abundance · action · coffee · finances · love · self-care

Asian Hipster Abundance

This morning as I was trudging up from the dungeon of Montgomery Street BART, there was an asian hipster dude a few paces in front of me,
and he’s bobbin to his music, and then he’s really swaggering it, and then he
begins to bark out some phrases, and then he begins to clap with wide arm
gestures. With every increasing jaunt of his, my smile begins to get wider, and
I follow him for about a block or so, smiling to myself as a few short stints
of sunlight shine through the buildings onto my face. And I ask myself to
remember this feeling – at least for a little while.
I’m now working 3 days a week in SF as a temp at an interior
design firm. And sometimes it’s sort of cool, and I’m looking at massive design
books of ridiculously fancy homes and touching pretty fabrics from a new line –
but mostly, it’s the same admin work any admin anywhere does – cataloguing,
entering, organizing … mind-numbing, I think my eyes are bleeding work.
That said, I’m tremendously grateful to have this job.
Firstly, the people are quite excellent – at a former temp job, I had a very
“that’s my stapler” cubicle tenant adjacent to mine, and it was always a fine
line between being immensely entertained and alarmed – particularly when the
continuous murmuring monologue included sudden bouts of loud expletives.
Secondly, I’m a graduate student, living off student loans with absolutely zero
savings, and much like unemployment, student loans pay you almost enough, but really not enough. Well, not enough for
a studio apartment in the Bay Area at least – which, yes, was a conscious
choice I made rather than have roommates.
And so, when this temp job was offered to me, despite also
being a full-time student, it was like manna from heaven. I worked with this
company over the summer – it was like manna then too – and they asked for me
back. So, I’m back. I’m also babysitting, catering, and … well, yeah, that’s
it for now (although artist’s model auditions come up in January again – I
missed them last time. I auditioned with a different company once before and it
wasn’t as weird as it was simply difficult to remain super still for 20
minutes!)
So, suffice it to say that today, after a few mind numbing
hours in front of a computer screen, it was hard for me to maintain the jaunty
optimism of the asian hipster, but I’m glad to remember him and his yellow
backpack right now.
I’ve been tracking my income and expenses much more closely,
but with purpose, since August. Prior to that, about a year or more ago, I
started to track my expenses, but just got pissed at myself that I was spending
so much money on coffee. And thinking self-flagellation was not a mile-marker
on the road to serenity, and not really having any idea what to do with that
information, I stopped keeping track. But, then it was August, and I’m
contemplating ramen, canned tuna, and an empty fridge – again – it was time to address
this – again. So, I reached out to people who do this sort of thing (this
frighteningly adult sort of thing) called “having clarity around finances”, and
started to keep my numbers again. ~ and I was amused to note that in August, I
spent $8.00 on coffee. Not the omigoditmustbelike$100 paranoid number I’d
imagined!
After tracking my expenses, I work with these folks to create a spending plan. It was
surprising to learn from my friends that I was “underspending” aka depriving
myself in all sorts of categories like food, clothing, and personal items
(apparently $1.34 a month-for a toothbrush-is not an act of self care!). And
so, I’ve begun spending within my newly clarified means – confirming abundance, and also confirming the
fact that I actually *do* have this money. I just haven’t known where it is, or
where it goes, hence my whole “binge and purge” financial routine.
The advanced part of this exercise is the income plan. This means that yes, YAY! I get to buy
the fancy shampoo that is kind to my chemically straightened hair (bad idea), but
that I have to earn the appropriate income to support a habit of self-care. And
I
like this new habit of
self-care – this month I actually added in a category, modest though it is, for
flowers. And there they are, right here on my desk. 🙂
So, yes, I work in a job that is more exhausting by how sedentary it is, and yes,  I
woke up this morning at 6am to write a paper and went directly from work to
class until 9:30pm tonight, but a) it won’t always be like this, b) I’m grooving
patterns of responsibility and evenness (not the mania of “how am I going to
pay my rent???”), and c) … well, I really like coffee.

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