Monday, October 22, 2007


Between moments like that which produced yesterday morning's happy post, I've been experiencing this growing anxiety and sense of lack of control over aspects of my life over which I ought to have control. Things like responsibilities.
These sorts of things tend to spiral into utter Crazy; some sort of minor academic setback, like a bad grade on a quiz (or imagined bad grade on a quiz not even taken--because that is what we overachieving crazies do) will eventually become a giant internal struggle over What I Am Doing With My Life, Anyway; Why am I studying science? or Why did I study literature before? and...the worst...What The Hell Am I Going To Do When I Graduate In 2009? I have to remind myself - that's TWO THOUSAND NINE. A LONG WAY OFF. But then I reassure my inner crazy that there are indeed reasons to worry! Because in order to prepare for that faraway graduation date - well, first I have to go through the whole self-shaming process of feeling bad for being in school for so long in the first place - I have to, of course, do something meaningful professionally with my summer break - and if that's too faraway to worry about now, what about winter break? Surely it's not too soon to worry about January! And clearly I am too old to spend my winter break merely tooling around the house or catching up with friends!
So I skipped my afternoon class. Instead of sitting in the back feeling awful for not having the assignment to turn in, and then making To Do Lists while not paying attention to the lecture, I decided to take a mental health two hours. It seems that the Universe smiled on my decision; I came home to a letter from CC in the mailbox. While I was sitting on the front step to read it, I noticed a HUGE interesting insect on the sidewalk and just happened to have a container to catch it in! Surely this makes up for skipping entomology class - working on my collection!
I also, to feel more like I have some control over my own stuff, to feel reined in, finally sat down and made an Excel Budget Spreadsheet, which includes the amount currently in my bank accounts and things like projected earnings for 10/22-11/22 and projected expenses. And then I made a list of rules, because even though Projected Earnings - Projected Expenses yields a positive value, I don't want to waste that money. I want to save it! So I made a list, at the bottom of my Excel sheet which now looks way too scattered for such an orderly program as Excel, consisting of things like "No buying clothes until 11/15" and "No buying wine until there's nothing left on the rack." Meaning my wine, not waiting for my roommates to drink theirs which is sharing the rack with mine. I realize the potential danger of rule #2...that I will just drink all the wine really quickly and buy more. OH WELL. It's my budget, my rules - there's no one to tell me my rules are stupid, etc.
I started this budget in September, then forgot to update it for a week, then decided to put it off because one-time-only expenses like textbooks and 3M hooks would throw off the budget and just depress me and make me not want to continue. Also, I didn't get paid until last week - about a month after I expected to get paid. Oh hell, maybe I'll wait till November 1st. Then I realized - November would bring Thanksgiving. December brings Christmas. There's always an excuse. And that is why my budget, rather than being a normal monthly budget, is cockamamie and runs from the 22nd of the month to the 22nd of the following month.
In summary, I knew I had to do something, because I was starting to get the crazy feeling I had in 2006 - when I made a set of New Year's Resolutions called Get Out Of My Own Way (GOMOW) 2006. (It included things like going out and buying one pair of jeans to wear until I lost weight, instead of being annoyed that my clothes were one size too small.) Anyway, I vacillated between remembering how happy I am in my cute little house with my cute circle of friends (though it is smaller than it was during my first undergrad degree years) and my interesting classes and my awesome job - my simple happy life where it's OK to not be rich and where baking soda is a perfectly acceptable hygienic product - and feeling crazy, like I needed to spend every minute socializing and buying things and OMG I HAVE WORK TO DO AAAHHHH!!!
It was only a matter of time before I started thinking about cutting all my hair off. (See November 2005 and the short hair days.)
But now I have a Quick Launch icon for my budget, right next to Firefox, and feel much better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always get frustrated when people do not comment on long, literary, important entries; but reading yours, a lot comes clear. What, really, can I say to match it? Besides thanks, thanks for posting, for sharing all these waves of poetry and process.
Nothing *really* to add, though, and just a "Yea, I love October too!" feels lame.

But man - you're on. Keep sharing.
Enjoy the letter, too!