oop (or, beep beep)

ok, ok, ok. So it’s been almost two months. I sounded real confident about regular posting. But here’s the thing: sometimes there’s just nothing to write about, and sometimes there’s just nothing I want to write about. In this instance, it’s a little bit of both.

Up top, I made a very quick, hasty decision to do the antithesis of this whole post series: I bought a new car. None of my goals have changed, and the decision only made those goals harder, but I think it will prove to have been worth it. I was thinking about how in five years I’ll be starting a mortgage, and the last thing the bank will want to see is a new car loan too. I was thinking about all of the things I wish I had, and all of the benefits in a new car. I had no room to transport things, but I didn’t want to swap my tiny car out for a huge gas guzzler either. Thanks to the used car crisis, I was also able to sell my car for another $3,000 more than when I’d looked a year before. And thanks to the computer chip shortage, my slightly-used car actually ended up with more technology features than it’s current-year successor.

All of these reasons kind of coalesced, and here I am: the proud owner of a slightly used, one-year-old Ford Escape Hybrid, and a few weeks out from taking it on it’s first road trip. I couldn’t be more excited, though the prospects of which have caused a steady stream of purchases I otherwise wouldn’t be making. I’ve written before about the changes I’m seeing in my spending habits, and this series of spending lately would normally have led me into a spiral of self-doubt and self-hatred. But one of those recent changes is a mental clarity and a dedication to brutal self-honesty.

As an example. My last big vacation ended with me across the country, alone, and $2k deeper into debt. Ironically, it was also shortly after purchasing my last car and paying off a ton of debt, as if the vacation was a little treat. I’m not a big vacationer. Since then I’ve done one single weekend trip to New York. The reasoning? That $2k spiraled into further self-medicating chaos, and that medication was spending, henny. Now I have an actual plan, not to mention a vacation partner, and I’m going into the vacation with the majority of spending paid off – no $2k debt when it’s all over this time around. In fact, for the first time in my adult life, I have every bill paid off for the month and “accidentally” had an extra $600 in my bank account that I didn’t know was even there! I quickly turned it into an early credit card payment towards the hotel room purchases, of which 1/2 will be paid back by my cohort anyway. This is a success for me, and evidence of my worry about it later, worry about it never philosophy slowly sinking back into the shoal.

Now it all sounds well and good. But I still budgeted for things I don’t need, and I’ve had my bouts of unnecessary spending. There’s been slips, falls, trips, and swerves. But for me to feel good about anything, especially about finances(!!!) is something special, unusual, spectacular. So why is this my first post in two months, again?

Because it took writing this to actually feel any of this.

I’ve been working for the last 6 days. Certainly not something to complain about, there are people working 12 hour shifts 12 days straight. yadayadayada, this is about me though! I’m exhausted. And what happens in these periods of exhaustion is that all the kumbaya, free spirit, simple living shit slips away and I revert back to my morose teenage bullshit. No matter how much sleep I get, I’m exhausted. I don’t want to talk to anyone. And the last two months have been a lot of these work stretches. It’s the nature of the beast. So I’ve had a lot of time to wallow in my self-prescribed misery.

But I’m hitting my calories. I’m successfully avoiding dairy. I’m walking (on average) my 10,000 steps. I’m losing my 2lbs a week. I went to the doctor. I’ve got over a paycheck’s worth in my savings for the first time literally ever. I’m maintaining my budgets, even with a short-planned vacation thrown in. And most importantly, I’m doing all of that even when on my sad boy shit, which is generally what tends to erode any progress I ever try to attempt.

I always feel like I have to be doing so much or I’m a failure, and that’s what writing these posts to nobody has done for me: really open up to myself about why that is. I can see my growth when I finally start writing. I woke up this morning in a funk, and I won’t pretend: I’ll probably be in one later, too. But for now at least, in this 20 minutes of writing, I can see the tides receding. I’m in control of my money, and my health. I’ve even noticed me sticking up for myself more often than ever at work. And while this vacation is a temporary blip on the way to my goals, I can see I’m on my way to those, too. It’s like all the maps of my step counts, sure some days are under, but some days are over, and the thin curved line averages it all out. Not every day is a win, and sometimes I end up buying the vegan tacos for delivery. But two months ago I’d have given in to the dairy, and the nachos, and the burrito. I may be drinking a Starbucks refresher right now, but two months ago it would be my seventh day in a row, instead of 1 out of 7. Progress is meandering and slow, and not always steady; it ebbs and flows. But it always reveals the shores eventually. (for this metaphor to work please don’t think about climate change and the encroaching sea levels threatening our coastal cities, thank you)

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