*Since I wrote this, a few things have changed. The USCG has upped its tuition assistance policy again (Yay! Congress don’t mess this up again!) and my wonderful little sister is getting some money now, so I am no longer paying $100/month for her singing lessons. My money situation is much better now, though the lesson was a good thing for me, so here it goes.
Being in the longest relationship I have ever been in does weird things to my psyche. In the past, I worked hard but was rigid about two things: I want my coffee with Splenda every morning, and I want my workouts. Give me those, and feed me, and I’m a happy girl. Jesse has turned this on its head. I am so much more physically confident than I was before. I’m still motivated for my workouts, but if things falter for a few days out of the month, or we go for a week to visit relatives, I am learning to be okay with that. After all, who am I trying to impress? As for the Splenda, Jesse changed what I thought no one would. He pointed out that my guilty, non-sustainable oriented indulgence was what I knew it was… not in line with my green sustainable values. Now I’m drinking my morning coffee with organic sugar. BLEH. I suppose I’ll get used to it eventually.
But a few other things, like my budget, suddenly have taken on this enormous importance. The fear or him being unhappy with me (or worse, being disappointed in me!) is a visceral reaction. I get pale, my heart rate sky rockets, and I feel like an ice storm suddenly has me in its grasp. It is a feeling that is familiar to me, like a deer in headlights. It’s my mind and body saying, stop right there! DON’T PANIC!
So as I prepared to sign up for my first graduate class in a year and looked at the Coast Guard’s new Tuition Assistance Policy, the ice storm descended in a furry. The USCG would only pay $500 of my $1100 bill? It used to cover $750. How the hell was I going to manage this?!
I literally put my head in my hands, and fought the little voices in my head screaming “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” Getting this masters finished in three years is a necessity. But meeting the budget goal? Also a necessity. And those two were now at war within my brain. I crunched numbers, and came up with a solution that is very unsustainable. With my 4 year coast guard raise, I can put aside $200/month for my college classes IF my miscellaneous fund for things like bike repairs, clothes, uniform items, etc. stays at $100 a month. With bike repairs costing me around $50 a month, this means anything like a moped oil change, birthday presents, military uniform items, underwear, puts a serious strain on me and my finances. This month I’ve panicked over $12 to get my wings sown on my blouses for work, an $8 library overdue fee, and travel expenses for a Coast Guard C school. My nerves are worn thin. Sooner or later, the budget will be blown. It is only a matter of time.
As soon as I can I’m going to move out of my $675/month place, and rent a room for $400-$550. Estimated time for that to happen? February or March. Until then I’ll literally be counting every $5 I spend, and avoiding costly social outings like ANY RESTAURANT MEAL EVER like the plague. I don’t want to break budget, but I have to face the reality that, with all likelihood, it will happen.
So how do I fess up to this? The first thing is to confront where the feeling is coming from. My fear of breaking the budget is fear that Jesse will think less of me. But wait a second here! I am committed to paying off my debt for personal reasons, not just because Jesse the financial guru says I should. Given, I probably wouldn’t be paying it off as fast as I am choosing to do so without him cheering me on, but there it is. I could avoid breaking the budget, by sacrificing things that are important to me, like my donating, my triathlon training, or saving up money for flights to see my family, but I choose not to do so. We all fear disappointing ourselves and those we love, but at the end of the day you need to be true to yourself. No one is perfect, and budget setbacks will happen. Jesse will either be pissed, or he won’t, but I know that we will work it out together.
Everyone has their Achilles heel when it comes to what makes them upset. Mine is making those I care about disappointed in me. However, at the end of the day, those I care about love me because of who I am. Thus, breaking my own moral code to try and please them is contradictory, is it not? Budget setbacks will happen. Breathe. Change what you can to remedy the situation, plan ahead, and move on. This is not a sprint, and we can’t treat it like one, emotionally or otherwise. Step by step, a few forward, and a few back, but steadily forward. That’s what counts.
This Week in Updates: Sleepless in San Diego and other places
So I’ve been flying this week, a lot. And last weekend, when I was supposed to be cooking and preparing for the week, I ended up here…
That would be San Diego at 1:30am Sunday morning. Plane broke down, long story short, I didn’t cook at all last week. Lucky for me, the coast guard has some pretty high per diem standards for San Diego, and I was able to make the extra last for runs to Chipotle. Did I mention that I had to work 4 hours late on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday? Yeah, no cooking time anywhere in there. Then I had a late night flight last night (didn’t get stuck anywhere) but I was still awake until 3:30am this morning. Got to see a nice sunset though.
At least this means that I have leftovers going into this week. My pumpkin and coconut were still unopened this morning, so I was able to skimp on the grocery store on produce. Surprised I was able to keep my wits about me despite the lack of sleep, and did very well. Also, who knew that CA makes kiwi?
The Recipe: Vegan Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding
Yummay! Happy Halloween everyone, fall is in full swing, and it is time to bake with pumpkins. Rice pudding is a great pre-work out carb to begin with, and so is coconut milk, so add them together with a little extra nutrition from the pumpkin, and what you have is delicious and good fuel! This is easy, tasty, and would go wonderfully with some gram crackers or chocolate chips, anyone?
1 cup organic pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk (the creamy part from top of the can is preferred)
1 cup uncooked rice
4 tablespoons sugar
pumpkin pie spice to taste
Once again, the inspiration from this comes from Simply Mum! Cook the rice and set aside. Heat up the coconut milk, stir in sugar, and slowly add the rice. Follow the directions from Simply Mum, until the rice pudding is the desired texture. Add the organic pumpkin and the pumpkin spice, stir, and heat for 2-4 more minutes. Enjoy!
If you liked this, try strawberry basil rice pudding!