The Phil Wells Dot Com

I Got A Big Mouth

Tag: stress

“Me First” March

 

This month is about taking back some time for myself.  January and February were relentlessly full of day-job work, which is to be expected.  It’s a high-pressure deadline-driven job and I expect to be challenged by it.  But I was beginning to feel stressed.  I was neglecting myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job.  But I also love writing and learning new things independently.  I love doing creative things and making people smile with my art.  I was getting no time for any of that.  I wasn’t exercising.

That’s changing this month.  This is “Me First” March.  Since February 28 I’ve exercised every day and done an hour of homework every day.  Well, yesterday I rested my body and just did two hours of homework, but I’m still counting it.

What kind of homework is it?  Well, it’s either learning something new about MySQL, studying for the ITIL v3 Foundation Certification exam, playing bass guitar for an hour, or writing creatively for a solid hour.  On top of all that, Lent is around the corner and I’ll be giving up drinking until vacation time in April.  I’m also staying away from fried foods, added sugars, and white starches.

More than anything I think the act of stealing back an hour or two every day for myself has rebooted the part of my brain that was just going through the motions with work stuff.  I get into the office now and I budget my hours more effectively.  And, more importantly, I leave the office now and feel like I’ve left the work that needs to be done back at my desk.  I’m not carrying it around like I used to.  Life goes on even if I’m not thinking about what forms I’ll need to fill out first thing tomorrow and who I’m going to have to interview before next week.  I feel refreshed.

I’ve been asked by friends what they can do to help. Don’t let me malinger about going to the gym.  And if I’m doing homework, leave me alone for an hour.  Just make sure I’m having fun.  If I seem stressed get me to say something funny.  The good news is I feel less stressed already.  I feel empowered.  I feel like I’ve taken part of my life back.  Maybe I’ll extend this into April.

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Having No Cash Is Stressful

I’m out of cash again, and that’s always sad.  I’ve been accused of stoic coolness in the face of adversity as well as in times of abundance.  Like the book says I’ve got two settings: Off and Super Cool.  But when money gets tight, that’s when I really start to feel the pressure and it affects my emotions.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  Everyone has heard the statistic that most fights in relationships are about finances.  I’m willing to bet most of those arguments are based in not enough to go around and not in the misappropriation of large chunks of money.  No one likes being broke.

Today I’m taking mom out to a movie and dinner, but my cash is at zero, and so I’ve had to swallow my pride and resign myself to charging the day’s activities to my credit card.  I hate this.  Charging meals and entertainment stirs up such visceral bile in my gut that I need to sit down and breathe deep just thinking about it.  Hate hate hate.

However, I’ve just looked at my credit card balance and I am crushing this thing.  It’s lower than I’d imagined because I’ve been automatically clobbering it in addition to all the little snowflakes I’ve been tossing its way.  I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’m clearly catching up.  So I’ll charge a little today and pay it off right away on payday.  Just this once, for mom’s sake, it isn’t the end of the world.  The money’s  taking care of itself, and my stress level is less  affected than I’ve let it get in this situation before.

The truth is the credit card company doesn’t know me, and that will be their downfall.  They mail me slips of paper with their recommended minimum payments because they think I’m just another simple consumer who’ll pay the minimum.  But that’s not me.  I know that isn’t how you claim victory over the vultures.  You pay big.  You pay quicker than they’d accounted for so their interest rate can’t work its treachery.  I’m a savings-snowflaking, quit-drinking-till-it’s-paid, lunch-packing force of willpower and patience.  I’ve got a family to start and a home to create.  I don’t have time to trifle with some loan sharks out of Wilmington.  My plan has accelerated.  What I had aimed to achieve in three years, I now will achieve in one.  By 2010 I will owe zero dollars to Visa, to Chase, and to the government.

Hunger, which yesterday was my enemy, shall be the tip of my spear.