Hopefully, my reference to the Three Dog Night song “One” was clear. If not, I highly suggest you check out this classic…
I am an introvert who has learned to be extroverted, at times, as a way of getting by in the world. People generally like extroverts and being extroverted can make everyday social interactions less awkward. For a long time, I envied my truly extroverted friends. You know, the kind of people that could go to New York City, and sip and glide on the current of energy that flows through it, without becoming depleted. Truthfully, it is only as I have gotten much older, and lived through a global pandemic (I kid…mostly), that I have come to appreciate being introverted; and, come to understand that maybe there has been more to my isolation than just “me.”
Before the onset of the pandemic, I often wondered if there was something wrong with me. Despite having just moved to a new city, after work on Fridays, I would put on pajamas, crawl onto my couch, and rarely speak to a soul until Monday. When I reflected on this behavior, out of concern that I might be depressed, and perhaps I was, I would generally attribute it to the fact that I often had to work long days and weekends for University B. This belief was furthered by the pandemic, where I seemed to thrive in a fully remote work environment, managing much better than I ever had in person. However, as has become common, things began to change late last year.
In the span of a couple of months, I had made several new friends and became much more social. Rather than just sitting on my couch on Fridays after work, I was proactively texting my new friends to see who might want to hang out, even when I had to work the following day. What changed? My debt had changed. I realized that I had been refraining from making friends because I didn’t feel like I had the time or money to spend in the company of others. My time was better spent working gigs and my money was better spent being put towards my overwhelming debt. One may be the loneliest number but it can also be the most frugal.
These days, my life is much different. While I am still an introvert, I do not constantly shy away from the opportunity to spend time in the company of others. The reduction in my debt has allowed me to be more comfortable telling close friends about the fact that I am in debt and in response, they have been considerate of this fact when we plan outings together. Mr. Pokémon and I have set up regular Friday afternoon walks which are always one of the best conversations I will have all week. Kelly Kapowski (a nickname for a new friend who is a dead ringer for Tiffani Amber Thiessen) and I often drink wine and chill on her couch. As I have mentioned previously, because I opened up to her, she has also felt comfortable telling me about her own challenges with debt. And for that, I have felt even less alone. These days, my life is much richer.
Lunar Do-Over Day 7: February 7th
1. How much did I spend today? – $0.00 – My fridge is now stocked and I had no immediate needs.
February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Initial Balance: $463.77
February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Remaining Balance: $339.37
2. What financial information have I learned to help me when I’m debt-free? – Have any of you read the blog, book, or musings of Jacob Lund Fisker? He is a Danish personal finance blogger who retired at 33 and is the author of “Early Retirement Extreme.” He argues that anyone (I think the caveat is anyone without debt) can become financially independent in five years. There is a Wiki page that summarizes his principles and strategies. I initially encountered his work almost ten years ago, the very first time I took stock of my debt. At the time, I admired what he had achieved but didn’t think it was applicable to my situation given how significant my debt was. I am now reading his work again, hoping to see what I might learn and apply so that “retiring” by 55 is a real option for me.
3. How have I lived abundantly? – I made a ton of kimchi fried rice for dinner. I know! I did this yesterday. But it was so good and I wanted it again. I have a reunion coming up in mid-April and I am supposed to be shedding the winter weight. Eh. I find that when I totally deprive myself, I am much more likely to snap and binge than if I am more moderate in my eating.