The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem.
Lately, I’ve been playing a crapload of mental tug-of-war.
Seriously. Both sides of my brain must be like… amazingly buff right now. In fact, if I could figure out a way to box and market this game, I’d probably be a bajillionaire. And if I were a bajillionaire, I wouldn’t be playing mental tug-of-war. At least not this particular game.
The thing is, I’m sure I’m not unique when it comes to what, exactly, is gnawing on both sides of my mind. It’s money.
There, I said it.
Do you feel dirty now?
For some reason it seems like talking about money (without offering up a this-is-the-plan-that-will-get-you-out-of-debt-for-GOOD solution) is a huge faux pas. It makes people uncomfortable. They feel inadequate if they have little and guilty if they have a lot.
There is no doubt in my mind that you need money to be happy. Tiny Tim was a perfectly delightful, high-spirited little boy, but he would have died if it weren’t for Scrooge’s money, and then he definitely wouldn’t have been happy. Not one little bit.
I’m not saying you need a lot of money — just enough to provide your basic needs, a sense of security, and possibly for indulging in a passion. And it’s that passion in particular that brings the happiness.
And please. Don’t confuse “passion” for “stuff.”
So this tug-of-war game I’ve been playing goes like this: I know I’ve been wanting to make travel — regular travel — a major part of my life. The problem is, even though nearly every dream and drive I’ve had since childhood has pointed me in that direction with everything short of flashing neon arrows, it didn’t even really occur to me to try to do something about it until 2 years ago.
So I did what any rational, level-headed, Type A person would do: I quit my job and did a work exchange in Costa Rica for 2 months.
(Needless to say, I am not level-headed or Type A. And rational? Try rash.)
Okay, in retrospect I see the problem. This type of highly emotional quarter-life crisis decision-making was not sustainable in the least. And worse, it whet my wanderlust with a fierceness. While I wouldn’t trade the experience or the friends I made for anything, it’s fair to say that I now wish I’d thought beyond the trip. That I’d made a plan. And, most important, that I’d taken the time to save a significant amount of cash from my previous job before kissing that paycheck goodbye.
The thing is, when you hear those amazing stories about people who make a dramatic life change and their lives suddenly turn out all joyous and magical and completely figured out, they don’t tell you how much planning and preparation were involved before the deed was done. Or, how much money. All I heard was, “Go for it! Live your dream! Everything will fall into place!”
Well. Those people probably weren’t making $800 per month student loan payments.
And now my mind’s at it again.
There’s the dreamer side that says spread your wings and FLY. OPTIMISM will carry you through. Who needs food when you have NAIVETY on your side?
And of course, the practical side that says I should do boring things like plan and calculate and save money.
Hence, the tug-of-war. Not to mention the fact that the quickest way for me to save money right now would be to get a second job, likely as a waitress once again, which would take me away from Justin and the pups. Just so I can… travel away from Justin and the pups? No, thank you. I will have my cake and eat it too, if you please.
So. Which do you think is right?
a) Hard work and discipline is the best and most effective way to get what you want in this world. Stay strong, make a plan, have patience, and eventually you will reach your goals!
b) There are no guarantees when it comes to Tomorrow, and nothing can stop you when it comes to the Power of Positive Thinking. Send good vibes into the Universe and keep plowing ahead, and roadblocks will tumble as you go!
I know which one I want to believe.
But, in reality, I’m guessing we need a whole lot of both.