Hungry and Unhappy

Pat Joyce_Try_CC
© Pat Joyce via Flickr

Almost three months without a post doesn’t seem like a good start, at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. But the more I consider the gap the more I’m sure it’s exactly what I needed. When I first posted I was certain this blog would be about my debt, my insurmountable debt. I said full debt repayment was at the top of my list. I made proclamations about lessons learned and shared numbers that made my vision blur. I was serious. I am serious. But about what? The drive behind this space stuttered and stopped because that first post made me pull back and examine what I am doing overall with my life.

I tried to write a follow up post and sketched out ideas the same day my first post went up. I wrote, deleted, wrote, deleted and wrote some more without ever finding my footing. My notions of devising and applying an aggressive debt repayment plan were hollow. The more I plotted the more my morale plummeted and left me feeling removed from who I’m learning I am. Living paycheck to paycheck, my life is made up of constant calculations that often fall short. The community where I work and live neither nurtures my creative in/output nor aligns with my value set. I can see no future from this vantage point. I’m hungry and unhappy in my current state and can find no way to satiate these feelings if I remain unchanging.

So I’m calling a mulligan and declaring this post a do-over. Debt will be discussed, glared at and wept upon, but for now it will not be the primary focus. Because as much as I would like for it to be my sole focus immediately, I know it cannot be. How can I focus on the bigger points in my life, develop myself personally and professionally, when I don’t even have the smaller points sorted out? It’s simple, I can’t.  So, I’m taking my blinders off and focusing on bettering myself in ways that go beyond finances.

To start, here are some of my current goals:

2 Small Goals by end of May
Re-write resume and cover letter after repeatedly putting it off.  
Yep, still putting it off.
Run a Sub-40 5K Done, 38:28.  I’m slow but I’m not finished yet.

1 Medium Goal by end of July
Clean up, restore my Schwinn WorldSport bike. She’s scuffed, dusty, rusty, and in need of some long overdue TLC.  Trying to complete under $160 budget. 
Almost fully disassembled.  Still researching replacement parts/costs.

1 Large Goal by November
It’s kind of a big deal and a lot will change for me once I follow through.  Happy anxious feels are real and once I’ve got a solid plan in place, I’ll post about it.  This goal comes with a hard out of November 12th, 2017.

See Girl Goal

Jeremy Brooks, Budget
© Jeremy Brooks via Flickr

I’m posting this from the library because at the start of February I had my internet service disconnected.  This was after months of searching for discount codes and “limited time offer, price lowering” data level trade outs, anything to lessen the bill but keep my connection.

When I canceled I spoke with Juanita, a very kind lady who remained mostly kind when she offered me a small discount to stay connected and I declined.  As a former retail worker I assumed there was some kind of sign up/stay signed up quota attached to her day and I’d messed that up.  So when she questioned why I didn’t want the no strings attached lower payment, I felt obligated to answer truthfully.  Hourly workers united and such.

I blurted out that my finances were out of hand.  I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, was going rounds with a student loan company to ensure my lowered dues carried over into the new year, and I really needed to cut anything that wasn’t necessary.

Juanita paused and then offered, “Well, why don’t you just re-enroll in school part-time?  That’s what my daughter did so she could put her loans on hold a little longer.”  Juanita and I joked about the idea but there was a solemn tone to our exchange, an unspoken acknowledgment that everything was wrong with the picture we’d just painted.  It was still the most up front conversation I’d had recently with anyone about finances.

Returning to school part-time is an idea I’ve been kicking around and the more I consider it the better it sounds.  Absurd, yes, but still better.  In truth, I won’t do it because despite the short burst of freedom it will allow, that freedom would be false and ultimately only add more depth to the financial hole I’ve dug for myself.

To give you an idea of how deep that hole currently is, I’m going to be more honest with you that I was with Juanita.  Yes, my finances are out of hand and below is a breakdown of just how out of control they are.  The amounts listed are USD.

  • •$7,000 credit card debt (Two, maxed out.)
  • •$10,500 car loan
  • •$49,500 private student loans
  • •$127,000 government student loans

Total debt $194,000.  Do you understand why I wanted that $50/month back?

Talking to Juanita put things into perspective for me, namely that my situation is becoming all too common but also that I’d rather penny pinch to meet a goal that benefits me, not only to make ends meet.  This is a scary place to be and I don’t intend to occupy it much longer.  There are so many things I want to accomplish and full debt repayment is absolutely at the top of that list.

Welcome to See Girl Goal!  I’ve got a lot of work to do.