Don’t you love friends who talk you down from the emotional ledge? (The correct answer is yes, yes we do love those friends). I’ve been using much of my spare time to ponder next steps now that we are in the privileged position of being in credit for the first time in almost ever, and for the first time since becoming a fully fledged adult taking care of adult responsibilities. For clarity, it’s not much in credit but there is a plus sign not minus on the ol’ bank account and that’s a good enough start for me.
When I was working toward bringing credit agreements down to a zero balance, there was a definite goal, a specific figure had to be reached for that to be successful, there was a stopping point. While the task was immensely difficult, the actual ability to quantify the required outcome was simple. Keep paying for stuff until there is no more to pay. Reducing to a nought. Simple to keep straight, eh. If there was more than a nought on the balance of the credit agreement, I wasn’t there yet and had to keep going. Simple.
What has had me vexed is the next step. The next baby step. It has kept my mind occupied while I pondered, cogitated, and strategized.
Now that the little number is increasing there is no ceiling, no natural end goal. Numbers go up to infinity plus one as any clued up 8 year old will tell you. It vexes me because there is no way to know how much is enough. How much will we need to have set aside to get by in the next month, year, few years, decade, until retirement or until the end of my natural life. There is no figure. It will always be too little. It will always be more than we had.
With no natural end result my mind has been in a spin. It has in actuality been quite a little more difficult than dealing with paying down credit. At least if we had almost nothing we knew what we could do with our little porridge pot. At least if the money ran out we knew or at least hoped that we had food storage and petrol in the car and the bills were paid. Although awfully difficult, there were specifics and I am a lady who loves specifics. I need to know the end from the beginning and if I don’t then all merry emotional hell breaks loose. Uncertainty does not sit well with me, never has, likely never will.
So, all merry emotional hell has been breaking loose as a consequence of feeling somewhat untethered. Which is ridiculous. How can success make a person uneasy? It’s daft. I felt like a fool. I’d met a target, a stretch target as we like to say at work, and yet I was managing feelings larger than before I started.
Anyway, with a sky’s the limit, no end in sight, don’t know how much is enough mind-set I wasn’t feeling very settled. Until in walks a buddy called Sinead, who herself was hot on the heels of a friend called Mel.
When I was in a tailspin and worrying out loud “what if the roof falls off?”, Mel had quizzically looked at me and said “you have house insurance”. I slapped my forehead, of course I have insurance, of course if there is a disaster at the home not of my doing and that I cannot fix myself I can rest well knowing we are covered. It soothed my troubled heart. That worked for a few days.
Then I went on to fretting on the topic of “how much is enough to have set aside and when do I need to have it by?” because bills have due dates, don’t you know! I was and still am in a due date mentality.
After confiding in Sinead in the corridor at Church between classes (sorry, missus!) who had only congratulated us on getting to where we were, she came up with the plan of having an account with a specific goal or figure in mind, like £500 for example, and when that is achieved, that is full. I’ll have done it, it would be completed. Then open another goal with a slightly increased figure in mind, work toward that and when that reaches the pre-determined figure, I’ve succeeded in that too, and it is done. Then do it again and so on. Effectively, we cannot determine the future but we can set goals and work toward them and tick them off when they are completed. Is this making any sense? Add a finite factor to an infinite problem.
It had the immediate impact of settling my troubled heart. How simple. How insightful of her to realise I wasn’t faux-probleming and that this really was a big deal to my family. To both these ladies I doff my hat and say thank you in writing as well as in person. Complex worries had simple solutions, these ladies comprehended the worries and helped by suggesting ways through. How beautifully hearted of them. Aren’t they lovely?
I was told a few years ago that someone perceived me to be a Solution Oriented Optimist. Someone who could see the genuine problem, review, decide, act and stay positive when possible and even stay positive when highly improbable but never deluded. Their opinion of my was a surprise because I knew what went round in my head at pace to get to the Solution they saw in front of them. I think this experience over the past couple of weeks has fallen in to this category, without my friends I couldn’t see the solution. They helped me peep through the fog of worry. A fog which was of my own making but real to me none the less. A solution has been formatted and we are making great headway. Thanks for listening while I got this out of my head and on to electronic paper so to speak.