With all the yoga I’ve done off and on over the years, you’d think I’d have better balance.
Alas, I don’t. Particularly on my left side, I’ll last maybe a good 20 seconds in tree pose before I start to lose it.
It’s basically a reflection of my life. If we made the right side of my body the week (M-F), and the left side the weekend, it makes total sense.
Case in point: In late December, I made a budget. FINALLY. I finally sat down and crunched numbers to see what I can really spend each month to stop racking up credit card debt and live within my means.
Spoiler alert: It ain’t much. After I pay my monthly bills and account for groceries and other incidentals, I’m left with a couple hundred to spend on whatever I want — and that’s not even accounting for money that should be going into a savings account, which I hope to get going later this year. (I know. I’m 34, how have I not been saving this whole time?! Well, I haven’t.)
Part of the problem is the vicious cycle that credit card debt creates. I have to pay more each month to try to shrink the balances on the cards, and then I find myself short on cash, and use the card to supplement – thus perpetuating the cycle.
But I’m trying to stop now! Really. I want to stop using the cards entirely for awhile and just try to live within my meager means. Then maybe I’ll actually have some money available to me when an emergency arises. Wouldn’t that be nice?
So, backing up a bit… I said I created a budget in December, with the intention to start living by it on Jan. 1.
January was a disaster. I went over my “spending” budget pretty quickly, but then in one of the last weekends of the month, I spent an additional EIGHTY UNPLANNED DOLLARS at one bar on an impromptu Sunday Funday. Apparently, I was feeling generous and buying rounds for my friends.
I hope they enjoyed it because I can’t be doing that shit anymore if I ever want to get out of this mess!
So Feb. 1 is my new start date to give this another shot. I’ve got it all figured out — what I can spend for the month, even what I can spend in each pay cycle. I’ve also decided if I do go out, I’m taking cash out before I go, and if I spend it all, THAT’S IT. No hitting the ATM!
Even though it’s kind of a bummer to face what little I actually have to use as spending money, it’s also great to be aware of where all my money is going and how much I actually have. Even though it constricts me in a way, it’s also freeing. I feel more in control of my destiny instead of just “screwed.”
Life balance is about more than money though, obviously. I think even worrying about money is something you shouldn’t be doing all the time. I’ve had some really great times over the course of my life, and I don’t really regret spending my money to live as I have, but I’m getting to the point where it feels a little unbalanced. There needs to be more of a middle ground between my YOLO-esque lifestyle and buckling down a bit with spending and just general consumption. I don’t really want to burn out before my time, and (un?)fortunately, the awareness of your own mortality starts to really kick in mid-30s.
Thus far, I wouldn’t say I have any major regrets. But I also don’t want to have them down the line because I never reined it in a little.
But it’s about balance. I can’t subscribe to these ideas of punishing, all-or-nothing diet and exercise plans or even budgeting to the point where you’re only saving and not really doing anything fun now. To me, that’s no way to live. It has to be a give-and-take. I want to enjoy my life every single day, not punish myself until this future date where I’m allowed to live again because I have more money and a smaller waistline. No thanks. I’ll baby-step my way there and I may never get to a certain level. I think I can live with that.
So here’s to improving my balance — on and off the mat!