Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesdays at Forty: Looking Forward Instead of Back

I've done so many posts about looking at where I've come from or what has shaped my behavior that I decided to look forward on this one.  I'm very excited to be closing in on the last month of my first full time term at college.  It was a challenge in many ways.  Not just financially but it has tested my ability to handle four classes at once and all the work that goes with those classes.  On many days, I've gotten a bit overwhelmed by the thought of all the stuff that I needed to do that I just retreated to my bed.  I wouldn't be surprised, if a few of my migraines may have been attributed to this stress.  Last June, I wrote about something similar occurring while I was in middle school in this post.

I found, though, that once I got started, the work wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  It was just that getting started part.  Many of us go through similar issues just getting to the gym--the hardest part is getting dressed.  Anyhow, I'm doing very well in three of my classes.  The fourth one, I'm getting a C--totally bombed the midterm BUT I negotiated three answers and brought my grade up enough points to be in the next letter grade for it.

The registration period for the fall term is in a couple weeks and that's going to be an anxious yet exciting time.  I've already picked a few courses that I'd like to take.  I have four decided upon and three alternates if the first four are already full.  Once registration is complete, I won't have to do much until the end of August.

I'm also trying to strengthen my relationships with folks that I meet through Team RWB and my SGI Buddhism groups.  These two groups are helping me to actually do the things that I mentioned above--tackling the work as it comes--just by getting me out of the house and getting some perspective on my various life situations and showing me how others are dealing with things in their lives.

I'm also feeling really optimistic about what my "love life" has in store for me.  I've written a number of posts about how things have been working in that department.  I love my fella and, thankfully, it's not that wacky mess of emotions that it was three, four months ago.  It's more like a warm glow--embers that are banked but not extinguished.

The other gentleman that I spent Spring Break with was more than expected, in a good way.  I say that because I really didn't anticipate having such a great connection.  To some extent, I'm quite grateful that nothing really developed between us during the first few years that we knew each other.  I don't think it would have been as easy or as comfortable to just be in each other's presence if anything had come about back then.  He's quite the chivalrous fellow and treated me awesomely.  He has his flaws which I won't really go into because I haven't encountered any deal breakers at this point.

I'm even thinking of spending my birthday down that way.  I can't think of a better way to spend it; unless it was like last year where my birthday lasted the whole month of May and I spent it with pretty much all my friends and family along the way.  If I could figure out a way to do both, that would be epic.  Maybe in a couple years, if I move down to Florida, I can get everyone to come my way.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesdays at Forty: More Entrenched Habits

About eight months ago, I wrote about habits that began when I was a kid.  In that post, it had to do with comfort food--you know, those foods that we turn to when shit gets rough--and how I developed my love of the ones that are mine.  In the more recent past, I started thinking about other habits that I've developed as a way to deal with situations that arose.  We all do it.  We all develop a mindset or activity to protect ourselves from emotional harm or disappointment or something similar.

What I've been most thinking about is how I protect myself from being hurt by someone whom I love or am emotionally attached to.  I've looked at this facet of me a number of times over the years, just trying to suss out why things happen the way that they do.  In my wonderings, I came across this post from about 18 months ago in October 2015, where I talk about some of the men whom I've given my heart to.  It never panned out with the one that is mentioned at the end.  To be honest, I don't even remember who it was.  Anyhow, in the post, I talk about how distance led to the demise of the various relationships.  And it did BUT I think I often downplayed how much that did to me.  When the relationships ended because of distance, I internalized it as that I was just somehow not enough to keep that person.  

Now, there is a different mindset if the person is still in the military and really has no say over where they live or where they move to but it's the other folks who are no longer in the military or were never in it, that really cemented me thinking this way about myself.  Brian chose to end the relationship because he didn't want a long distance one.  We were together for two years and had even talked about a future together.  I don't regret that we're no longer together but I have to wonder if he ever looked beyond what HE wanted (or didn't want, in this case) to realize that he could have, feasibly, moved to be near me.  Hell, my best friend did it and she was only 19 and had a two year old.  George moved back home to California so that he could be near his kids.  This one I get but, at the same time, I can't help but think about how he could have stayed.  (Yes, I'm occasionally selfish.)

Damien is the one that really--now that I'm able to truly step back and look at it--did a royal number on me.  Because he lied.  He deceived me by not telling me--for EIGHT months--that he had met someone.  Again, I understand meeting someone and connecting with them--this is not a totally foreign concept to me--but to have not told me and I end up finding out when the woman calls me on my VOIP (computer phone line)...that takes the cake.  We had talked a future.  We had talked marriage.  We had talked about "us" as a unit and he threw it in the trash.

So, because of the marriage talk with Brian, that didn't happen, and the marriage talk with Damien, that *really* didn't happen, I decided that I didn't want to get married.  Ever.  I told myself this even more when I saw all the shitty marriages that my coworkers appeared to have.  And, when I say "shitty" I'm talking about those men who would talk shit about their wives to those of us in their work environment.  I'm not referring to anyone who didn't talk bad about their wives.  I didn't want *that* kind of husband--one who talked shit about me--so I didn't want marriage.

It's kind of like when I was a kid and my family couldn't afford brand name clothing so I'd tell everyone that I didn't even like or want brand name clothing.  It was self preservation.  The truth is: I have nothing against marriage.  I've seen some really good marriages.  I'd love to have a marriage like that at some point in my future.  It's just easier to not want it.  Then I won't be disappointed.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Tuesdays at Forty: Breathing a Little Easier

You don't realize how stressful life can be if there isn't enough money until you're really and truly experiencing it.  And, when you get a little bit extra and are able to breathe again, you realize just how much it was impacting your health, both mentally and physically.

My GIBill stipend (and book allowance) came the second week of February.  Until then, I was existing off just under $1700/mo.  October, November, and December it was a little more because of all the hours that I was putting in at my part-time but I was also spending 50% of *that* check on gas.

I know I've alluded to how difficult life on retirement pay is (and I sure as hell can't imagine how more than one person can live off that amount--my hat is off to you!) but let me give you the breakdown (yep, totally sharing my business but it's my business to share):

Pay (once a month): $1637

Mortgage: $845
Electric: $84 (budget billing)
Natural Gas: $70 (also budget billing)
Water/trash: $40 (they bill quarterly but I pay monthly to make it easier)
Auto Ins: $56.15
Life Ins: $15
Internet: $56.99
Flooring: $26 (installed in October)

Out of the remainder (about $400), I had to pay for gas, groceries, two credit card bills (spent more than $9k on Jeep repair bills last year), and miscellaneous. 

So, you can see why getting through each month was often nail-biting.  

I received my January housing stipend mid-February because I was "new to the system" and they needed to actually input me into it and February's came on time, a few days ago.  Just having that little bit extra is awesome.

As for my love life, it's doing pretty well.  I still talk to my fella daily via text.  It's been more than a month since my visit but I'm feeling less anxious than I was the first month that he was gone.  I think we're just kind of used to this new normal now.  I've also reached a point where I'm not overwhelmed with emotions.  I *choose* to love him.  

I'm also looking forward to seeing how well me and another fella mesh.  We had great rapport years ago--when we would bug the shit out of each other--and I'm hoping it's better than then.  He's a sexy, smart, funny man that I wouldn't mind being involved with, albeit long distance (as well :( ).

There are a couple others whom I've befriended.  Just trying to see how things work out.  I don't just hop in the sack with just anyone these days.  (My 20s were a whole different story but that was 20 years ago.)