolved. So, that’s another few phone calls I’ll have to make Monday, hoping like hell that this isn’t gonna start another months-long cycle of people not knowing what the hell’s going on or why when it should’ve been resolved two damned years ago, let alone two months ago.
And then I was gonna sit down and do my taxes yesterday, only to see a blank where the federal withholding amount should have been. I thought it was a typo, because I’d NEVER seen it blank, only to find out that the rules apparently changed and they don’t automatically take out federal withholding anymore, or at least, in certain circumstances. It could be that I made too little, but I thought they ALWAYS took it out, like social security and Medicare. Seems the rules have changed a bit since the last time I had to fill out a W-4 (back in 2016), so the new forms didn’t clue me in to this weirdness.
And now, that just means I definitely have more I’m gonna have to pay out of pocket this year, on top of increased property taxes that drained my reserves, just before a car repair bill that sucked the rest of it dry.
I’ll let Bones finish my thoughts on that:
It’s times like this that really test your ability to keep cool and collected, or meditate, or find your happy place or whatever. And mine were being tested big time. Things are piling up faster than I’d anticipated, and I’m through the bottom of the barrel and scraping out a sub-basement with my fingernails. They’re still being tested, and I’m trying not to push my angry mind into a migraine by accident. Having gaming walkthrough vids on for noise or to watch has helped some (I still can’t believe a game like Conker’s Bad Fur Day actually got made, though watching it in pieces helluva distraction, even if the crude humor is just too much at times), but then reality sets in and I come crashing back down to Earth.
It doesn’t take much to remind me of how serious things are getting, and my naivete and lack of financial education
and those around me with real life experience who figured I’d read it out of a book and “get it” just fine so they wouldn’t have to teach me, even if I ended up more confused and it was obvious I could NOT get it on my own really pisses me off.
My parents weren’t much for discussing money. My dad would get annoyed, open my bills without permission (it’s a federal crime tampering with the mail, dad!), pay off credit cards for me when I ran them up, and lecture me about being stupid and using the cards. I’d get mad at him for that because I figured I’d dug this hole, I needed to learn how to get back out of it again. I avoided telling him how bad it was because I knew he’d try to pay it. I wanted to learn (even if it would’ve been the hard way). But the man wasn’t a patient teacher, and just told me never to use the cards except for emergencies. That was all well and good, and would work for a while, but inevitably, I was in jobs that paid minimum wage if not less, was trying to pay my way through school, and one little emergency and I’d start falling behind on paying things, and voila–back to those damned cards.
Could we have handled it better? Oh, I’m sure of it. I’m sure there’s other questions I could’ve asked and other things I could have tried (hindsight being the bitch it is and all). I do remember most of the worst screaming matches I observed growing up revolved around money and spending habits… which is probably why hackles and defenses would raise among everyone in the family when there was a debate about money and no one wanted to talk about it.
It’s become more clear to me over the years that largely thanks to this lack of education and proper discussion, I’m one of those folks who would eventually come into some money without much sense or experience in handling it. Cue rarely having my own money to manage as a kid, my impulsive tendencies and depression spending as an adult (possible bipolar symptom) and it doesn’t take much to make things crappy. If I actually made enough for a good living instead of scraping by, this wouldn’t be so bad (still bad, but not nearly as bad). I unfortunately had to get to this point to realize that as much as I don’t mind my current job, I absolutely need to stop doing things for free (or giving stuff away instead of selling it, or not asking for what things are worth) and get online and find some good online jobs.
I know there are oodles of sites out there that have jobs where I can work from home. Considering my weird schedule with my one paying job (late afternoons to evenings most days) and atrocious gas prices these days, it would HAVE to be a work at home job (or 2 or 3 if I enjoyed ’em, whatever keeps me not just afloat, but bailed out and on the way to drydock for refit). I’ve always had jobs where the work was okay or I really liked it, but they were dead-end jobs that would either suck me dry for little reward if I wanted to go to some kind of leader position, or it was a job anyone could theoretically do.
Or middle-of-the-night work, which I think I’m getting too old to do. Can’t pull all nighters anymore–they screw me up for days, and I’m actually enjoying exercise again.
As much as I say I have plans and desires to do far more with my life, I’ve worn those cement shoes so bloody long I can’t chisel them off. I keep staying put even though the water’s coming in and I’m in danger of drowning.
I figured it out this week, or at least I think I did: I’m one of those “smart” people who peak in school, but can’t hack it in the real world. I don’t believe I ever developed intrinsic motivation… or at least, not a working version of it.
Definitely more what I was used to, if not quite that scary. But I sure didn’t want to disappoint teachers, co-workers, bosses, etc., either.
For me, school was easy: there were things to learn and assignments, you did them, you got results, and move along. Even college, you had someone setting up the rubric and the syllabus, topics to discuss, a slightly narrowed topic of research, do it all in this timeframe, turn it in, get diploma after a few years.
I kept looking around me and wondering how the hell everyone else seemed to just “get” this thing called life, whether outwardly successful or not. I’d done that for years, wondering what was up with me and why I couldn’t seem to do those things I wanted most or managed to talk myself out of them. Mostly it was me seeing the end result I wanted to achieve with no clue how to start it, or where to go after the first step or two.
I was so used to operating with a set of rules given by others that I had no idea how I was supposed to function without them, or how to develop my own.
And that’s terrified me the past few days, because this is the year that it HAS to happen. I literally can’t afford to be scared to succeed or fail anymore. I played it simple and safe for far too long, and it got me nowhere but a slow downhill slide that’s getting a bit steeper every year (thank you lack of wage increases and inflation, partly). What annoys and scares me most about this is why did I just now figure this out?
Why couldn’t I have figured it out sooner? Or maybe I did, but I was too chickenshit to do anything about it and dismissed the thought?
I sure hope not.
But yeah, if I’m lucky, an evening of laundry thanks to my hairy girl yawning in technicolor might get me a good start into a brighter future.
Or maybe that’ll be the halo-effect from bleary eyes and too much computer screen time. Fielder’s choice.
My plan was to work on my taxes and get them finished tonight so I could figure how much I owe and if I need to do a payment plan, then get all my expenses together and do a budget. But I’m too wrought and volatile (and frankly, pissed off) to do those numbers and forms justice right now. Best to start with a clear head in the morning. Tonight should be a night for planning, for coming up with ideas that are bold and interesting, even if only because the wine’s a bit too potent (or maybe sour because I haven’t had any in ages), but there’s nothing left to lose. If I stop spending money beyond paying bills, food, and gas, that’s it right there. There really IS nothing left to lose anymore. I need to try to actually win rather than do enough to avoid losing.
My comfort zone hasn’t been comfortable in ages. It’s like “pretty” cement shoes, pinching the toes, cramping my arches, killing my calves, and making my feet stink (even if I keep changing the color for some variety). Still, not a good fit for me, and needs to go away.
So, this is gonna be a mentally exhausting weekend. I’ll resume working out tomorrow when things get rough and I need a physical break (have a feeling that’ll be very, very necessary… and I’ve already staggered the exercise plan out). Plenty of house-cleaning and dirt to take out that aggression when the elliptical isn’t enough, too.
Time to start living and stop stalling. I’m sure you’ve seen that sentiment from me before… plenty of times… but honestly, this has to be the year it actually happens. And I’ll be learning extra hard (and asking lots of help from those who’ve been there around me) how to prevent this crapshow in the future.
I’ve cooked up too many dreams to leave them ALL as dreams. Some need to become my reality, otherwise, what’s the bloody point?