Friday, May 10, 2013

A More Zen Approach

I'm a pretty mellow person, at least, that's how I present myself to other people.  While I don't get caught up in a lot of time and energy consuming nonsense or personal drama, I do tend to get fixated on certain things--especially money things.  I've worked since I was 15, and I've worried about money since I was, I don't know, 8?  I think the first time I touched money I became acutely aware of the fact that all I could really do with it was spend it and then have none.

Since starting the job that I've now been at for about a year and a half, I've been lucky enough (after figuring out my budget) to sock away a decent amount of money--at least I've rebuilt my emergency fund from when I was unemployed.  I've also been able to pay a decent amount on my student loans and make a little bit of progress.  Certainly it's not as much progress as I'd like, but that's where my new zen approach comes in.

I've been obsessing--about money, work, everything to the point where it was really starting to make everything shitty.  I've had a lot of work drama in the last few months, none of it my fault, but despite my best efforts, I really let it get to me.  Add to that the regular stress of money, and the fact that money seemed like something more under my control, and I became quite unpleasant.

The problem is, even though you have a plan on paper, real life doesn't always work out exactly as you plan, and then that adds yet another layer of stress because failing to meet a goal is stressful.

So I've decided I'm all done with that.

I will no longer:
  • Mentally take my work home with me, because they don't pay me enough to do that, and I'm not important enough to have that level of stress.
  • Take responsibility for things that are not my responsibility.
  • Try to pay as much as possible on my student loans and obsessively check my balance five times a day.  I'm paying a set amount each month, and no more.
  • Say no to fun things because I need to max out my Roth IRA.
  • Obsessively schedule workouts so I'm too tired to do anything but run and recover.
I will continue to:
  • Pick up extra work shifts
  • Use coupons occasionally
  • Seek out free things
  •  Put money into savings and IRA and watch my balances grow, but not freak out when it happens gradually
  • Ride my bike to work, the store and the farmer's market
I will finally:
  • Spend more time writing
  • Hem that stupid dress that's been sitting on my desk for months
  • Keep a neat and organized house
  • Stop accumulating STUFF
It's actually pretty relaxing to just stop trying to control everything.  I wasn't being successful at it anyway, so really, just saying hands off is kind of nice.  I'm much happier when I'm not making myself miserable, which I really should have figured out a while ago.  It seems so simple.

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