So what’s next?

BEACH
Bunche Beach at sunset

That is a very good and very loaded question.  As you know, I’m back in Florida because the cold in the northeast was too much for me to handle after being away from it for a few years.  Apologies in advance if this post seems a bit disjointed but I hope you like the pictures.  I’m trying to work through some things that keep bouncing around in my mind.  Writing helps to clarify them sometimes.  So here goes….

I have been working hard at the legal transcription, working for a few different companies as a 1099.  They pay better than the one I have been working with the past year or so.  When you type as much as I do, 25 cents/page more can really add up in terms of how much you make every week.  So I work hard and I make my deadlines and in so doing, create a good reputation for myself with those folks.

Finances:

To put it bluntly, they haven’t been great since I left my job at Harvard.  Toward the end of my time in Boston, I didn’t have credit cards.  When I decided to move to Utah, I got myself one, “just in case.”  Dumb move on my part.  I now have two cards that are almost maxed out (one only got to that point a month or two ago when my Sophie cost me $3K at the vet when she had to get an MRI.)  I owe my roommate about $1K from when we moved in (we owed first, last and security deposit plus an un-refundable pet deposit which really added up.)   The credit cards are at 20% and 15%.  They are just killing me with the interest.

So I know that some may disagree with this decision, but I have decided to take money out of my retirement to pay it all off.   Yes, I know it has long-term consequences.  I hate myself for taking from my future self.   But with the rate of interest I am paying now, I see this as the best thing to do.  My retirement funds aren’t earning 20% per month.

We are also withholding money to handle the tax bill when it comes — borrowing from myself before I’m 59 1/2 means the amount distributed gets imputed to me as income for the year and I also pay a 10% penalty on the amount withdrawn.  I have about $212K in retirement right now and am taking a distribution of about $19,900 in total.  Living in Florida, I only pay federal income tax, thankfully. So that will help for sure, come tax time.  My plan is to then close out the credit cards, one by one.   (They’ve been in the freezer for about 6 weeks now.)   I will probably keep my Care Credit card just for pet emergencies and even then, I’d rather stab a fork in my eye than have to use it.

PALM TREE

Once the cards are paid off, I am going to focus on building up my savings for a few months and then start paying extra on either my car or my private student loan.  The car loan is below $2K at this point, and I have a very good interest rate of about 3.9%.  My payment is roughly $142/month.  The private loan is down to about $8900 and because the rate is variable, it is up to about 5.25% right now.  My payment is about $97/month.  

My federal loan payments are based on my income, so I pay about $10/month for each one (two total).  Yes, the payments are strung out for years and years, but I’m fine with that trade-off because it allows me to live my life. And when I look at how much I have paid back over the years, trust me, the federal government has gotten a lot of money paid back from me — the principal amount borrowed and then  A LOT in addition.

I am also starting up a Roth IRA because all of my other retirement savings are what we call tax-deferred, so when I do start taking money out on a regular basis, I’ll get hit with the taxes at that point.  With a Roth, I’ve already paid the taxes so distributions later on will be tax free.  (If you’re reading this from outside the US, I realize this may not make sense at all.  My country is screwed up, what can I say?)

I really don’t spend much money at all, other than on food for myself, my animals, and to put gas in my car.  The other day I did buy a yearly parking sticker for Lee County which cost $60, but now I can park at many nature preserves and some beaches and not have to worry about feeding meters. Knowing how much I plan to use these spaces in the upcoming year, I know it’s a good choice for me.  I really do love my time spent outside in nature, hearing the birds sing or listening to the wind ruffle through the trees around me, hearing the waves crash onto the shore.

I go to the library a lot to work (when I want to be around people), and to check out books (yes, I still like the hard copy feel in my hands.)  So that’s free and doesn’t cost me anything other than the cost of gas to get there.  And I don’t go every day because I have my own home office at this duplex and the animals all tend to congregate with me anyway, and that is a super calming feeling.

Living plans for next year:

I do have a roommate and for reasons I won’t go into on here, I know we will be going our separate ways next year when the lease is up.  So I’m planning ahead and considering my options.  Do I move someplace cheaper and smaller with my animals?  Perhaps.  Do I somehow buy a trailer and finally pull the cord and do the nomadic thing?  Working remotely as a transcriptionist will allow me to do that.  But I would likely need to get another vehicle if I do that — one that can tow even a small trailer or a Class B type vehicle.

If it were just me and I didn’t have my furballs to feed and care for, I would be happy with just a small teardrop trailer, honestly.  But it’s not just me.  There are three, albeit senior, cats to worry about as well as my two small pups.  I want them to be comfortable.   The cats are approximately 14, 13 and somewhere between 12-15 in age. (With Honey Bun, we’re not totally sure of her age.)  Snuggles is roughly 10-12ish and I was told Sophie was 7 last year, but I have my doubts as to the accuracy of that. I think she’s younger.

Being able to work from home, I see what they do all day.  They sleep, eat, drink water and poop.  Sophie plays with Steel (my roommate’s German Shepherd, on whom I think she has developed a crush; it’s so cute), but even then there’s a whole lot of sleeping going on.  Even so, I want them to have enough space to feel comfortable.

However, I don’t want something that is built like crap and gets terrible gas mileage.  And let’s be honest, most RVs are built like crap.  And I am not a handy person, to say the least.  So whatever I go with, I want it to be pretty simple, because let’s face it, I’m a simple person when it comes down to it.  I’m considering the Wee Roll campers which are made in Florida, among others.   They are lightweight, would allow me to stand up, can have an AC built in (necessary with animals), aluminum, and over-constructed from what I have read about them. I like the sound of all of that.

BLUE AND CLOUDS
Love the blueness of the water from nearby Jaycee Park on a warm afternoon

I have been considering trying to see a lot of national parks.  Living in the southwest, although I was far from the ocean, I was able to see some amazing ones, and lived super close to Zion National Park. (It blows my mind to this day how close by I was, and yes, I did take advantage of it.)   I have been reading different books about them, and want to really see more of this beautiful country. I’ve never seen the Grand Tetons, or Olympic National Park and the forests near there.  I’ve never seen the Badlands.  So many different mountain ranges in this country that I’ve never seen, or only seen from the window of a plane.

I want to live simply.  I want to see things before I die.  I am happy being with myself as my own company.  Yes, I sometimes feel lonely, but that happens with everyone.  I like my freedom, not having to respond to an invitation to hang out (when it rarely does happen, lol) by saying I have to check with my partner’s schedule first.  (Maybe this just means I haven’t met that perfect person for me yet.  Who knows?)

PERSPECTIVE
I like taking pictures and looking at the trees through a different perspective

And honestly, I feel like I was put on this earth to make an impact, in some way, shape or form.  I want to improve at my writing and taking photographs of the landscapes I see around me.  I want to share that with others.  After having read the book, Before They’re Gone, I want to see different parts of this beautiful country I call home and share it with others, be it through my writing or photography.   (The book is about an outdoor writer who takes his family to several national parks over the course of a year and interweaves his thoughts and research about global climate change and its effects on the parks throughout.  I highly recommend it.)    Mandy Lea Photo has been very inspiring to me in that vein as well.  I’ve followed her on YouTube for a long time now.

But I also want to be environmentally conscious, and is my traipsing around everywhere pulling a trailer or driving a Class B or van responsible in that vein?  That’s also led me to thinking about living in an intentional community type situation.  It’s something I have thought about a lot over the years.  Dancing Rabbit is an example of one.   However, then I would have to stay in one place, and I need to do some soul searching to see if that’s really the right thing for me to do at this point in my life.  Many of them allow visitors (Dancing Rabbit even has a visitor program or internship program set up), to allow people to see if it really is a good fit for them or not.

CRAB
Little crab, just because I thought he was cute

So I hope that will happen next year, but if I need a bit more time to do it in a financially stable way, I will take that time if needed.  I’ve made some rash decisions these past few years and they have cost me financially.

I’m still trying to find my way, folks.  I wish I had all the answers.  But then, I wouldn’t have challenges or self-discovery to work through and life would be boring, right?

It’s all about the journey, right?   Thanks for reading, and especially for sticking with me if you are a longtime reader.  I’m working back to writing more regularly.

*Disclosure:  some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.

 

 

 

Why, hello there! (READ: the blog is not dead.)

If you read this whole blog post, this map will make sense. I promise.

No, the blog isn’t dead.  It’s just been on ….. life support, I guess you could say these past several months.  I am so  sorry everyone.  Let me just catch  you up on what has gone on in my life, as succintly as I can, over the last (gulp) 10 months. Read more

Indecision . . . questioning . . . what is the “most good?”

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Image from pixabay.com 

Hi everyone!!

In case you didn’t know, I was out of town for about 11 days, from March 1st to the 11th.  Went to Boston for my dad’s memorial on March 3, and then went to Florida for a conference and to spend some time there on my own.  Since returning home, I’ve been pretty busy!!

Florida:

I LOVED Florida!! I met a lot of really nice people (one guy even gave me a big piece of finger coral which I now have sitting on my desk to remind me of my time there.)  I visited two animal sanctuaries while I was there and individual  posts will be forthcoming about those.  One was Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda, Florida (Gulf Coast side), and the other was Journey’s End Animal Sanctuary in Deland, Florida (Atlantic Coast side).  I met friends in Sarasota who I first met online via Twitter so many years ago! They were super supportive to me during my going through a divorce, so it was so nice to finally meet them and give them big hugs, and meet their kids and their dogs.

Always value the friends you make online.  For me, I think I have made some lifelong friendships that way.

I also went to a humane education conference, which was enlightening for me.  Many of the traditional humane education positions include working at an animal shelter, and with groups of kids, running things like camps and birthday parties.  I think I’ve been pretty honest on here before about my wanting to work with kids, as in, not so much.  So I need to rethink what I want to do with my humane education part of my life, going forward.  There are so many ways to use a humane education background so I’m not worried that it won’t get put to good use.

Indecision:

Many of you know I took a HUGE pay cut when I left Harvard Law Library.  HUGE.  60K HUGE. In addition to taking that cut, I can no longer put as much into retirement (of course, I no longer will need as much since my priorities as to what I need to be comfortable have changed). I also get much less time off, and the health benefits through my current company are not great.

I’ve been struggling with the notion of discontinuing the formal schooling of humane education and trying to get positions just based on what I already know and my background of experiences.  I’ve been told by a few people that I don’t need to do anymore school.  So, most likely, this semester is my last.

No education is ever wasted.  I have learned so much during these past two semesters, especially regarding how I communicate about certain issues, and my word choices.   My teachers have asked us to respond to tough questions, and they are so supportive.  I wish I had had them earlier on in my life, because I think my career path would have taken a much different path.  But….you can’t change or shape the past, only your future, so onward and forward!!

You can’t change or shape the past, only your future, so onward and forward!

Determining “most good”

I’ve been struggling with the idea of how I can do the most good for animals.  Is it by working with them directly?  Or by working at a job that  pays more but might not be necessarily working with them in a hands-on manner, or with an organization specifically dedicated to improving the rights and lives of animals?  I know, only I can know the answer to these questions.

I have seen law library jobs posted (including one at my former employer, Harvard) which I know I am qualified for.  Obviously, they pay more than one that has me working directly with animals.  Working at a job like that again would help to engage the intellectual part of my brain during those hours when I am working for my paycheck and can make a positive impact on my bank account balance.  I could help to donate more  money to causes about which I care.  All of those details are positives.

I think you know when you are doing the “most good” when you are excited to do something every day.  A lot of people say that you don’t have to change the world for all animals, as long as you change the world of a few.  Well, I think I’ve done that for some, but I also don’t feel like I’m way near the completion of improving the lives of many, many animals.

Quandaries:

There is this difficult psychological hurdle to get over when considering returning to a former type of career.  While I know that all life experiences are learning opportunities, a small part of me thinks that by returning to such a life, I’m giving up on my dreams.  Admitting defeat.

The rational side of my brain knows that if I were to go back to being a librarian, I’m not giving up on my dreams.  I’m just making a trade-off.  I might be able to help a larger number of animals if I can donate more, financially, to the cause of animal welfare.  And I will still be able to volunteer on my days off.

But, will I be happy?  Read on, below. 🙂

Trusting my Intuition and Making Decisions:

I have spent some time talking to good friends and a trusted teacher.  She asked me a question that really helped me think.  She told me to imagine that I had interviewed for my old job, gotten it, and was getting ready to return to Boston.  How did I feel?

I hesitated for a bit.  My intuition knew the answer.  My brain just felt hesitant in saying it.  But once I said my answer aloud, it was like I was giving myself permission to say good bye to a portion of my life.  The answer was “I feel like I have a pit in my stomach.  That’s how it makes me feel.”

I also told my professor that as I see jobs listed for animal sanctuaries or shelters, I get excited about applying and the possibilities that are out there for me to explore.  And that tells me something about myself.  I just can’t go back to a job that I once held, without knowing I have exhausted all avenues of finding the right place for me, first. Does that make any sense?

The long and short of it is that I will never be  a rich person, not in the monetary sense.  And I think I have finally made peace with that.  I just spent the past 6 1/2 hours today volunteering at a spay and neuter clinic along with so many other people who had given up their free time to provide a much-needed service in New Mexico and so many other places. It felt amazing.

You know something else?  I didn’t feel like what I did today at the spay and neuter clinic was work.  The time flew.  To me, that’s how I know I was doing what I needed to be doing and what I am meant to be doing.

I didn’t want to leave but knew I had to, as I have homework and freelance work to do today, and maybe get a visit in at the gym or a run at the Bosque.  (I’ve begun work with another transcription company as a legal transcriptionist.  It’s a small company, which I like.  The CEO even called me last week to welcome me aboard as a contractor and in his words, to collaborate on projects.)  I like that when I am working on a new transcription project, I’m always learning about a new topic.

Looking forward:

I have an interview this week via Skype for a position I think I am well suited for, and for an organization that is rapidly growing, so I like the idea of the potential growth something like that can include.  I’m not one of those people who needs to feel like they are always moving upward in a job to feel like they are successful.  But I do like the idea of being able to contribute a lot.  So WISH ME LUCK!  (And if it doesn’t come through, then I know the right place and job is still out there, waiting.  The right place is out there.   I just have to have hope that we will find each other.)

And thanks for reading as always, and being patient these past few weeks since I last posted.  Now that I am back in ABQ, for now, anyway, I will try to get back on track with more regular posting.

Have you ever had to make a decision between taking the safe route or finding your way to a destination unknown? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep paddling, keep paddling, keep paddling, don’t stop.

Ever feel like you’re treading water or like you’re one of those ducks you see swimming on the pond?  You know, looking all graceful and put together, but underneath the surface, there’s a whole lot of stuff going on?

School and Freelance Work:

That about sums things up for me these past few days.  Been getting up at 5 or 5:30, drink coffee, eat a bagel or something else for breakfast and then get started on whatever project needs to be done that day, or on which I think I can make the most headway.  Busy reading not one but two books for my classes at the same time.

Doing some transcribing for my friend Elaine.  Readying myself to work with another company on a weekly basis so I will still have freelance work when Elaine shuts down her company in the upcoming months. (In case you’re wondering from my last post – I decided to only apply to one outside transcribing company, not the three that I was considering.  I was just getting way too stressed thinking about getting all of that work done and finishing my school assignments.  Oh yes, and sleep – sleep is important!!)

Self-Care:

Trying to work out about 3-4 times per week.  I reward myself with 10 minutes on the hydro massage beds that Planet Fitness has for Black Card members afterwards.

Writing:

Writing about who I am as a writer for one of my classes, and trying to not freeze while I’m doing it.   I feel a bit like a fraud.  I just throw words down on the paper, thinking I can go back and edit it afterwards, or if something else comes to me, I can add it then.  There is shortage of ideas or topics I would like to explore with my writing, but who am I as a writer?? That halts the flow of ideas and thoughts.

I don’t know why I feel this way about my writing sometimes.  Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I can define myself in just one or two terms.

“I’ve been finding it easier to write in the essay about what I want to be as a writer rather than what I am now.”

I want to be a fiction writer.  I want to write a memoir — everybody keeps telling me I should write a book about my life since my path has been so unusual.  But who would want to read about my life??

Reviewing Books:

I am so flattered to have been contacted by Ashland Creek Press, located in Ashland, Oregon.  They’ve asked me if I would like to receive some review copies of their books.  Wow!  This is how they describe themselves on their “About Us” page:

Changing the world one book at a time

Ashland Creek Press is a vegan-owned boutique publisher dedicated to publishing books with a world view. We’re passionate about the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife, and our goal is to publish books that combine these themes with compelling stories.

So let’s see — do they seem like a perfect company for me with which to stay in contact??!!  Hell yes!!!

Vegan-owned? Check!
Publishes books with a world view? Check!
Passionate about animals, environment, wildlife and ecology? Check!

So I’ve asked them to send copies of two books to me and I will let you know as soon as I’m done with them, my thoughts.  I would have asked them for more but didn’t want to seem piggish. 🙂

Take a look at their page if you share any of these same interests with me! (And no, they are not compensating me to mention them.)  I’m so excited to see that there are publishers out there who are focused on such markets and topics!

Keeping it all together:

You could say I’m busy, but if you know me, you know that’s the way I am and like to be.  I like to be productive.  I believe my friend Dan would call my hyper-focused at times, or the Energizer Bunny.  I find that using a paper planner and setting a few goals for myself each day helps me keep organized and on track.

“I’ve also been reminding myself to breathe.  I’m a human.  I can’t do it all.  Just focus on what I can get done every day.”

As I’ve said in a recent post, if I want to make changes to my life, I have to do the work.  You can’t just sit around and complain or wish for your life to change, magically, without any effort.

Have you ever felt like there is a bit of pandemonium in your life?   How have you kept things under control? 

As always, thank you for reading!! Please share if this post has helped you or if you know someone that could benefit from it.

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If you need to shop online, I’d greatly appreciate it if you use my Amazon affiliate links or Ebates referral link! Every little bit helps, and it costs you nothing to do so. Thank you!

 

Chasing your dreams, even simple ones, can be difficult sometimes

 

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Image via pixabay.com

I just found out the other day via LinkedIn that a former coworker of mine just left Harvard Law to take a new position at another university, and from the sound of her title, it sounds pretty high up there.  I’m sure the salary corresponds to it well.  This person is a very smart cookie and knows how to negotiate.  (It was only after she got hired there several years ago that myself and another coworker were then given substantial raises in salary (ahem, readjustments.))

Why do I even mention this?  Because it made me feel kind of crappy.  I mean, I was happy for her.  She has always been a very hard worker and an excellent librarian.  She manages working full time with twins and has since had another baby.  And now she has this big-time sounding job. And here I am, scrimping to get by on just under $25K per year, not counting in my freelance work.  It made me question myself.

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Image via pixabay.com

Experiencing Compassion Fatigue and Feeling Burnt Out:

I think I have begun experiencing what they refer to as compassion fatigue.  Receiving multiple calls, day after day, from people who have just adopted a pet but can’t afford to take care of them, can really get to you.  Getting a call in which someone says “my pet just got hit by a car, but I don’t get paid until next week,” is really rough.  I’d love to say to them, “I can help you pay for that,” but the reality is that on $12.50/hour, it’s just not possible.  I have my own bills to take care of.

I’m taking a class in Animal Protection this semester.  I’m going to have some hard emotions to work through.  I already know that.  When I read about factory farmed animals, I experience physiological changes.  I feel it in my heart and in my throat.  I want to yell, scream, or hit something. (Not my pets, of course.  They actually help calm me down.)

The film Earthlings is assigned for us at one point.  (That link goes to the Wikipedia description of the film.)  The teacher has made it clear in the syllabus that we have the option to not watch it.  I haven’t yet figured out if I will or not.  I don’t want to have nightmares as a result, but in learning to be a humane educator, a part of me feels it’s necessary to bear witness to what is going on in this world so I can better advocate and educate humans for those who can’t speak.

Did I also mention that I have been trying to find extra side work with a few transcribing companies?  I have, and going through the assessment process can be somewhat stressful.  But the good news is, this morning I found out from one that they would like to work with me.

Stressing about finding a job in my field or determining what that field is:

In addition to feeling a bit burn out, I’ve been starting to feel a bit down about finding a job that really makes me feel like I’m making a difference and having the funds to make a move sooner rather than later.  (I’d like it to be in the next year or two.)  I spent some time talking/texting with my friend Dan, and applied to be a member of the APHE (Association of Professional Humane Educators) so that I could start networking with others in the field.  My application is currently pending.

They (the APHE) are hosting a conference this March in Orlando, Florida so I’m considering going, but it would be a substantial financial investment for someone at my income level.  And while I like meeting people, and can be extroverted at times, I hate the idea of schmoozing.  I’m just not a schmoozer.  Makes me nauseous when I see others doing it, and my past experiences at conferences showed me that a lot of that goes on.  I hope this field is different, though. So I will let you know if I decide to go.

All of these reasons are why I haven’t posted in about a week.  I just didn’t feel I had anything positive to say, and you know what they say – if you don’t have anything good to say, best to say nothing at all.  It could be the cold weather we have here in ABQ, or the fact that it’s winter, or the fact that payday is still two days away, but I’ve been feeling a bit down.  I’m working through it the best I can.  And trying to get enough sleep.  But nothing is a miracle cure.

Change in my personal life:

Oh, and I broke up with the Canadian boyfriend a few weeks ago.  I’m sure that having that in the background of my mind doesn’t help.  We still talk occasionally.   I know it’s for the better but I think subconsciously, it brings back some feelings I experienced when I left my marriage.  That fear of being alone for the rest of your life and wondering if there’s something wrong with you.  However, truth is, I think I’m not in the right head space or life space to be in a relationship right now.  Not when I’m trying to figure out a lot of things.

I hope you are all doing well, despite the cold and heavy snowfall a lot of the country has been experiencing lately.  Please drop me a line and let me know how things are going for you, or if you’ve felt down at times, and what you’ve done to pull yourself out of it.  Or share this post with someone you think would appreciate or benefit from it.  And as always, thanks for reading.

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If you need to shop online, I’d greatly appreciate it if you use my Amazon affiliate links or Ebates referral link! Every little bit helps, and it costs you nothing to do so. Thank you!

Just being brutally honest

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Image from pixabay.com

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.

  1.  FOCUS – What  am I good at?
  2.  FOCUS – What do I like to do?
  3.  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!

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What do I value and why do I save?

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image courtesy of pixabay.com

I feel like these two questions are interrelated (at least for me) so I’m going to try to tackle them in one post.  When I thought about my long term goals, these questions inevitably rose up in my mind.  And because I love that feeling of opening a journal and finding a blank page and then covering it in ink, I started writing a few lists.

What do I value? (not in any specific order)

  • independence and me-time (to create, to think, to just be content)
  • time in nature
  • exercise/physical fitness
  • eating food that is good for me
  • family
  • my animals (and all the other animals out there)
  • writing and being able to express myself creatively
  • reading

I just noticed something – money doesn’t show up in that list.   Hmmmmm

But now here is the list of why I save:

  • so I can buy a tiny house to provide shelter for myself and my furbabies
  • so I can buy some land on which to put my tiny house
  • to be able to write more often and eventually be able to be more of my own boss
  • so I never have to face my phobia of being homeless
  • so I won’t have to work for the rest of my life and can eventually retire

Yes, I have a phobia (or very strong fear) of being homeless.  And living in Albuquerque, there are reminders of this possibility at so many intersections, with people holding signs asking for money or food.   I think the fear goes back to my early childhood, when my parents got divorced and our income was so drastically reduced at the drop of a hat.  It’s a fear that came back full-force when I thought of leaving my husband back in 2010, and ultimately did.  I think it’s a fear I will always have somewhere in the back of my mind. But it’s a fear that also helps to reinforce to me what I do value and why I save money with every paycheck.

What do you value?  And why do you save?  Do  you see the two as being interrelated? 

Please drop me a line below and share your thoughts.  And if you know someone who might enjoy this post, please share it! Thanks, as always, for reading.