Throughout high school and college, I learned about Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. Pretty basic concept, you need to take care of your basic needs before you can move onto higher levels. Basically, you’re extreme urge to pee will take preference over your thoughts about a home security system. This is something you might understand if you’ve ever tried to unlock a door and turn off an alarm while swearing at yourself for making it so difficult to get into your own house.
I’m not sure what level of the Heirarchy paying off student loans is under. I know for me, it’s a safety thing. My other basic needs are being met. I have food and shelter. That is why, under normal circumstances, I tend to make wise (you should probably doubt my wisdom if I’m calling my own choices wise) decisions on my financial health.
The Heirarchy occasionally kicks my butt. For example, I got some killer food poisoning a few months ago. It was the worst. Good financial decisions? Let’s just say that popsicle companies and cracker companies made some money. But, hey, I saved on gas from not going to work?
Life just has a way of kicking you down a few notches, which is really noticeable when you’ve clawed your way up there pyramid. I want to feel financial safety so bad. To just get my danged loans paid off. But I know we’ll need new cars soon. I would love some time to really build up emergency reserves or even invest. It’s frustrating because I feel like I’m on the Titanic, I know it’s going down, and I know there aren’t enough lifeboats.
I’m being dramatic. But seriously, I just don’t want to have debt. I’m so sick of owing money. Paying for things that are done and over with. It’s a liability. And some people are so ok with it. They’ll just have to deal.
I always act like I (and my husband) will never make more money than we are making right now. I don’t want to place losing bets. Or you know, even pretend like I know the future. Because I don’t. Anything could happen. One of us could lose our jobs at any time, so we’d better prepare now. I’m all about being prepared for negative things.
But then my husband went and got a promotion.
Just so you know, you should be prepared for good things too? Meaning, when you get a rare and blessed windfall, have a plan. And I don’t mean spend money like you’re going to inherit millions from an uncle you never knew existed. So like the basics: pay off debt, save, splurge (?). And address that with significant people in your life so that they can keep you accountable (or so that they can’t catch you with a hole in your pocket and ask to buy a Batmobile).
So what are we doing with this happily unexpected windfall?
Paying off student loan debt! Yay for financial literacy arriving in my 20’s, I guess.
Yikes. It’s been longer than I wanted.
My motivation hit a brick wall and my habit wasn’t well-developed enough to kick butt through it.
Lots of even well developed habits stopped (if only for a day). I’ve been keeping a date book since January. I loved writing in it. Now I barely care. I want to care. I know I will care again.
Have you ever walked up a hill in high humidity and high heat? I’m a speed walker. I walk this one hill multiple times a week. I normally bolt up it. But today, the humidity was too much. It felt like I was walking through a wall of molasses. That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling lately. I think, in part, because I’ve been doing so well. I’m starting to kick butt on student loans. I developed a great jogging habit. I developed a great writing habit. I think I’m getting complacent.
So now’s the time to force myself to do the things I love. Which is funny, why wouldn’t I be excited to so the things I love? Why am I collapsing in front of the TV? Because I’m sleepy.
Dang it, don’t say you’ll sleep when you’re dead. Love yourself, get a healthy amount of sleep.
Today I’m thinking about favors.
I’m weird about favors. I am more than happy to help people. You need someone to help you move? I’m there. Someone to babysit your kids? I’m there. Need computer help? I’m there. I kind of love helping. It tends to be more one on one, and it’s nice to deal with grateful people.
But I’m the worst at asking for help. There’s a video of me two years old trying to get my jacket out of a closet. Loudly yelling to everyone around that “I can do it myself!” Half the time I could use help, I don’t even realize I need help, I just assume the stress is normal. The other half of the time I fret about being a pest until I wait too long. And when I do ask for help, most people are happy to.
Legit, I know it’s a problem. I’ve wandered around stores for an hour, refusing to ask someone to help me. I’m getting better at that. I’m not necessarily getting better at recognizing when I need help though.
I can do it myself, dang it.
I feel like Captain Obvious talking about compounding interest. It’s such a big deal. Pretty simple to understand, only slightly more complicated to do the maths for. You invest money. That money grows by an interest rate. And then when it grows by that rate again, your base money and new money increase based off of that. It’s a beautiful concept (eespecially if you like making money). And if you’ve ever read about compounding interest, you’ve probably heard that the earlier you invest, the better off you are. Time is the part of the equation that can turn a little money into swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.
Money is just a tool. Like a shovel. Or a bandsaw. It can help you do amazing things.
What I’m saying is, there’s more to life than money. No one loves their shovel more than their family.
But compounding interest applies to way more than money. It’s applicable across your entire life.
Basically, think about your normal, average day. Maybe you buy a cup of coffee. You can at your desk all day. Work hard. Collapse in front of your TV. Maybe you de-stress with some ice cream. None of those things are inherently bad. But they compound. They build.
You can’t just “diet” now and then. Your diet is what you eat regularly. If you “diet” one month out of the year, it really doesn’t matter much. It’s what you do regularly that counts. Same with exercise. These things are investments in your health. Make a habit, and statistically, you’ll have more quality at the end of your years.
Same with relationships. You have to invest time regularly, or they won’t last.
What matters to you? Where are you investing your life? What does your typical day say about your priorities?
Mine says I like my job. Which I don’t so much. I’ll have to fix that.
I have this thing I like to do. It’s really easy and it’s really cheap, which are things I love. Someone got me a magazine subscription for Christmas. Also, I seem to just randomly get a lot of magazines. I don’t pay for them, they just show up and I don’t question it.
Here’s the thing, magazines have pictures of people. People moving, zoomed in pictures of faces. As someone who prefers traditional mediums, this is awesome. I mean, they make great references for practice drawing. Especially if you hate when people realize you’re drawing them. But that’s not what I did today. I did something way easier. I traced.
When I was little and in art class, I learned things like “the eyes are in the middle of the head.” But I obeyed without understanding. So a few months ago, I decided to study. Which is what I did today as a refresher:
And look! The eyes are in the center of the head. I’d like to say that these pictures are sideways because it’s easier to see that, but it’s really because I’m writing this on my cell phone and can’t figure out how to fix it.
Note that I have done some weird geometrical tracing on the nose. Noses are hard to draw and it’s nice to get some rules to understand how to draw them.
But that’s not all.
I attempted to analyze movement and the underlying skeletal structure that you can’t see. I particularly love the picture with the kid because there’s so much movement on the same figure. I keep hoping this will help me with foreshortening.
One more thing.
Just tracing! It’s nice because you get used to the curves and contours of the face. I like to trace the way the light falls too. It’s fun and easy. I like it.
I’m trying to figure out if I have an end goal. I’m starting to think that I don’t have one. Which is awesome because that means I’m enjoying the process and not putting too much stock in a one time goal (albeit, I’ll be stoked to have my student loans paid off).
I’ll have to exercise my whole life. I’m cool with that. Jogging is a habit. I’m working on making weight lifting another.
I hate shopping, but I like looking good, so I’m trying to curate a wardrobe that is full of timeless pieces that I can wear for as long as possible (I feel this may save me money also).
I hate the idea of dieting as something short term and miserable. A diet is what you eat. If I exercise to feel good, then I should eat to make my body feel good too. Binging on cake does not accomplish that goal.
I want to make the world around me better than it was before I got there. I’m trying to tie all my goals together.
I am incredibly blessed. I have a good job with health care. I was blessed with a healthy body and mind (let’s ignore the anxiety). I can’t change what I was given, but I can take care of it. And if I can get myself together enough, maybe I can help other people.
So what does money have to do with this? Money is an incredible tool. It can buy food and shelter. It can buy some modicum of safety (but let’s be frank, any of us could die at any second regardless of how careful we are). There are so many people that don’t have money, that don’t have that very useful tool. I am fighting to get control of it in my life as much as I can, but it’s amazing how quickly this tool can get used up. I’m an extremely cautious person (benefits of anxiety?) and I’m still overwhelmed by what life can throw at me. A flat tire can ruin your plans. A car accident. A disease. Things totally beyond your control. If my plan continues even to half of the amount I want, my standard of living will still be far above most of the world. I think I can get some semblance of control, but someday, I want to help people who weren’t given what I was given. I don’t want to forget this struggle and I don’t want to forget that I was blessed (this is not my ability and done by me alone).