The world is upside down. It feels like we are experiencing 1918, 1929, and 1968 all at the same time. Plus murder hornets. And California is on fire. And even the one thing we could always depend on (the US mail) is a question mark. Due to a global pandemic we have no idea what the next hour holds, let alone tomorrow or next week.
During times like these it’s easy to throw up your hands and say, “Why bother? I can’t do anything that will make a difference.” But you can. You can do SOMETHING. Which is much better than doing NOTHING. You can wear a mask. You can stay home when you’re not in class. You can say no to that questionable party you were invited to. You can encourage your friends to also say no to that questionable party. You can make sure to maintain a six foot distance between you and the next person. It’s SOMETHING. And something is much better than nothing.
Sometimes it will feel like your finances are spinning out of control. It’s easy to see what you CAN’T do and difficult to see what you CAN do. I can’t pay my rent on time. I can’t go out for dinner. I can’t buy that extra textbook. I can’t put gas in my car. But what CAN you do? You can arrange with you landlord to make payment after your student loan comes through. You can make a pot of spaghetti for next to nothing. You can borrow books from friends or from the library. You can take the bus. You can evaluate your belongings to see if there’s anything you don’t need that you can sell. You can pick up a micro-job or gig work. There is always SOMETHING you can do.
The world seems pretty weird right now. It can feel helpless. But you are not helpless. Remember….you can always do SOMETHING!
Sometimes when I’m driving, the road rage words that jump from my mouth, aimed at the car in front of me, will be, “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” (Full credit for this gem goes to my husband’s grandfather, who spouted an abundance of what we call “Wilbertisms.”) But there’s a lot of wisdom in this particular phrase that goes way beyond the driver who can’t figure out what he or she wants to do.
This is still the season of New Year’s resolutions. I made a couple of them this year. One is to make healthier food choices and to run more, with the goal of running a half-marathon in the fall (which I’ll now be held accountable for, since it’s out there in the blogosphere). The other is to create and live by a budget in an effort to pay down some debt I’ve been lugging around with me.
Right now you are likely thinking in wonder about the money lady who doesn’t have a budget and has a bunch of debt. I know….I know. It’s one thing to understand the principle. It’s quite a different challenge to put it into practice. I know that the secret to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. But I like cheese! And chocolate! And pizza! And I know the secret to budgeting is to spend less than you earn. But I like restaurants! And music festivals!
So here we are at the start of a new year. And I’m going to do something. Even if it’s wrong. Because doing nothing will not change anything. If I do something, it may lead to a positive change in my life. Or it may be wrong and lead to a learning experience. But either way, doing something is better than doing nothing.
My “healthier choices” plan includes using my fitness tracker’s app to monitor my food intake and calorie burn. My half-marathon dream is right now in week 3 of Couch to 5K. And I’m currently in my free 34-day trial of You Need a Budget, as well as reading the accompanying book by the guy who created it. I’m not sure how this will go (though I’m sure I’ll keep you posted as I progress). But I know that I’m doing something. And doing something (even if it’s wrong) is better than doing nothing.