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Eating lunch in my car and other “burned out” behaviors.

I balanced the box on my lap as I opened a ketchup packet. On mild days, I can turn off my car and leave the windows up without the worry of sweating profusely. I grab my Coke Zero (with no ice) and take a sip. My eyes are usually fixated on a video playing on my cell while I eat. This has become a ritual. This is my twenty minutes of solitude. Only twenty minutes because the other 30 or so are spent walking my dogs, ordering food, and driving back to the parking lot adjacent to my office.

I’m not sure when I started eating lunch in my car, but I know why I started doing it. It’s a chance to get away from the interruptions and my apartment and my office phone and my emails and the IMs. It’s a chance to be left alone. My brain is on loan to others for at least 12 hours a day and it feels good to sit and drink sweet soda and eat salty, deep fried chicken fingers with near absolute certainty that I won’t be interrupted.

I work. I work all the time. I work at work. I work at home. I work on vacation. I pride myself on how much I’ll work. Working all the time usually means not leaving work until 6:30 p.m. When I was short staffed it meant working until 11 p.m. I never want anyone to feel I’m not “pulling my weight.” I want to be regarded as someone who cares about the quality of my work and my respect for those who depend on me to do my work correct and on time. In my eleven years working full time, I have taken 3 actual vacations using my earned annual leave. Three. In 11 years.

I counted this dedication as a virtue. “Look how much I can take on!” It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized this is unhealthy. Like, really unhealthy. It wasn’t until I reached a breaking point of too many hours, too many burdens, too many “small fires” to put out, too many questions, and naggings, and failings that I realized I had to slow down. I have to admit, I wasn’t smart enough to figure this out on my own. A trusted confidant implored me to stop and take time for myself. To actually practice self-care.

Interestingly enough, I KNOW self-care is important. I have had it scheduled every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. for the better part of a year. Fact is, I never, ever use it. I always find time to fill this time that should be dedicated to unraveling, practicing quietness, praying, reading, walking, resting, to doing more stuff…The problem I face that we all face honestly, is that there will always be more to do. ALWAYS.

Practicing self-care is difficult in an age where everyone is “hustling” and pushing themselves to the limits to attain “success”. Hustle culture is one of the most ubiquitous memes on the web and I know we’ve all seen them.

But what happens when you’re literally out of gas and the hustle is killing you? When you’re so busy proving you can grind or that you have a great work ethic or that you truly desire what you’re after, that you’re killing own mental health?

Know how much you can take and recognize the signs of burn out. For me, it was sitting in my car eating lunch. For others it may be:

  • Sleeping…all the time…
  • Irritability
  • Changes in attitude

Click here for more signs and practical ways to address them.

One of the ways I’m addressing burn out is through doing more to experience life. This ranges from pursuing relationships, getting a monthly massage, using my vacation time, and doing all I can to not take work home with me. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s kept me from the edge of exhaustion. I just have to remind myself of what’s important to me and find balance the best way I can.

Gloria gets out of debt, Uncategorized

The Part-Time Ramseyites.

We’re part-time “Ramseyites”. I say “part-time” because if we were true Dave Ramsey disciples, we’d have no debt by now. The copy of Financial Peace I purchased in 2007 is out for display on one of  my end tables. We plan our month expenditures. We’re snowballing debt and saving money. Even with that, I don’t feel we’ve done enough.

Honestly, I’m ready to be done. I’m ready to be off this debt treadmill. Debt robs you of opportunities and I’m tired of being robbed. I’ve passed up business ideas because I felt bad putting money towards a business venture when I still owed other people money. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be in a position to take advantage of any opportunity that falls in my lap.

I’m so tired I’m ready to throw weight behind the sentiment. We currently pay an uncomfortable, and yes, shameful 23% of our monthly take home pay to creditors. Twenty.Three.Percent. Nearly a quarter. I’m not proud of that, man. Hard to admit.

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I could sit and feel sorry for us, but I won’t. I talked to the hubs about attempting to use his entire paycheck for savings and debt only. He agreed.

While some of my friends and associates were sleeping, watching a ball drop, dancing or kissing their boo, I was budgeting my way into the new year. Two minutes from 2017 and I was click clacking away in a Google Sheet, planning our freedom.

For the first 6 months of 2017, we will devote forty percent of our take home to paying off debt. Time to get to work on becoming full-time “Ramseyites.” I think ole Dave would be pleased.

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“Slowly, Surely”

I can’t believe I’m starting another blog. I have been putting this off for at least one month, but here I am. I’m the worst at this. I’m a “love ’em and leave ’em” type of girl when it comes to these things. The commitment required to keep them up is one I’ve never been able to see through.

So why? Why another blog? Because I’m venturing into a new chapter in my life. I’m not really sure what this chapter holds because it is being written with each moment. The plan is to document my trials and triumphs as I start my journey to what I jokingly call “getting a life.” Going for the things I want in every aspect of my life. In relationships, in work, in personal pursuits, in service. I’m going to faithfully and transparently document what it looks like when I actually “go for it.” The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’m going to ease into this, as it’s been a while, but I’m confident that publicly sharing my pursuits will motivate me to continue. It’s time to be intentional. It’s time to make it count.

Peaceeeeeeeeee.