Man often becomes what he believes himself to be.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.

Mahatma Gandhi

I've been working on a rather lengthy post about my rediscovered love of literature, but I'm not feeling it at the moment. Perhaps tomorrow is better suited for such topics.

Half of my weekend was spent pouring over a rather dense biochemistry book. Copious amounts of notes were taken and flashcards were created. Yesterday morning, after dropping Kiddo off at school, I spent four hours studying some more. I still had an inkling that, despite the hours spent preparing, I was in for it. Let's call it a gut feeling. My gut was not wrong. A rather bumbling, disorganized professor produced an exam like I've never seen. Literally. I had neither seen nor heard of half the stuff on there. I left a whole essay question blank. I guessed. A lot. I left feeling defeated (as did the rest of the class, I'm fairly certain) and choked back tears the rest of the afternoon.

I'm no novice at this student thing. I've adorned the tasseled cap and sat in the rain waiting for that most important of rolled up papers. I know how to study. This class is my last so there is a lot riding on it. We forked over two grand from our savings so I could take this course. Not only that, should I do poorly I could lose my honors status and jeopardize my PA candidacy (it's a prerequisite for applying). That's a lot of pressure! And I'm feeling every bit of it.

Today has brought more clarity and my anxiety has lessened. I've always come out on top and likely will again. But the what ifs are piling up and cracks are showing around my edges. This is simply another means by which I can flex my resolution to gravitate toward optimism. I have to learn to stop fearing worst case scenarios. Act the way I want to feel.

I'm taking a step back. Class doesn't meet again until next Monday, and I'm using this small break to reevaluate. To shift my thinking from oh no! to I have a game plan. From my perch in a busy coffee shop, I'm taking a moment to realize there is much more to life than grades, honors status, and personal expectations. This is a good exercise in letting myself off the hook (another resolution).

I'm turning to my blog for support. And Candy Crush Saga. Can we talk about this game for a minute? I drank the Kool-Aid a couple days ago and regret it a little. More than a little, actually. Addicting? Yes. Entertaining? Definitely. A potential money pit? Ohhhh yeah. In the beginning I rather harshly poo-pooed the idea of forking over a buck for another go at a level. It's a game for goodness sake! And yet yesterday, in the throes of test-gone-wrong despair, I bought lives. More than once. I get that charging suckers like me for lives, levels and "boosters" is a cash cow. Charging 5 bones to download an app certainly isn't a gift that keeps on giving. I get that. But I also resent their money grubbing ways. And waiting 1800 seconds take another stab at a level? Puh-lease. I have a feeling burnout is inevitable (and already in the early stages), but until then I'd better add it to the budget. Refusing to download it to my phone has certainly helped limit my playing time. It's easy to leave my iPad in the car or at home... not so much my phone. It seems I do have a shred of self control left. Oh, Candy Crush Saga, how you've hypnotized me with your wily ways.

Speaking of money (were we?), this week will mark our first official pay period sticking to a budget. Not just a budget, really, a major money overhaul. The other day Mario had a moment: "Having my own money to blow on whatever I want makes me feel powerful." Having money set aside is a surprisingly profound thing. I don't have to feel guilty about my latte habit. I can let myself say "I bought a sweater today" without explanation or justification (i.e. physical manifestations of guilt). Mario and I were always free to spend as we please, but the lack of accountability to each other when it comes to little wants is nice.

A funny thing actually happened. We underspent. My car only came with one keyless entry thingy, and initially not having a backup made me nervous. (As in, my car doesn't move if it's lost... there is no key hole). We budgeted $200 to replace it. I simply didn't get around to it and the money is still sitting in our checking account. (It will likely be re-added to this month's budget and the leftover from September will get snowballed.) Our $150 clothing and miscellaneous money? Mostly unspent. The biggest surprise of all? The $100 remaining in our "eating out" envelope. You see, we think differently about money now that it is no longer associated with an anonymous plastic card. We feel liberated by our finances as opposed to overwhelmed by them... probably for the first time, if we're being honest. We are so motivated and satisfied with our new way of spending that we don't buy things unless we love them. It turns out we love things less than we thought we did. Pretty awesome stuff right here. 

Later this week we will sit down and budget for the whole month of October. It will be a little trickier, I'm sure, but our behavior and perspective when it comes to money has changed so rapidly that I know we are quickly abandoning old habits in favor of healthier ones. Prepaying for my gas with cash for the first time today? Weird but kind of awesome.

A rather random post, I know. But this is where my mind is at the moment. I feel different than I did when I started writing. Later, I will feel different still. I've said many times that blogging is my own brand of therapy. I've been to therapy, and this is not unlike what I did there. It's a platform by which I can let the funk out. I'm sure my husband appreciates the break. 

Sometimes it means writing about things that only matter to me. But I doubt that is often true. We all struggle with self doubt and the learning curve that comes with rising above it. It's a process. Thanks for bearing with me through life's seasons.

1 comment :

  1. You are determined and you will always come out on top!


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