Since taking a good hard look at my finances the other day, and seeing that my money is so tight, I’ve highly felt the need to earn some extra income. And cut my expenses even more, if that’s even possible.
I won’t lie to you. I felt moments of sheer panic. Moments when I could feel my breath becoming shallow. And wondering if I would ever be able to move someplace near the water and even afford $600/month again for rent, or even a tiny house mortgage?
I also felt anger at myself for not being able to afford a simple one bedroom apartment on my own. Me, the one with the law degree and the master’s in library science now working on yet another degree. How is it I’m only making $24,000??? What is WRONG with me and why did I throw so much away?? WHAT WAS I THINKING?
So, I’m here to tell you that while yes, it’s important to follow or “chase” your dreams, it is not always easy. My life and apartment look nothing like those Instagram photos that people like to share where they always wake up near a gorgeous sunrise and everything is all hunky-dory.
I’m still using those plastic drawers for my clothes I had in my RV. I have book crates that I use as book cases and as the base for my bed which has a mattress on it from Walmart that I bought for a whopping $129 and because it could be easily shipped to my house, and unrolled from the box and voila, a bed is born! Oh, have I mentioned my bed is in the living room which is now mainly my bedroom? (By the way, the mattress works just fine. No need for me to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars.)
I’m 45. This is definitely NOT how I thought I would be living my life 20 years ago. Not even 10 years ago, or even when my marriage ended. But then again, back then, I was anything but honest with myself.
So, back to those moments of panic I was feeling. They were combined with feelings of anxiousness at wanting to do so many things at one time to get myself into a better financial position. Should I apply to all the transcription companies I can find? Should I apply to be a transcription editor? (So far I’ve heard back from the three I applied to, and they’re interested in going further through the process of me.) Should I spend the $199 for the freelance writing course I just heard about from one of my favorite YouTubers, Kristin Wong, as an investment in my future goals of wanting to create income through my writing? (Here is her YouTube channel.)
And if I do get multiple positions for transcribing, and I start writing and submitting to places, and I’m still going through the humane education program, HOW CAN I POSSIBLY DO IT ALL? Will I have time to sleep?
And what if I’m just kidding myself? What if I never get published anywhere, and my writing actually sucks? Oh, sure, I can talk a good game sometimes about how I want to derive more of my income from writing and transcription jobs, when push comes to shove, and I sit down and try to write for anything other than this blog, I get scared and all that negative self-talk finds its way to occupy center stage in my mind? I know some REALLY GOOD writers who struggle to make ends meet. How could I dare to think I might have any better luck than them?
Do you see the spiraling that was occurring in my mind? I do, looking at it now. And I started to feel it then, and caught myself staring off into space, trying to figure it all out. The good thing is, I recognized it for what it was. Panic. And I forced myself to breathe. And then I pulled out my journal.
To calm myself, I forced myself to write down three questions, all having the word FOCUS being written in all caps.
- FOCUS – What am I good at?
- FOCUS – What do I like to do?
- FOCUS – What am I unhappy about with my life right now?
Yes, that third question can quite possibly grow out of control if I let it. But I felt like the first two were more positive and might help me figure out my way of dealing with what gets listed under the third. Below is what I came up with at that time.
What am I good at?
Writing, proofreading, transcribing, research
What do I like to do?
Write, color, be outside in nature, exercise, spend time with my animals, read/edit other people’s work, research, read, teach others
I noticed that the word write/writing was in both categories, as was the word “research.” It shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering it’s what I loved about being an English major in college – writing. It is what got me through law school – writing for and getting published by the Environmental Law Journal, and all that research that went along with it. It’s what kept me in my job as a librarian for so many years – my love of research. The hunt and the thrill of finding something you thought might just be impossible to uncover. (And it’s what I miss now.)
And that’s when I thought to myself, “You’ve always been a hard worker. When push comes to shove, you get out there and work your ass off, just like your mom. You CAN and WILL change your life, your location. It might not happen overnight. But you WILL find a way.”
So, I’m trying. I’m trying to get that extra work. I did sign up for the writing course because I’d like to learn from someone who has been successful in the world of freelance writing. I am going through the assessment process for a few transcription companies and I’m going to apply for a proofreading (independent contractor) position this week. And when school starts, I will do my best to keep it all together. And I WILL make enough money to live on like a normal person! 🙂
Eventually, I WILL live near the coast in a warmer climate than Boston!
So when you start to feel overwhelmed, like I did, just take a moment and stop yourself. Start writing down things that are going through your mind. FOCUS. And see the commonalities. And then, instead of just moaning and groaning about how you don’t like your present situation, take one step. Just start doing SOMETHING to change your situation. YOU will have taken control. Not your anxiety or your fears. YOU.
I hope this post can help someone else as it’s been cathartic for me to write it. Please hit the like button, or subscribe to my blog, comment below or share it with someone it might help. And, thank you, as always, for reading!