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Happy Hingepin Day!

via malljes13.tumblr.com

I’m celebrating today by driving 400 miles across Texas, but no matter… it’s Hingepin Day!

What is Hingepin Day? It’s the day I had that moment. The one Dave Ramsey describes as:

Les Brown, the great motivator, said people change their lives when they say “I’ve had it!” When you have that moment, that’s when you start to change things in your life. Your life swings on moments like that; it’s a hingepin moment. Circle that day on your calendar, because it’s a day that your freedom began. (source)

Well I circled the day in the calendar and set up a reminder, because really, all too often we I focus so much on the difficulties and how far we I have to go, instead of how far we’ve I’ve come. (I’m the worst offender lately.)

So today I celebrate whipping myself into shape and the $9k+ of debt that has been erased from my life since last May… meaning I am officially HALFWAY THERE!!! Time to break out the party hats (or go for a 10 mile run, whatever floats your boat).

I feel stressed, but I no longer feel the burden. The debt no longer crushes my life, my livelihood and my soul. Don’t get me wrong, I am so, SO ready for the remainder to be destroyed, but I can breathe now. In the past, a couple hundred dollar medical bill would’ve crushed me, but now it’s manageable. Bills are annoying, but they no longer control me.

And on the fun side, if I want to take a trip to New York or Portland, I do. Hingepin Day is definitely a day to be remembered and celebrated in my personal life. Looking back to where I was then and where I am now, I can’t help but think… Life. Is. Good.

So close, yet so far… and other thoughts

via pinterest

“Consider, Sir, how insignificant this will appear a twelvemonth hence.” - Samuel Johnson (via The Happiness Project)

Happy Friday everyone!  After the stress I’ve been feeling the past few weeks, I finally got a couple solid nights sleep (and a three day weekend!) and my mood has improved. I had a lot that I wanted to talk about today so this post might be a little random….

First of all, I am SO close to being rid of my credit cards. Sooooooooooooooooo close. I am down to about $900 on one card.

The hardest part is that I have the money in savings to get rid of the consumer debt, but still having the student loans I realize that would be stupid.

It’s so tempting though.

Goal: To have the card gone by the end of June!

***

Next up, I have a lot of random food at my apartment in the freezer and cupboards so I decided to put myself up to a challenge for the next week.

Challenge: Only eat what I already have.

I am allowed to purchase a couple of staples (milk and eggs), but everything else has to come from what is already in my cabinet.

***

I’ve read a lot of great blog posts lately… here are some of my favorite:

Dave at What’s Dave Doing writes Just a little longer, about following your dreams, regardless of the reasons you can’t.

Chris Guillebeau at the Art of Non-Conformity writes How to Go Everywhere on your mentality as they relate to choices.

Christine of C’est Christine writes This is Your Life. Self-explanatory.

 

The Journey

Runner statue, Stanley Park (credit: rickz)

I woke up yesterday morning really early. And when I say early, I mean really REALLY early. Like 2 a.m. early… and for no reason other than that the stress got to me. By 5 a.m. I figured I might as well get up and tackle the day… and tackle it I did. Breakfast, French and a balanced checkbook all before I’d even entertain the idea of waking up on a normal day.

The only thing that could have actually made it better was if I’d gone on the 6:30 run I considered when I woke up, but I’d been up over 4 hours at that point and figured I’d be better served by an hour nap before work than an hour run. Unfortunately, as my stress levels have risen I’ve foregone running for sleeping. And I’m not sure that’s been the right decision.

Luckily, I had an evening run planned with a coworker, so I knew I wasn’t totally skipping it yesterday.

***

Truthfully, I’m shocked by how much I enjoy running. Prior to last month, I very openly hated it. I thought (and told anyone who would listen) that running was too boring, too hard, and worst of all, if I wasn’t losing weight, what was the point?

To put it simply, the point is to run.

I began running because I wanted to know what it was like to run 26.2 miles, even though it sounded crazy. (As I typed that sentence, I actually wrote “even though it sounds great.” My how times have changed.) The proud me side of me wants to prove that I am capable of it, both to myself and to others.

Another part of me knows that running is the only thing in my life that I can control right now. That no matter what happens during the day and how fast things feel like they are spinning out of control, I can put on my sneakers and run as hard and as long as I want to. That’s on me.

I set a goal to run 50 miles this month and I don’t know if I’ll hit it, but that’s okay. I’m a slow runner and there’s only so much daylight. I find that I love just being outside with my feet hitting the earth.  Some days I struggle to make it to three miles. Others I can drop six no problem. I’m not ready to run a full marathon yet, but I’ll get there eventually. It’s not solely about the destination, but also the journey…

Which I am happily taking with my own two feet.

(amazing photo belongs to rickz)

Lists and Lists and Lists… Oh My!

I made it no secret that I was feeling really stressed out last week.

To combat that, I’ve made some MAJOR “To Do” lists… anything from a “To Do Today” on the back of an old receipt or sticky note (including things like pick up dry cleaning or renew Craigslistings), to a “To Sell, To Donate, To Keep” list, to a master “To Do Before I Leave.”

Every tiny idea that pops into my head as something I need to get done or taken care of is added to a list. I figure that sooner or later I will be overwhelmed by the lists, but at least for now it gives me a place to write things down so I stop worrying about them!

Since I am living by my lists, here are a couple random things I’d like to accomplish in the next month:

1. Finish my full inventory of items
2. Pay my Discover card back down to $0 (it’s currently at $1,200… all thanks to medical expenses)
3. Become Red Cross CPR/First Aid certified
4. Spend money ONLY on necessities (no dining out, no frivolous Stuff, nada)

Like I said, I don’t think it’s a long-term solution, but it’s helping me manage the stress levels for now.

How do you combat rising stress levels?

 

The one where I don’t have health insurance

With the arrival of my Peace Corps medical packet two weeks ago, I’ve been scrambling to figure out where I’ll get my physical and lab work done.

Why? I am one of the 50 million Americans without health insurance.

I believe people have a lot of misconceptions about those without health insurance, whatever the reason. I am a young, hard-working American who happens to be employed as a contractor (by an American corporation) making too much money for low-income health services and too little money to be able to afford decent health coverage.

On the same note, I’m lucky that I’m young and healthy enough to have no current issues. I discovered what I thought was my health insurance is emergency only coverage, and less than a week after applying for individual health insurance I was approved starting June 1. And I know that I am very lucky.

The coverage isn’t great, but it’s good enough for the next 5 months. My doctor’s visits will still be expensive, but I won’t be in medical debt for the rest of my life over it.  Unfortunately others don’t have that choice.

I don’t want to get up on my soapbox, but I’m just saddened by the priorities of our society. We’d rather support and fund the corporations we rely on to take care of us, but blame the individual when the system fails them.

Sigh.