I am on the eve of my 29th birthday. About a decade ago I would have thought I would be older more accomplished and more secure in the world then I was on the cuspe of adulthood. The truth is I am not more accomplished. I am not entirely sure how I feel about this fact. I have completed my degrees, I have a child, I have a job and a car. Surely all things like this mean that I am more grown up than at 19 when I was a university kid collecting change for pub beer specials. But something came to my attention which alarmed me yesterday. My quality of life back then was top caliber. My day to day life was simple, fully of simple pleasures and little luxuries and friends and fun. The stress of school and deadlines and competitive rankings only fuel to the preverbal “go fire” of the early days of adulthood.
My life now is full of worry, responsibility, bills and competing demands. I honestly don’t have time to eat, drink and sleep sometimes. This is awful. I work at a job that doesn’t pay me enough to have a 2 bedroom apartment for myself and my daughter, I drive a car that could break down at any moment, and between groceries and gas I am never sure if there is enough fuel to keep the engines operating. I have so many bills I don’t know where to start paying. I am in fact the opposite of where I hoped I would be when I think back to my younger self. This fact is undeniable. My quality of life stinks now that I am an adult. It stunk when I was a child, and it was pretty good for a few years in college. So what went wrong?
Why was I not able to better steer the course of my young life? I am not so hard on myself to not accept that growing up without parents and losing my daughters father are challenges, and life events that any person might have a hard time to cope with and move forward in life afterwards. But in all honesty most of my quality of life issues are related to money. And money whether I like it or not, while it has never exactly been abundant in my life, is the cause of a great deal of turmoil in my life. What is stopping me from getting the cash I need to the pay for a quality of life I think is befitting for myself and my daughter? Me. I am the only impediment to my success.
I get in my own way. My money troubles are two fold. First off I sell myself short. I write articles for free, I do freelance work for free, and I connect people without a fee. I also accept wages that are less than what I have previously made and tell myself this is ok, because after all a pay check is better than no pay check. Secondly its the spending. I live frugal by many people’s standards where I live but I have to stop emotional spending. Giving my daughter the 15-30 dollar toy because of the guilt that we live in a one bed room apartment and save the dam cash to afford a deposit on a better place. But its easier said than done.
Little steps I have been taking in the last few weeks to improve my life position is to find joy in the things that money can’t buy. Nature. I have been trying to get fresh air and exercise as often as is possible. Friends. I have been making an effort to stop isolating myself and shutting out the world and getting back in touch with the people near and far who enrich my life beyond measure. Love. Self love, love for my family, love for others. So often in desperate times we forget the energy associated with loving and all of the benefits it can bring into your life. Even in these measures I know that something else has to give, because at the end of the day, You can’t buy me love, and love won’t pay the bills, so where does that leave me and my quality of life question on the eve of kissing a decade good bye? Frankly for the first time in my life I don’t have a hunch or an answer to be convicted about, I am not sure. Maybe my own inner turbulence is what’s the major different. When I was young I was always so sure that the resources I needed would come to me, ignorance was bliss and this bliss attracted what I wanted and needed at the time and life felt spontaneous and carefree and fun. Now that I have more responsibility for a human life aside from my own the pressure of providing creates this inner dialogue that is so combative that I actually block myself from being open to pursuing and receiving the opportunities for prosperity for me at this stage of my life. I need to quiet my mind and reflect on this all for a while now and focus on how the heck I can get out of my own way and make the 30’s the best dam decade of my life.