I’m suffering from ‘budget blues’.
You know the symptoms:
Nervous sweats when the bills…I mean, mail, comes through the mail slot.
Fried nerves while balancing expenses with income.
The penny-pinching finger cramps while trying to hold on…to every…(strain) last… (grunt)…penny.
The ‘why, God, why’s when a surprise expense chokes you, just when you were about to finally dig yourself out of a debt hole.
The ‘grass is greener’ envy that paints everyone else’s scenario better than your own!
The moral miserables that chastise you for being ungrateful, having been born among the richest 2% of the world’s population.
My budget blues run in a vicious cycle. I begin to feel down due to ‘lack of funds’. My initial response is usually one of panic and self-loathing for letting things get so out of hand. Then I start coming up with an inordinate amount of jobs or career opportunities that will fix the problem (there’s got to be SOMETHING safe (and morally sound) that I could do on the internet to make money!). After being ‘talked down’ by my patient, calm, centered husband (how does he do that?!), I come to the ultimate conclusion: we need to get back on budget! Finally, feeling the figures can be fixed, I revamp, revise, pie-chart, and spreadsheet my new outlook. Upon looking at the figures, I’m tempted, for a brief moment, to feel sorry for myself. However, the moral cash register DINGS, signalling my conscience to start an oh-so-familiar round of soul boxing, delivering my western reality and privileged existence as a one, two punch and I’m down for the count.
I know it doesn’t have to be this way. In the logical part of my mind I know that money, or lack thereof, isn’t everything. However, there is a process that I’ve been going through, that started when I decided to take this year off (from a job that has been a part of my life since I started performing and earning money at age 8). At first the change felt odd and uncomfortable, like stiff, unworn, new shoes. Slowly, as I walked through this ‘time off’, it began to feel less foreign and more comfortable. I became mentally available to my family and strangely enough, myself. That availability opened up other opportunities (including writing and creating Becoming Ordinary). Although the new shoes are feeling comfy now, I feel like (from the outside) they just don’t seem as valuable as my old pair. My old pair (or career) had me earning money which in turn, helped me share our family’s financial burden. I feel guilty because I am not contributing financially. And if I’m honest, In my darker moments, I am fighting feelings of self judgment and inadequacy.
Pondering these feelings of inadequacy has forced me to a realization. A realization that does not come as a shock. In fact, I have experienced the exact same realization before. However, every time I rediscover it, it burrows further and nestles itself deeper in my heart and mind: I am EXACTLY where I want to be. I have slowed down my life to enjoy my kids before they don’t want me around anymore! Everyday I work as a Mom, a wife, a volunteer, a writer and part-time computer hack. And just because there isn’t a paycheck attached to the majority of my present work, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t valuable; and just because I have to continually remind myself of this, doesn’t make it any less true!
I may have started this posted feeling blue by the tightened purse strings and the endless barrage of bills. However, my situation constantly forces me to re-evaluate my priorities and what’s important to me. I’m beginning to see my current choices like any REALLY GOOD investment opportunity. You do whatever it takes to not let an amazing investment opportunity pass you by. We may be living with less according to the bank statement, but at least I know this investment will pay off in the end.
Becoming Ordinary: Day 183