Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back to Basics

Yesterday afternoon, I got some news that could change my life as I've been living it. I got the dreaded letter, full of regret of course, informing me that, after 6 years, my freelancing services will no longer be required in 2 months time. Although I have a full-time job, this freelance gig was a significant contributer to my yearly income---very significant. But that's not the only thing that makes this so devastating for me. I loved working for this particular organization. They supported a cause that was dear to my heart, a cause that I've been fighting for my whole life. And now, they don't need me anymore.

I feel rejected (although I understand that nonprofits suffer the effects of a bad economy just as much as any business). And I'm scared about how I'm going to manage after losing a third of my yearly income. I've spent the last 2 days coming up with potential solutions (between sobbing sessions). I've thought of the best and worst case scenarios. I've itemized things I could sell on eBay or even pawn. I've prayed and counted my many blessings.

Now that my head is a little clearer and my tears have dried, I realize that this is the kick in the pants I've been waiting for. I've been suffocating under the weight of what I've let my life become. I've accumulated so much useless s***, so many things I thought would make me appear to be something I'm not. Just to name a few, I have four Louis Vuitton bags and several other designer bags, I have a Baume & Mercier diamond bezel watch that I NEVER wear, I have clothes folded away that still have tags. I have lived a wasteful, materialistic existance just to make my life appear more fabulous than it is. Why? Because I'm insecure. I wanted to create a persona my peers would admire and envy. I wanted to seem like "that woman," that huge success who built her own kingdom with her own hands. But you know what? I'm not that woman, and that's ok. I was a phony. I can't do it all on my own. Some women can and that's wonderful. But I can't, and there's no shame in that. There's only shame in the deception.

Actually, for the past few months, I've been fantasizing not about being a billionaire, like the song goes, but about returning to the kind of simplicity I should have embraced all along. I've been dreaming of whittling away at the materialism that has imprisoned me, that has pushed and pushed and pushed for more and more and more. It's like a self-imposed standard that's hard to maintain yet harder to abolish.

So I've decided that in the coming weeks, I'm going to start the process of streamlining. My goal is to not buy anything (except food and similar necessities) for 1 month (for starters). I want to inventory my things and sell what I don't need or want and rediscover the things I've tossed aside. I'm going to cancel memberships and other monthly dues that do me no good but I've been too lazy to cancel.

Mostly, I'm going to enjoy my half-marathon training (free) and health goals.

Speaking of which, I ran 4 miles yesterday. Today, my back was very achy, so I didn't workout out. I have a history of really hurting my lower back, which puts me out of commission for at least a week. And I don't want that to happen, especially since I'll be traveling for the next 12 days. Tomorrow, I will run another 4 miles and save my long run for when I get to Anaheim. I'm planning a great and fun 5-miler so stay tuned!

Well, I've vented enough for one night.



Cupcake Quandry on August 5, 2010 at 5:44 AM said...

I'm so sorry to hear about loosing part of your income, especially if it's from something you really enjoyed. We're in the process of "streamlining" right now I guess you could say. I have a bad habit of just buying random stuff, and it's starting to add up too.

Deedah on August 5, 2010 at 6:37 AM said...

Hey Cupcake Quandry! Sorry to hear about your emergency. I wanted to leave a comment on your blog, but it won't let me. But you're in my thoughts and prayers that you get the medications and treatments figured out and that you feel better soon.

Tina on August 5, 2010 at 7:14 AM said...

So sorry to hear that. I lost my job in October and it was so hard to lose my income! I've had to work so hard to make up for it but it's amazing how much money you can save when you put your mind to it. Seems like you are in a good frame of mind though. Congrats on the 4 miles. I aspire to that! :)

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