Knock Me Down

If you see me getting mighty
If you see me getting high..
One of my habits that I really need to break has to do with my tendency to mentally plan out what I'm going to do with my winnings any time I buy a lottery ticket. Because when I eventually don't win, I actually feel kinda disappointed.
I'm like that with a lot of things, unfortunately.
Expectations (and the hopes that get sorta mutated into expectations) are a beast. It's like the evil twin of optimism. Instead of being confident that good things are going to happen, you're suddenly focused on the step afterwards before you've actually accomplished anything. It's like not looking a football all the way into your hands, or just expecting that last step in a staircase to be there -- and the results are always the same.
Like a lot of people, I live my life check-to-check. It's not really the way I'd prefer to do things -- but it's the way I've almost always been. I don't make a hunk of money, and I'm not always that great at managing what I get. I'm a lot better than I used to be with it -- but that doesn't mean that I don't get caught in the red now and again.

It's a frustrating thing, because I know what bills I have coming in and I have a pretty solid handle on what I'm gonna be making week to week -- which means I usually have a good eye on when the big bumps in the road are headed my way. As such, I try to plan the best I can to make sure I don't get too cornered before they arrive.

But the real problem still remains that even as this gig pays a lot better than my last one -- I still don't make a ton of money. So even when I plan every nickel out ahead of time, there's not that much left over when everyone gets their little slice. I don't need a whole lot week to week, but sometimes when you find yourself even the slightest bit ahead it's hard not to want to treat yourself where you can.
Which would be fine if I didn't have a mountain of debt hanging over my shoulders.
At the same time, it's hard to ignore the fact that I owe too much to fix it by simply cutting corners and eating nothing but ramen noodles for a few weeks. So as a result I'm not usually one to sweat the cost of a restaurant meal too much when measured against the other numbers stacked up against me.

It may not be the shrewdest financial strategy in the world, but I'm of the belief that there's a unique profit to be made sometimes by taking care of yourself -- especially if you know the bills are still gonna be there tomorrow when you wake up. Or to put it another way -- I have a couple of debts that are so high that it's gonna be a lifetime before I get them paid it off -- so why not send them the minimum payment once in a while and try to have a life?
Then something goes wrong with the car, or I miss a day of
work -- and suddenly I find myself in a whole mess of trouble.
Worse yet, I'll have a couple of weeks in a row where the paycheck is a just little shorter than normal, and I don’t adjust for it -- leaving me without any kind of buffer to cover any emergencies or unexpected things that come up, until you reach a point where all the numbers seem to be working against you and all you can do is scrape for coins in the couch to try and put gas in the car.

The worst part of the whole thing is that once you get in that hole and you're sweating every dime, it's hard not to look back at that night you ordered a pizza instead of cooking a meal and regretting it. And yeah, if I had that money back I'd be in a little better spot than I am right now -- but it's never really healthy to get in a cycle of regretting your good times after the fact.

The times I took my kid to a movie, or bought a round for my friends at the bar -- those weren't mistakes. At that moment in time it was the best thing to do for the people I care about to make them feel good. I hate that sometimes I start having second thoughts about the splurges I make when the repercussions come down a week later.
..But I do sometimes.
I'll be sitting at the computer, working the numbers, picking the bill that's not gonna get paid this month and thinking to myself, "Man, I really shouldn't have gone out last weekend." or "I wish I'd held off on getting the boy that transformer he wanted" -- when instead I should be getting mad at myself for pissing away so much of my extra cash earlier in the week because of bad planning, or chasing after things that don't work out the way I want them to.
At the same time I don't ever want to find myself stuck staying inside
on a weekend thinking too much about the things I wish I was doing.
I don’t know -- money’s not the only thing putting pressure on me right now, but at this moment it’s the largest elephant in the room. Not only in the fact that I’m worried about my electricity getting shut off, but also from that negative voice inside that keeps telling me that this is all my fault, and that somehow things will always be this way.
Also – that lottery victory party I was going to throw for all of us once the check cleared the bank?
..Yeah, that’s gonna have to go on hold for a while.

[Listening to:    24-7 Spyz"Love for Sale" ]