Well y’all. Another year is over, although it feels like Marchvember 57 of 2020. It’s been an interesting year. I quit my job and found a workplace that’s collaborative and full of leaders who want to see everyone grow together. I put my mental health first and took steps to get as healthy as possible. I took steps to improve my physical wellness so I can get back on the weight loss train. I’m excited to be my best self again. As always, I compiled a photo essay of my fave memories (excluding my children). If you ever want to watch my ridiculous life in real time, follow my dumb ass on Snapchat!
Happy holidays everyone and I’ll have more adventures in 2022!
How’s everyone holding up? Still doing okay? Sad? Poor? Sad and poor? Consider this your mental health check in.
I’ve always prided myself at using my writing as an honest look into my life. This will be no exception. Folks, I’m damn tired.
Times have been tough man. My mom took ill at the start of COVID, adding some new financial and emotional responsibilities. My brother has been here to help, but I’m still calling the doctors, making the appointments, picking up the medication, the girls and I are cleaning the house and cleaning her room, and guys, that’s a lot when you’re raising three kids. There’s the emotional toll that comes with your parents getting older. Things feel darker, like maybe they won’t see your kid graduate. Maybe they won’t be a great grandparent. There’s all this guilt because you need to be home to cook dinner because you don’t want to burden the kids and you sleep through your alarms until you are running behind and end up skipping breakfast.
There’s the financial setbacks. Paying some of the back bills from the shutdown while paying current bills, all while the Family Responsibility Office reduces you to tears by screaming at you that it’s not their job to make sure your support payments come so accept reality that it’s not coming and stop bothering them.
This means sacrifices must be made. Those gym passes? They gotta wait girl. That’s grocery money now, because the support money you earmarked for groceries isn’t coming ever. The Halloween costumes your kids picked out? Nada. You’re now explaining to them that we’re gonna use last year’s and stuff from home because that money is now earmarked for insurance. Meanwhile you’re scraping every cent to make sure that you can get your oldest’s university application fee together. It’s not like you can make it to the gym because there’s so much to do at home and sometimes you volunteer to work late or a sixth day, or a seventh, because you want to give back to the good people you work with and those sales mean a chance to get ahead. That’s my reality my dudes. I’m tired and my weekly weigh in is sub-optimal, so I binge watch Drag Race for six hours after everyone is in bed and then lurk on the Bachelor on Reddit (despite never having watched the Bachelor) wallowing in my own depression and feeling like I’m failing at every aspect of my life.
I’ve stopped wearing makeup, because what’s the point. I’ve felt fat & ugly. I’ve felt bad at fitness. Bad at parenting. But mostly, because I’m not living up to expectations. There’s only so many times you can tell the kids next time/next year before they just stop asking. They know it’s not happening, and it’s because I let them down. Fitness is a losing battle. I know at 4:30 someone at home will call about an issue, and now it’s just not in the budget. I go for 3.5 km walks every other night and use my home fitness app, but it’s not the same. I feel like Sisyphus, pushing the Boulder up for it just to roll back down. I decided writing about it may help some other person feeling so overwhelmed know they aren’t all alone. Rona is making everyone’s mental health hard.
I cope by practicing gratitude. Maybe that’s dumb, but I feel like the only way to push through times that aren’t ideal is by reminding ourselves of all the good around us. For example, my family is rad. I have the best kids in the world and we have made this life thing work. I have an amazing job that paid me during Covid. I have a great team of reps and support from others to help so I can recharge with some time off. I live in a beautiful neighbourhood so I can go for walks. I have a home app I can use for my fitness until I can lift heavy things again. My mom’s health has improved significantly. She has a helpful nurse. My friends are always there for me. Life will never feel bleak if you can look and be grateful for what you’ve got.
Life isn’t all sunshine and roses, and pretending it is will only destroy you the minute it stops going well. Tough times are gonna happen. For me, that time is now. But if I waste my time and space dwelling on those things, I’m never going to get out of that black hole. My best friend always says to choose your attitude, so each night before I go to bed, I make a mental list of everything awesome in my life and thank the universe for it. This way, when these tough times are over, I can remain grateful. I’ll appreciate the gym more once I can get back. I’ll cherish that time more. I’ll go back to work with a renewed focus and help my team be better. I’ll look in the mirror and see someone to invest in, not to feel disappointed in. I’ll be more appreciative of little things, like that colleague that was kind enough to cover a shift for my vacation, or how my friend and I always take turns buying Starbucks. Maybe I’m naive, but I’d rather always search for good ever when everything feels less than good. I’ll build on all the good things until these times pass and there is only good. For me, it’s the best way to keep my bubbly spirit up while navigating tough times, and I’d rather be grateful than let depression rule my life. It’s a tough road, but I’ll get there.
Hey guys! We get to go outside again! Isn’t that cool?!
While there are still restrictions, it’s nice to have a little bit of normal back in my life. I’m back at work and it’s been positive. I had some friends over for a barbecue potluck and it was so nice to entertain again. I’ve been back at the gym & going for walks. It’s been awesome.
After being cooped up for three months, I really want to step outside my comfort zone a little bit. Part of that is taking control of my weight. I’ve been really down on myself, but I started posting daily updates to a group on FB my friends & I use to stay accountable. I started intermittent fasting, which has helped too. But the big ones are stepping out of my comfort zone at the gym and trying to cure my unhealthy relationship with food.
Intermittent fasting and setting aside one cheat meal has really helped with this. I’m not denying myself food anymore. Instead, I’m learning what I need to fuel my body so I can be healthier. So much of my mental health is tied into diet and exercise, not necessarily to be “thin,” but to feel healthy and confident. Junk food just makes me feel badly about myself in general, but when I’m stressed, I eat. Now I’m teaching my body that we don’t just eat when I’m bored, but when I’m hungry. I’ve cut out all alcohol (not that there was much, save for that case of White Claw I would have over a month long period), save for social events, and I’m careful about junk food and fast food. It’s important that I teach my kids to have a healthy relationship with food; enjoy an occasional treat but never forget to learn the right way to nourish your body.
As for fitness, I’m trying to stop avoiding the harder workouts. Whenever I see something with a lot of running, or skipping, or a lot of burpees, because I was slow before. Now, after gaining weight during quarantine, I’ll be slower. I get so insecure about finishing last and everyone quietly waiting for me to finish so I don’t go. But part of getting healthy again means no more skipping “the hard ones.” Even if I finish last, or have the worst time, I’m not gonna get better if I let my insecurities get in the way. So, yesterday I went to the gym and did one of the “hard workouts.” I finished last. It was awful. But I did it and I went home feeling really good about the work I did. I felt empowered, like the next time I could do that style of workout better if I just keep pushing. Sure, I’ve gotta push back against the fact I’m not a morning person to get to those 6am classes, but I won’t hit my goals skipping workouts, so I need to hold myself accountable to my wellbeing and do them.
Finally, I stepped the furthest out of my comfort zone and went on a date. Yes, I left my house and met someone. He’s a great dude and I think we may go out again. I’m not setting any expectations, but I’m also putting myself out there a bit & it went okay. I didn’t let my insecurities about my weight or my age hold me back. I just did it. My weight will be fixed, I’m working on it. I’ll never be “the right age,” so I’ve just got to open myself up for romantic possibilities and not let my life pass me by. Also, my coffee was fantastic. I always forget how great the coffee shop by my house is. Will this turn into something? I dunno. If not, then maybe it will with someone else. But, I’m trying, something I hadn’t done in almost two years, since I broke up with Debbie Downer the Teacher. I’d go on a first date every quarter and not make a real effort to get to know them, and then stopped all together and used dating apps for the lolz. I figure even trying is a step in the right direction.
The only way to get better is to get uncomfortable. I promised myself I’d use this year to get better. Quarantine didn’t help, but refocusing will. The second half of 2020 is about accountability, growth, and success. I’m going to take steps every day to get better, surround myself with people who are driven to improve too, and soon we’ll be toasting to our successes…
…unless of course the murder hornets destroy us all.
…truth time: I never finished Tiger King. I have the last episode left. I’m the worst with TV. I haven’t finished Glow either. Or Nailed It. Or anything I start except Brooklyn 99. Also the kids got me into Naruto. It’s fun except I love every character except Naruto. But my London friends are super proud that I’m finally into anime besides Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z.
Anyway, how’s life? You good? Has your new normal of teaching kids at home and zoom calls and NEVER GOING OUT ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN been treating you well? Here’s an update; this fucking sucks. It’s not all terrible. I’ve been catching up on my fitness at home, the kids and I binge watch the Simpsons, pro wrestling, and anime because we are the coolest people ever. My company is graciously paying me during this time so I’ve been working from home. I’m cooking more, and turned my Snapchat into a cooking show.
Feel free to follow along while I make chicken and other stuff.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Money is tight. We’re not broke, but there’s nothing extra and summer clothes may have to wait. The dad isn’t helping, and even if he could he wouldn’t because we do not align on how we prioritize the children. Not to mention his sister caused some issues that impacted my finances and after numerous issues involving her, I’ve had to make the decision to go no contact as it relates to the kids. The kids obviously cannot go to see their grandma this summer due to the virus and also until we get confirmation that no contact will remain intact. This sucks because the kids love their paternal grandma and she’s an awesome person who deserves to see the kids, but it’s not in the cards this summer and I feel guilty because I want them to have a relationship with their grandmother, great uncles, and American cousins.
At home, we haven’t killed each other yet, but some days it’s getting close. My mom is recovering well from her health issues, but now we have to push through to get her back to day to day normalcy, which is hard and stressing me out. I feel super selfish, but we are most definitely not going to Vegas, barring a miracle. I was so excited and now it’s not happening and I’m really sad. But I feel selfish. People are losing their homes, people are dying, losing their jobs, I’m struggling to stay caught up and I’m bummed about my vacation. It’s a dumb, first world problem and I’m awful for being upset.
However, I keep reminding myself that we’ve been through tough times before and we’ve made it through as long as we stay positive. Before I got my job with my company almost seven years ago, we were on the verge of losing everything because I was unemployed and the dad wasn’t contributing. I had to pawn all of my jewellery and my DVD player to keep us fed and housed. But, I persevered, kept looking, found work and recovered. If we keep practicing social distancing, we will be able to return to work and I can get caught up and things will feel normal again. It sucks because everyone is struggling and your mental health takes a hit when you feel alone and like you’re the only one who’s stuck and can’t get ahead. But we’re all feeling it right now; we just need to keep doing our best and push ourselves to do things to make us feel normal. So, whether it’s work from home, exercise, Netflix, or meditation. The more we embrace new normal, the better things will be when life returns to normal and we can hug our friends again.
I hope you’re all doing okay. I know this super sucks but it’ll pass soon enough. Until then, find your happy, whether it’s cooking, exercising, or watching anime while drinking White Claw. Whatever works for you. But stay safe and stay home so we can all see each other again.
Hey there all you cool cats and kittens, how y’all holding up on quarantine day 672?!
Yeah, I totally watched Tiger King. Mostly because I HAD LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO DO. Also, it’s a train wreck and awful and right up my alley. But in all seriousness, how y’all doing? Still good? Found something good to watch on TV? Worked out? Played Jenga? Completely cracked the fuck up yet? COOL ME TOO.
It has been a damn week. I’m really worried about finances while I work from home. Like, genuinely scared. I’m a single parent and not receiving any support. The dad told me “you’re on your own,” when I asked for some financial help, then whined that he doesn’t even own an Xbox. Meanwhile, I’m worried that I’ll fall behind on bills to support our kids. My mom went through some major health issues this week (unrelated to COVID-19) and the kids and I had little support from our family. My friends stepped up to be my support system because they’re the best. The kids are doing their best and their teachers have been amazing, running conference calls to help them learn and grow. But I’m working from home and helping them and trying to keep the house clean and the kids alive and be mom, daughter, therapist, teacher, manager, and I’m really tired and really scared.
I’m trying my best. I’m working out, I’m meal planning (at one point my Snapchat was MHC’s dinner hour), we have family movie night. But the reality is I’m tired and I’m scared that I won’t be able to afford our home or bills or I’ll get laid off. I’m scared my mom is gonna have another health issue. I’m scared we’re all gonna crack up. It’s a lot to handle on your own & I’ve never felt more alone. I’m a social person and we are on week three of quarantine. When times got tough, I could always take a break and go to the gym or out with a friend, but now, it’s sit at home and obsess & it’s so easy to fall into the mental health trap of doom and gloom. Not gonna lie, I’m in full doom and gloom. All of this is hard and it’s even harder when you’re doing it alone. When you’re the parent, you have to stay strong and you can’t show them anything but super mom. It’s even harder when you don’t get that moment to feel afraid or vulnerable because they’re watching you every second, relying on you to make it okay. There’s no turning it off and you feel burned out and like an empty vessel with nothing left.
So, I try to stay positive by looking for the little things that can bring me joy even when everything feels bleak. For example, I’m super grateful that WrestleMania is still happening because for a few hours, I get stupid fun entertainment.
I’m also super looking forward to sitting on my porch and drinking spicy margaritas with my friends when this is over.
I’m optimistic that Vegas may still happen. I’m excited to go back to work, hopeful that my customers will have a new found appreciation for wireless devices, I know I have. This baby is keeping me connected with the outside world. It’s my lifeline right now and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I’m appreciative of everyone from grocery store workers to teachers and nurses who have done so much to help everyone, and we have a leader who’s doing his best to help us. It’s not much, but it’s something that will get us through this. Finally, every night I focus my energy on reminding myself that I can do this and we will be okay.
Even though everything feels hard and scary, and it’s day eleventy million of quarantine, I’m trying my best to stay positive so I can be a good role model to my girls, a strong presence for my family, and keep the crazy to a six out of ten so I can be ready when the time comes to go back to work. I hope you’re doing the same. Just keep on going. It’ll all work out and it’ll all be okay. Just stay home, focus on your family and yourself, and do your best to stay positive during the never ending isolation. Also, it’s okay to admit you’re scared or overwhelmed. I struggle so hard with that, but part of being mentally well is admitting we aren’t. So, right now, I’m not doing so fantastic, but I hope eventually it’ll be okay.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty excited for the new year. I’m so excited for new adventures, new changes, kicking ass, setting new goals. It sounds magical. The holidays were amazing. I spent lots of time with family, held my annual holiday party with some great friends, and my store did really well! Lots of things to be excited about as we head into the new decade.
I even won some kick ass ski passes at work! Raising money for Stollery Children’s Hospital is my favourite part of my job. I love it so much. There’s something so awesome about knowing I’m helping the community in some small way. Normally I recuse myself from participating because I’m the captain of the charity program. But I threw my hat in the ring because our Stollery representative insisted, and because I really wanted to win them to take one of my best Alberta friends snowboarding because she loves it. I knew that this trip would mean a lot to her, and I got to do so much good for Edmonton children. Now, she and I and another friend who won the other passes are going on a super fun snowboarding adventure!
Related: I have never ever been skiing. Or snowboarding. Or anything winter sportsy. In fact, I have actively rejected winter sports. So, I may die.
But I’m pretty stoked. I haven’t gone on a kid free trip in years and it’ll be nice to spend time with my friends. There will be female empowerment (or getting drunk in a hot tub with Prosecco) and possible death on a mountain. So fun! But then while we were in the group text, someone mentioned they should all bring their SO’s. Everyone has a significant other. Everyone…except me.
So, when I pointed this out, I was offered up some coworkers (which I would never date a coworker again) and the prospect of a random dude. All jokes of course. Also, for my friends to find the most “quality mans” on my Tinder and set us up. After all, I wasn’t gonna find a guy on my own. Then I realized that all of my friends had recently cracked the same joke about when was I gonna meet a quality mans because I’d been alone FOREVER. EVEN MY 10 YEAR OLD SAID SHE WOULD GET MARRIED BEFORE I REMARRIED! I just felt very small and sad, to the point where I cried at work a little bit. Is this how people see me? The loser who can’t get a plus one? The forever alone cat lady? The completely repulsive loser who is unloveable?!
I was heartbroken. Sure they were joking and it’s still a girls weekend, but it really stung. I never log into my Tinder because I just forget. The only place I go to other than work is the gym and I’m either working out or chatting. I haven’t had a love connection. Almost of my friends are paired off. I’m just that weirdo at the singles table with no dance partner. It was the first time in years I had considered settling for the first guy who messaged me online just to have a partner. The last two times I felt that way it ended up horribly, horribly wrong. But, the whole universe keeps asking why I’m not with someone, which translates into “what’s wrong with you? Are you too fat/ugly/crazy to land a man?”
I don’t like that feeling, like I don’t have any worth or value unless I am happily paired off. But that’s how I felt last night. Like my failure to meet someone and my refusal to settle for Mr. Whatever was ruining everyone’s fun. I even contemplated skipping the ski trip and giving them the passes so they could have super happy couple time. Their trip shouldn’t be ruined because I suck at dating. I ruined it by being single.
However, it was New Year’s Eve so I split a bottle of wine with my best friend and hashed it out. She reminded me that this is the first time I’ve really loved myself without conditions (partner, weight loss, etc) and because of that, I’ve built a solid career, moved to a nice home, learned to drive, and all of the things I refused to do for years out of fear and insecurity. This is the time in your life where the universe brings love to you, which is what I’ve said all along. You’ve just got to be open to finding it. So instead of being upset over something that was unintentional, open up your mind to the possibility of that all encompassing, healthy, Jack Pearson sort of love. It’s what I want and it should be what I get.
Which brings me back to the ski trip. Old MHC would have declined to go and let everyone have fun without me, I decided to be honest and tell people that this line of commentary hurt my feelings and I will meet someone when the universe says so, not some random so I have a plus one while skiing. And because my friends are the best, they apologized for making me feel like a third wheel, even if I did promise to let them fix me up a time or two (they’ve decided my “type” is the male equivalent of my best Alberta friend, so a sarcastic, snarky, borderline mean weirdo with an engineering degree that likes to argue about stuff. Or there’s always the “hard working Conservative Oil Man” that my relatives suggested, with whom I would argue with about everything until one of us died).
A moment of silence for the Conservative Oil Tyler
2020 is going to be an incredible year. I’ve committed to 300 workouts, and I’m running my third 10k. I intend to participate in another CrossFit Open. I am going to learn to ski. There’s a ton of opportunity at my job to learn and grow. My kids are growing and becoming amazing young women. There is so much to be excited about, which is why I’m going to focus on all of those things. The more I grow as a person and become the best version of me, the more likely love will come. Also, I look super cute and I’m in love with my darker hair. I won’t let one missing piece destroy my whole outlook. After all, missing pieces always turn up, but not until you open your eyes and are ready to find it.
My life always feels noisy. Between the loud music (speaking of music, I finally embraced streaming and got Apple Music. My world has changed for the better). But I’m always thinking, working, parenting, and obsessing about body image, finances, and trying to juggle what sometimes feel likes the whole world. It can cause a lot of noise in your head and that noise will make all the things I just mentioned harder. There’s a time talk about stuff, and a time to just be quiet and focus on each task one at a time. I chose this time to focus on quieting my mind and improving my life. When you’re trying to do a million things at once and still try to feel normal, eventually you just feel crazier. I desperately needed a reset.
I had a free week from work that was supposed to go to a vacation, but some much needed household repairs came first. I took this time to focus on my own mental health. I went to the gym. I worked out at home. I played a lot of video games.
But most importantly, I took a major step back from my life to be a parent and really look inward into how I can improve how I feel about myself. I’m back in that old pattern where I try hard, then fail, then gain more weight. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be the person who makes herself a priority so her kids see that it’s okay to take time for yourself to do what makes you healthier. I needed to shake up my life so I could really use fitness as a reward because I like myself, not feel like it’s a punishment for failing at weight loss. I needed to spend some time away from my world to reconnect with MHC and decide how I could really jump start the self love so I could get back on track. I never focus on me. It’s always my kids, my team, my boss, my friends, my mom, etc. but never “what does MHC want?” How can I become a happier person if I don’t even know what that means anymore? Truly I didn’t know. I talked a good game, but I’m always busy helping everyone else and feeling like an awful human if I couldn’t please everyone. The only person I wasn’t trying to please was me & that’s why all the things I love most were slipping away; fitness, job success, writing. So, I decided to do something to snap out of this repetitive cycle.
So I changed my hair.
I know it sounds stupid, but the first time I lost all of the weight and put myself in the happiest headspace I’ve ever been in, I realized I needed something I could control to get me started. So, I dyed my jet black hair blonde. It was a small, instant change that helped improve my self esteem. That change kick started other changes, which led to 100lbs weight loss. Ever since I gained some of the weight back, I’ve really just not liked myself. This made everything feel impossible. What was the point of working out? I just got fat again. Why bother dating? Working hard is important but feels futile because I’m just not good enough. I’ll never reach my time goal for my 10k because I’m too fat, and the list goes on. I was at the same crossroads I was before I moved to London, only moving to a random city isn’t an option because I love Edmonton and my house is the best. Maybe it was time to change up my appearance so I really love it and the rest would follow.
It worked too! I’ve worked out 14 out of 20 days this month, either at the gym or at home! That’s a major change from previous months. I’m enjoying it again too. I’m enjoying work again after my week off. I’m connecting with my kids and my friends in a better way because I’m not feeling so down on myself. A long time ago, I let depression and the feelings of unworthiness and self loathing cost me some good friendships. But, now I recognize when I’m feeling like this and I’m teaching myself that it’s okay to take some space from the world and get to know yourself again and figure out your own needs, not the needs of everyone around you. I’m still learning that it’s not my job to please everyone; just do my best for my kids, at my job, and for myself. The rest, the weight loss, the successes, will all come if I focus on one day at a time, whether it’s one work day, one workout, or just one day of quiet, letting my body and emotions tell me what I need.
I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday this year.
Money has been tight because of some unexpected repairs and I couldn’t take the girls to the WWE event they wanted to go to. I know they just went to Summerslam but I knew they wanted to go for my birthday. I know kids don’t need to do everything, but I felt like I disappointed them.
I also just looked at my birthday as a bunch of disappointments. I thought I’d have found my partner by now, and I haven’t been on a date in two months. I thought I’d be at my goal weight and I’m not even close. I thought I’d have gotten the promotion I’ve been chasing, but I’m not there yet. I just felt like I’ve let myself down. I had set goals for myself, and I didn’t really hit them. My birthday just felt like the year of disappointment. But, I still look good, that’s a plus, right?!
Fortunately, I have some pretty awesome friends. My assistant manager and his partner planned an entire birthday party for me, and invited all of my friends. They spoiled me with gifts. We drank wine and played Super Smash Bros. Two days later, I attended a work event and everyone made it a point to wish me a happy birthday. My boss’s wife got me a piñata. It might not seem like much to y’all, but when you’re already feeling down, there’s something so amazing about all the people you love or respect taking a second to do something nice for you is such a cool thing.
Maybe I didn’t meet the goals I set for myself, but I’m still doing really well. I have a job I love. I’ve been working on some new articles. I have great kids and the best friends in the whole world. I must be doing something right to have so many amazing people take time out of their lives to want to celebrate with me. I’m not behind because I didn’t meet some imaginary criteria. All of this stuff will happen when it’s supposed to. Until then, I should focus more on gratitude. I’m so fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life and that I get to be their friends. I’m fortunate enough to live in a wonderful home with my amazing family. I’m fortunate that I can afford to repair things when they go wrong. Lots of others don’t have that luxury. Maybe instead of focusing on timelines and schedules, just keep working on what I want to work on and then be grateful for when they happen, instead of pressuring myself to get there and failing. Things fall into place better when you let them instead of forcing them to fall when you think they should. Trust the process, don’t obsess about the result.
I went a friend/coworker & we killed it. Our schedules didn’t allow us to train as much as we could. We didn’t finish as fast as I’d hoped, but we still worked hard and got our medals and Doughnut Party donut and banana and feel pretty good about ourselves. I was worried we wouldn’t enjoy it, but some other friends are gonna work towards a 5k race with us in the fall, and we’re going to go back next year! I’m so excited that my friends are getting invested in my weird fitness stuff. Maybe someone will finally want to Crossfit with me! No? Anyone?
We almost didn’t finish together. My friend got a cramp in her calf (maybe we should have paid better attention in the warm up haha). I noticed after 1.5km she wasn’t with me anymore. So, I turned around & found her. She gave me shit because I had talked so much about wanting to beat last year’s time, etc. But we signed up together. We should do it together. Maybe I’m missing the point of the whole fitness thing, but it was really important to me that we pushed ourselves and finished together. We would have funny stories (like when my glasses got all foggy from sweat and I couldn’t see) and a sense of accomplishment. Now we’re going to do something in the fall together, but more friends are coming. Everyone is going to work together to become better.
I’ve been very fortunate in my four years in the land of cows to meet some great people that I can call friends. Some of us work together, some don’t. Some I brought from Ontario because they’re the best. But the best part is, in their own way, everyone is super supportive of everyone else. It’s so freaking nice to be surrounded by positivity. My friends are supportive and always pushing me to be better. My coworkers are always driving me to get to the next level. My gym family keeps me motivated even when I feel like I’m too uncoordinated or out of shape to try. When you’re surrounded by the right people, you are elevated to become better too.
I have never in my life felt so motivated in both my personal and professional life and it’s because I have a great support system of friends and colleagues who challenge and inspire me. Last year, I finished the 10k and didn’t decide to do anything else. Now I’m training for another race so we can all feel accomplished together. It’s nice to know you’ve got great people in your life, who actually want to see you succeed. I’m fortunate because I have people like that here, back in Ontario, and even in cities I’ve never been to. If you don’t feel like your friends/family/coworkers are on your team and want to see everyone succeed, then it’s time to evaluate if they belong in your life, because everyone deserves a tribe of people who want to see you succeed just as much as you want it for them.
I’m not gonna go on the internet and cry about how I’m a miserable broke asshole. Mostly because I’m not. I work hard and maintain an okay standard of living. I’m not going to buy a beach house any time soon, but I’m doing okay. However, I’m trying really hard to improve my credit, pay off one of my credit cards, reduce my debt to income ratio, and put myself in a better position. While I am fortunate enough to receive some child support, it’s often late for weeks at a time, and the dad doesn’t seem to care enough to make sure that he’s contributing. But it is what it is. The important thing is that the kids live in a comfortable home & that I’m taking care of things. I think we’re doing okay.
I always feel guilty about spending money on myself. I bought some new makeup and felt really guilty, even though I used my freelance money. But still, I always feel like money is tight and I’m not being responsible and I could do better with my finances. Then I’ll stress, like somehow my makeup collection is ruining me financially, despite my only buying stuff every six months or so. But I’m always guilty, like how dare I want something. The kids need stuff. New glasses. New clothes. Food. Lodging. Slushies. I’ve got to provide. Makeup doesn’t provide.
I think right now I’m stressing more because I saved up all year to take the kids on a legit vacation, and not just flying them to see their dad. We’re going to Toronto to check out the sites and attend WWE Summerslam, so my children can live out their dream of meeting Becky Lynch…and I can also meet Becky Lynch (& Seth Rollins) hahaha. It’ll be nice to use my vacation time for an actual vacation. But that means cutting every corner, scraping every penny to cover bills, which gets harder when you’re doing it on your own because you’re basically a sole support parent as your support payments are hit or miss. This means every penny is accounted for, and everything, from the hair appointment I cancelled to save cash to my granola bars for lunches, makes me feel like a shitty person.
I guess I feel this way because I’m the only person who has to think about the collective & everything is on me. I’ve got to keep the family going. I’ve got to make sure the bills are paid, the food is on the table. I’ve got to make sure that everyone is taken care of. I’ve got to fly the kids out to see their dad every year. I’ve got to make sure the car follows the proper maintenance schedule. I’ve got to keep everything together and I scrape and claw to get a vacation together and feel badly because that could have been used elsewhere. Because of this, I end up thinking that anything I might want is bad or wrong and I’m a horrible person for buying my cup of tea or buying makeup with money that I make outside of our budgeted income. I spend so much time worrying that I end up stressed out and exhausted.
Am I the only person who feels like this?
Maybe this is a sign from the universe that I need to be smarter with my money. I’ve already spoken to a financial planner about how to reduce my debt and really make my money work for me so I can feel more secure about my finances. Continue to do smart things like keep the deductibles for my auto and home insurance in the account with my insurance so I’m not caught with my pants down in an emergency. But mostly, calm the fuck down. It’s okay to indulge a little, just don’t be stupid. Stick to your budget. Put away savings. Plan your budget in a way that will help you maximize your earnings. Easier said than done, but I’ve mastered slowing down on my impulse buys. But most importantly, if I’m so worried about money all of the time, it’s up to me to make changes to feel better about my finances. Whining and sacrificing and panicking has never improved anyone’s situation. Nor has complaining and blaming everyone else. What will help, is actually taking time to make financial management a priority. I thought I did well, but I could do better, and I will be better, one nickel and dime at a time.