I have to say, I’m glad I tried out a “financial diet” recently, and at least that first week went well and I learned from it, because I’m going to have to stretch that initial week into a habit for at least the rest of the year.
To the curious, I’ve had a lot on my plate this past week, which is why I haven’t updated. This could be my final report card for that very same financial diet. I’ll give myself a F+/D- because I just hurtled toward self-destruction at the end there. I lost sight of the goal and pushed myself to the edge. Now I’m fretting about rescheduling my therapy appointment Friday and begging off work Saturday because I’m too close to the bottom of the barrel and am not sure when I’ll get my next check that will give me gas money.
It’s my own damned fault, and I’ve learned some lessons too late. To be more precise, I didn’t even start trying to learn some things that I’m going to need. I let enthusiasm wane, distractions take over, and my fear rule. I skimmed for opportunities online and chickened out at the idea of actually clicking and learning what I can do, minimizing those windows or bookmarking them to come back to later… only to “forget” until many weeks later when the cycle starts over again and I’m back to chapter one, trying to educate myself for a little bit… and on and on it goes. Ugh!
Yeah, that’s how I feel after re-starting from scratch because I just couldn’t absorb it.
I am staring at a brick wall in my path now, at the point where I literally can’t afford to be afraid anymore.
But what am I afraid of, exactly?
I’m still trying to figure that out. I’ve always professed a fear of failure, but in recent months I’ve figured it’s more a fear that I’ll succeed.
I know it doesn’t seem to make sense. More specifically, a fear that I’ll get successful, over-plan and over-commit, burn out, and crash. Then all those gains I made drift away and I’m back to square one, more disheartened and fearful than before.
It’s this kind of vicious cycle that’s led me to wonder about possible Bipolar disorder the past few years (or whatever else has similar behaviors, which is a lot of overlapping things). I’m at the point where if I needed medication and official diagnoses, I doubt I can afford it right now (especially if insurance wants to be a butthead).
I let myself get that low, let my fear take over and paralyze me into inaction. I spent the week trying to avoid my worst distraction habits only to fall into them or use them as a crutch to feel like I had some aspect of control. I liken what I’d done to trying to steer a ship while the rudder’s been disabled. You know that nothing you are doing is affecting the momentum, your course isn’t changing, nothing is responding, but you still won’t remove your hands from the helm and keep turning the controls anyway.
Or you don’t even have a rudder, but fail to recognize that… ouch.
I’m a bit disheartened because after cleaning and organizing most of my kitchen yesterday (my best accomplishment of the weekend), I watched a webinar video about some web course I could take to learn how to get some certain online work. After an hour of watching this video and hearing about the “value” of it (which just made me go “get to the bad news already”) really disheartened me and made my sleep worse. It doesn’t help that most sites for teaching and tips online that include the phrase “this has a value of ____” is code for “scam” (I’d fallen for couple of them a decade or so ago). I am pinching pennies and the idea of forking over so much money is painful right now. I mean, I want to do the things that I was learning about, and I think I’d be good at it if I could make a job out of it, but other things are holding me back.
For one thing, it’s the social media aspect. I haven’t polished my resume in a while, so that’s gonna be a wonderful nightmare all it’s own. But other that this blog, I stopped having an online presence. The trouble is, most everything you want to do online–especially work related–requires some sort of social media page. I got rid of Facebook ages ago and LinkedIn long before that. I have never even tried other outlets, so it would be some abrupt learning curves going on to get back on social media.
The main problem I have is why I’ve stuck to this blog when I’ve wanted to reach out: my name. I have a very unique name which makes it very easy to find me as it is (if the searcher spells it even partly right, which is tricky enough to do). So while on the surface that seems like a good thing, especially if I got myself out there more and people were actively looking for me to work with them or read my content, it’s really a double-edged sword. People have trouble pronouncing it (it’s a telemarketer’s nightmare) when they read it, and if you say it, they couldn’t spell it. It’s rather hard to find “that guy” or “that lady” specifically when you can’t even say their name, let alone spell it for a search. So, that would end up hurting me more in a business sense in the long run. I also have some folks in my past that I’m not partial to being all up in my business, so I’d rather disconnect my name from that.
This is why I’ve been trying to figure out pseudonyms or pen names to use instead, and how much of a hurdle that might be in getting work (or mostly getting paid, but I did get some slight reassurances from my tax preparer when I went in last month that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought).
So, my conundrum comes full circle–wanting to be part of the online community in a sense and make a living working from home as best I can, but also wanting my privacy as much as possible. I also have a job I don’t mind already and want to keep it long as I can stand it; it lets me help folks and be a bit sociable, but the available hours are so minimal I can’t make anything resembling a living off of it, hence my current trouble. I don’t mind working a lot as long as I can enjoy it, make it work for me, and don’t burn myself out on commuting.
Mine’s generally not stop-and-start like poor Peter’s here, but farther and longer for sure. Podcasts are all that keep me somewhat sane when the music gets boring.
I love my little house and don’t mind where I live generally, but it sucks burning so much gas to get anywhere when I must run errands, and I’m too far away for any delivery system that’s not the mail or packages. My car’s getting old and I can’t afford another any time soon, so I have to stretch out what I’ve got (and not drive it as much if I can help it, though I love the little guy).
So, I’ll have to suck it up and establish an online presence again. I just don’t know how I can do it safely and with a penname. Especially some place like LinkedIn where you usually add some kind of job history (at least, when I last was on there) because it’s a big searchable resume. And with a new name lacking a history of it’s own… yeah, problems. On the other hand, using my normal name is plain difficult, and I don’t want to get on some folks’ radars again (especially if they see I’m trying to be a freelancer and could game the system to get me to work for them in some way and re-establish contact).
This is something I’ll be working on all week for sure. But for right now, I’m gonna take the lessons I learned the first week of my financial diet and stretch them out for the rest of the year. I’ll have to probably sell a few things, too, to make ends meet and adjust my backup financial supply for a little while (til I get established online, then go back to minimal payout, annuities being what they are).
The funny thing about the financial diet is I was actually pretty proud of myself. I’d figured out a lot of my priorities and got them in order, and was far happier NOT spending a bunch of money. I was aware, focused better, thinking hard, and working hard to maintain what I was trying to do. I still have the list of “must do’s” up on my desktop and need to write down sticky notes to put all over the house (and write reminders on my refrigerator–I love that dry-erase markers and stainless steel go so well together).
The diet was restrictive, but in a good way, a way I NEEDED it to be restrictive. And I thrived as a result.
Can’t wait to get back to that today, and I’m going to stick to it this time. I have to: until I figure out these online-life and work questions (and bring home the
bacon ham), I really don’t have any other alternatives.