Wednesday, September 4, 2013

August Results and Necessary Discomfort

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I came in $294 under budget in the month of August. When my flex fund is $356 per month, that makes my results seem very impressive. Truthfully, I spent more than usual; I bought a new dishwasher. Since my ancient dishwasher failed two years ago, I'd never replaced it. I was happy to wash my dishes by hand, and to cover that space with a curtain and use it for storage, but Labor Day sales made the offer too good to pass up! However, I did have a very successful run in my additional income endeavors:
I set as much of this profit aside as I could, though I did overspend this month on dining out because work was a nightmare for the last two weeks. I barely had enough break time to eat something, I didn't get enough sleep, and there was no time nor energy to exercise. My grandmother passed away in August, and my sister (the one who just gave birth to triplets) had a medical scare. As a result of the stress and poor lifestyle, my skin broke out and all of my clothes were suddenly too tight. I cried every day and even broke down while at work.

Thankfully, that period of time has passed. Time to get back on the horse and ride, right?

Sometimes being uncomfortable is necessary. Life gets stressful or painful or full of uncertainty, and we have to bear through it. It seems to be in the air as of late, as a number of people in my life are embarking on a path of change:
  • The beau left his old job of 9 years without any new prospects lined up because he was so burned out; he just started his new job last week.
  • A friend of mine quit his job after 8 years to move to a rural cabin and start over.
  • Another friend quit a full-time job that she disliked to work freelance full-time, and it has been very successful for her.
  • Yet another friend quit his day job to open his own coffee shop and coffee roasting business.
  • A former colleague quit her full-time job to hike the Appalachian Trail with her husband.
  • A good friend moved across the country for her husband's job in California.
  • Two of my friends were let go from their jobs and are seeking new employment.
  • An acquaintance of mine just got a new part-time job working for a local ice cream company.
  • A longtime friend quit his job to go to medical school.
  • One of my friends was working multiple part-time jobs until recently acquiring one new full-time position.
  • A friend put in notice to transfer because he is moving to Washington State at the end of the month.
  • Yet another friend quit his job with the TSA to teach mixed martial arts full-time.
All of these have happened in 2013, many of them within the past couple of months. Could it be that changes are around the corner for my job, too?


Necessary discomfort can present itself in any number of ways, including these biggies:
  • Budgeting is uncomfortable. Sometimes we have to make do with less income, for whatever reason. It can be daunting to draw up a budget and stick to it because there is no other option at the moment. It means having to say no, or admitting we can't afford something in the short term. Prioritizing so strictly can feel like a sacrifice, but in reality it can bring us closer to our goals in a shorter amount of time. 
  • Working out is uncomfortable. It can push us to our physical limits, but it is often uncomfortable long before we reach that point. Our brains can trick us into thinking that exertion is pain, but we really know the difference between having an injury and just being tired. Just remember:
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  • Changing jobs is uncomfortable. Whether it's going back to school for a career change, being on unemployment after a layoff, or seeking a new opportunity, there are a lot of unknowns that creep up in a job search. It's definitely easier to stay at a job that we know, even if we know it isn't right for us. Sometimes the discomfort is in staying at a current job while waiting for another opportunity to pop up. It seems that the older we get, the scarier this endeavor becomes.
  • Moving is uncomfortable. Sometimes work requires relocation. Other times, families unite or divide. Finances can force a new living situation. It can involve looking for a new rental, buying a home, or trying to sell one in a struggling market. Whatever the reason, it can be intimidating and draining. Does that mean we should all just stay put and be inconvenienced? No! Grown-ups have to be grown-ups once in a while, and that means enduring periods of discomfort. Which leads me to this...
I bought the dishwasher because I have been quietly planning for several months to put my house on the market. I went through the trouble of refinancing so I could remove my ex-husband from the mortgage and have exclusive rights to do what I wanted with the home. I spent time, money, and resources updating the house for my own sake, but also for resale value. This dishwasher and the house-painting party I'm hosting next week are the final big elements before ultimately listing the house for sale.

I truly love living here. This house is a great place, I love my neighbors and the neighborhood, and the mortgage is actually very affordable for a single-family home. However, I am not a family; it's just me, and an entire house is far more space than I need. This is a logical (albeit uncomfortable!) step for me to take as I continue to simplify my lifestyle and minimize my spending.