Reempowered

After a week away from “life” and enjoying this year’s birthday celebrations, I return to my writing another year older and freshly inspired in all my endeavors.

In the time since my last entry, things have improved greatly. I’ve managed to knock out a good share of outstanding financial liabilities, and thankfully no new ones have cropped up to replace those settled. The days are getting longer and the weather warmer, so everything is lining up for me to actively start pushing myself back to where I was at the end of December in regard to fitness, and to keep making progress on my other personal projects.

Now that I can see the light at the end of what’s been an eight-month-long tunnel, I find myself amazed and excited at the shift in perspective that has come with it. Throughout these past months, I’ve been living a very meager life (one that I’ve captured in detail throughout previous entries). In that time, I’ve had a very mechanical and enthused perspective on life. The stresses of having to exert extreme financial restraint in order to make bill payments and other basic life necessities. When I assessed my situation throughout that time period, I always came out feeling trapped and helpless to enact any change in the matter. All I could see were all my rotating debts and circumstances binding me to my current arrangement out of necessity. I’ve been stretching an income stream that’s smaller than it should be for someone of my accomplishments and capabilities, and in the process was rendered a zombie-like drone — fulfilling the daily responsibilities, and waiting for nothing other than the start of a new day to do it all over, one step closer to a pre-spent paycheck.

It’s here that I wish I could offer up some useful tips on dealing with that particular situation, which I find myself hard pressed to come up with considering I didn’t conquer it. If I found myself back at that point in time again and had to do it all over, I would have made a stronger effort to hold to the personal affirmations I would come up with for myself. I’d think things along the lines of “I’m paying my dues in life and struggling at the outset of the journey like everyone else does” and “It’s just one of life’s tests of character, and I’m not going to be broken so easily”. I would muster up an unyielding determination and evoke the inner warrior, but only so long as needed to see it through extremely trying times. Once things got to a sufficient level of “less crappy”, I checked into complacency and lamented what wasn’t instead of continuing to focus on what is.

Over the past week, I’ve had a vastly improved take on my days. With the finish line finally coming within reach and a mini-vacation away from work spent reconnecting with friends and celebrating another birthday, I feel reinvigorated and back in control of my life. Even sitting down to write, just two weeks ago, would have felt like a resented chore. Now, it’s something that I feel an earnest desire to allocate a part of my day to. I’m going to be trained on real estate loan dislcosures at work over the coming weeks, and my studies in my downtime in programming Python are moving along well. While I know things are going to continue to stay on the “hard” side of things for the next few months, I also have so much moving through the pipelines that I expect to be in a much better situation in the not-so-distant future.

Having endured not only the financial hardship, but also the debilitating feelings that come along with it, my heart goes out to all the people out there who are struggling with finding employment in the current economic climate. I recently spent a day at work having my computer read me articles from Gawker’s unemployment story archive that made me feel lucky to have the problems I’ve been contending with. For me, my personal narrative is that of the lower-middle class born self-made man who achieves success without having been able to afford a college degree (despite my personal goal to earn one regardless of my circumstances), working whatever jobs along the way necessary to fund those goals. Simply put, I expect fiercer competition and having to work harder to compensate. Yet, for so many others out there, the narrative one of living at home with relatives, unemployed and hounded by the debts incurred by their continued education. So much time, work, and money invested, and worse off than the guy in San Diego who’s only been able to afford a couple semesters at community college. Despite the feelings of inadequacy that come from comparing my life now to how I envisioned it, the fact that I have a full-time job and don’t have mountains of student loan debt puts me in a far more advantageous position than those who’ve sacrificed so much. As a result, I feel an added pressure to pick up the pace and start meeting all of my goals. My ultimate self-plotted destination is a position in life where I’m not only doing well for myself, but am also leading projects/teams that will hopefully create a few jobs and help independent & small businesses grow.

The storm has been weathered, and now I can start to truly settle back into my life. Knowing that I’ll soon be able to afford to start partaking in social outings, paying credit card debt, saving money, buying new clothes, I now feel completely engaged with daily life, with the same vivacity and promise of bounty that I used to have throughout my childhood years.

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