What I spent and earned: October 16th – Herr Philosopher

Someone new…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $6.00
Variable Budget Remaining: $108.87

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $0.00*
Earned To Date: $779.64*
Goal Remaining: ($1,720.36)

Thursday evening, feeling a bit lonely and in need to discuss American politics with someone who is as obsessive and speculative as I am, I reached out to Gentleman Avery. He didn’t respond until Saturday and was only willing to talk politics to the extent that it disarmed me so that he could find out more about my “disappearing act.” Despite my protestations to the contrary, he seemed to believe that I had met someone and was only returning after the relationship fizzled. Our conversation eventually turned to politics, religion, and everything we hadn’t discussed in the past four weeks, and it felt like old times. He was intelligent, clever, and many of the emotions I have always felt when I talk to him briefly resurfaced. Perhaps sensing that I was softening towards him, he once again asked about my disappearing act. This time, sleepy and relaxed, I went into a bit more detail about my need for space and my discomfort with the nature of our current relationship. Gentleman Avery is not an emotionally forthcoming person, and these moments of vulnerability from me, necessitated by his incessant peppering of me with questions, are never reciprocated. There is always a brief relief that accompanies my honesty regarding my own feelings and then an emotional nakedness when he shares nothing of his own. In the past, I have found it jarring. Last night, I managed quite well.

This encounter reminded me why my relationship with him lacks a necessary layer of emotional intimacy. For a long time, I have tried to pretend that his interests, intelligence, and wit, rare in terms of their compatibility with my own, were enough to overlook this intimacy gap, despite the ongoing discomfort and uncertainty it caused…

This evening, while recovering from the previous day, and in an effort not to contact Gentleman Avery, I logged into a dating app. I was preparing to sign off when I was contacted by Herr Philosopher. Five hours on the phone later, I have no idea where it will go. Or if it will go anywhere at all. However, five hours later, and the emotional intimacy possible with a stranger, I am reluctantly accepting that interests, intelligence, and wit, even when compatible with my own, may not be enough…


*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 15th – On the run…

Technically, I spent more time in the car than running but…*cue Jay and Bey*

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $60.81
Variable Budget Remaining: $114.87

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $0.00*
Earned To Date: $779.64*
Goal Remaining: ($1,720.36)

And just like that, my variable budget for the remainder of the month looks…slender. I already know that I’m going to need at least $40.00 in gas to get through the remainder of the month based on my current gig schedule. I am hoping there aren’t too many other surprises. In an effort to eat at home and eat better, I have meal prepped for the remainder of the week and shouldn’t need to spend money on groceries. I am planning to join a couple of friends at one of their homes on Friday evening so I will likely need to buy a bottle of wine or some other gift. All of that said, I have been far more conscious of my spending each day because I have been aware that I would need to report it. I count this as a win.

I completed my first 5K, actually, it was mostly an obstacle course where you run in between, and I had a great time. I went with a friend who is also looking to get in better shape and we had a great time. I am already looking to sign-up and train for a proper 5K around Thanksgiving. Afterward, I showered and headed home. I picked up my mother, who has been a bit lost after the death of her dog, and brought her back to the city to a large state park. We had an awesome time walking and chatting. My parents live more than an hour away from me, so between gas and popsicles, it wasn’t particularly frugal but it was definitely worth it.

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 14th – Chillin’

Writing before early to bed…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $0.00 – Yay!
Variable Budget Remaining: $175.68

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $0.00*
Earned To Date: $779.64*
Goal Remaining: ($1,720.36)

Not much happened today and I didn’t spend or earn anything. I did participate in paid training at both University B and as a poll worker today but that won’t be paid out until next month. In the wee hours of the morning, a bunch of lucrative shifts popped up on Qwick with a large retailer and I snapped up ten shifts over the next two weeks. While I could have scheduled myself to work every day until the end of the month, I gave myself Saturday evening and Sunday off once. For now. Perhaps I need to set another debt repayment goal since I have no chance of making it under $60K by the end of the year…maybe under $65K? It would be less than $2,000.00 but that is a much harder lift as we roll into the holidays…

I am running a 5K cold (like literally no training) tomorrow morning so tried to go easy today. I signed up for this the day after I sent my resignation letter to Organization C when I was feeling far more ambitious. Recently, I have been demonstrating better control with my eating and hope to reintroduce more intense exercise as the weight starts to slowly fall off. Honestly, the move from a desk job back to taking gigs with Qwick (which has me on my feet and walking for hours at a time) was perhaps the first step.

Overall, I am feeling pretty good and the least anxious I have felt in a really long time. I hope this feeling sticks around.

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 13th – 1 Thing

Stylized to ensure reference to the classic go-go banger by Amerie and not the One Direction effort.

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $0.00 – Yay!
Variable Budget Remaining: $175.68

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $74.70*
Earned To Date: $779.64*
Goal Remaining: ($1,720.36)

The income over the past few days has been under one hundred dollars but it also reflects very little work on my part. Since last year, Qwick has become very popular in my marketplace, and competition for gigs can be stiff on weekdays when opportunities are scarce. As a result, I am much more willing to accept short shifts with higher hourly rates. Today, I only made $74.70 but I worked less than three hours. Qwick has a four-hour shift minimum. Employers know this and understand that they will have to pay the shift minimum no matter what, so for off-site events like private events/banquets, they will often let you go once the work is completed, even before the shift ends, as it means they get to leave as well.

My paralysis of yesterday extended into today and I am no closer to making a decision about exactly what is next, how I will walk down the path, or if I will apply for the role at University B. However, I did meet up with my former housemate, whose departure I lamented because she is awesome, and realized I have tepidly reached one conclusion: I’d like to remain in my current city. Because my current, temporary role with University B doesn’t require that I remain in my current state, part of my decision-making had to do with my decision to stay in the southeast or return to the northeast. While the northeast has my best friend of more than 18 years and better weather (I’m a cold-weather chick), it doesn’t really have another draw for me at the moment. I have become part of a community in my current city and have a strong network of friends and acquaintances with whom I enjoy spending my time. My relationship with my parents is increasingly dear to me and I don’t really want to move so far away from them again. At least not now. At least not for no reason in particular.


*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 12th – Paralysis

When you don’t know what to do next…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $5.88
Variable Budget Remaining: $175.68

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $99.75*
Earned To Date: $704.94*
Goal Remaining: ($1,795.06)

This one is going up a bit late because I don’t really have much to say at the moment… I called my best friend last night, and she was in such good spirits. She and the guy she had been seeing for some time decided to move their situationship (yes, perhaps the greatest contribution of my generation is this awkward, unhelpful label for romantic interactions in which one party, it can be both but it is usually one party, is unwilling to acknowledge a romantic relationship) to a proper relationship. They both seem happier, calmer, and less insecure about “what they are doing.” I am happy for her. When it came to her asking me how I felt about my decision of the previous day, I told her I still felt good. And that was the truth. That is the truth. Requesting a formal withdrawal from my top choice medical school resulted in a twinge of sadness as I remembered how much time I labored over that application and how much I connected with the mission of the school but ultimately it was pretty fleeting. Then she asked a question for which I knew I had no good answer, “What’s next?”

I didn’t have a good answer. Everything once again feels both wide open and urgent. During my walk with the good friend on Tuesday, he mentioned a job that was opening up at University B. He didn’t believe the job had yet been posted but a subsequent search of University B’s HR portal confirmed that it had indeed been posted. The good friend, we’ll call him Mr. Pokémon, suggested that I would be a front runner for the position as the two people convening and chairing the search committee are fans of my work; in fact, I recounted a dinner with one of them not so long ago…

While this would seem like an easy transition back to University B in a significantly elevated role, in the areas of my subject matter expertise, I have significant reservations. This role is a non-institutional (unnecessary for the functioning of the university) role that only exists at a few universities across the country. The job description looks like the kitchen sink and suggests that they don’t know exactly what they want the person to do. I also have some reservations about the person to whom I would be reporting…in my past experiences with her, one in which I reported to her as chair of a university subcommittee, I have found her kind and well-meaning but generally incompetent. I know that seems harsh but…there it is.

In discussing my reservations about the role with Mr. Pokémon, he argue that the role is a bit better than my read. He acknowledged the considerable ambiguity but argued that there would be significant autonomy and the ability to define the initiative’s mission, parameters for success, and define the director role. In response to my concerns about my would-be supervisor, he said that he saw her as unable and uninterested in undermining any agenda I put forth but that the interview process would allow for vetting of her leadership/management style. In most instances, I would apply and use the interview process, as it is intended, to discern more about the role and whether or not it is a good fit. In this instance, I have some concerns that were I to enter and later withdraw from the interview process that I would be burning a bridge. I have asked Mr. Pokémon for his thoughts here and will make a decision as to whether or not to apply this weekend.


*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 11th – Closure

I suspect this post will be rather lengthy, so let us skip the preamble…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $24.25
Variable Budget Remaining: $181.56

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $0.00*
Earned To Date: $605.19*
Goal Remaining: ($1,894.81)

I got my MCAT test score results back today and the results were underwhelming. Initially, I was really disappointed. But I should not have been. While I went through the pretenses of studying for the exam, I never really committed and spent a lot of time with my bottom in a chair, doing everything I needed to do to plan to study, or not study, or something entirely unrelated. So when I got my score back today, I was disappointed but I was not surprised.

After the initial onslaught of emotions, my mind began to do what my mind always does when I meet with a challenge: I began to plan my way out of it. And I did that for twenty minutes before I stopped and called a good friend. A friend who has always wanted what I want for me but who isn’t invested in the choices I make. I asked him to go for a walk and he agreed. We walked around for some time and I finally told him my score. I understood exactly what the paths forward were if I wanted to continue. If. What I needed from him was space to consider not doing that. We walked and talked and I worked through all of the reasons why I wanted to go to medical school and I finally settled on something that I had been unwilling to acknowledge for some time: I am not the person I was when I started this journey.

Since my journey began in 2016, I have had different jobs, pursued different interests, realized there were other ways for me to serve my community, and that I could be happy doing something else. However, for a long time, the process of applying to medical school felt unfinished. Like I had stopped, not because I wanted to take a different path but because my debt felt overwhelming, and continuing down this path felt like it traded off with my ability to become more financially secure. I am not even the person I was when I temporarily stepped away from this path a year ago.

Today, I felt like I really had choices. I could retake the MCAT in January and move forward with my application to a smaller subset of schools or, I could withdraw my application from this application cycle and begin again in the spring. I decided to do neither. For most of my life, I have gotten by, in fact, I have done quite well, being moderately intelligent and hardworking. I have been a master procrastinator who buckles down just before the moment arrives, producing strong work that is usually well received. There have been few, if any, negative consequences for this approach to life. What I realized while talking with my friend, who engages life in a similar way, is that this would not be sufficient to pursue a medical education. To pursue medicine, I would have to fundamentally change this behavior/approach…and I am not willing to do that. The time I spend procrastinating is time spent reading, thinking, and engaging other people and things. I also find that the pressure of the moment helps me focus and potentially produce better work than I would without it. Of course, there are times I don’t procrastinate but it is because I am genuinely excited about what I am doing. I was never excited about the path to medical school or what I expected my experience to be if I were accepted. I was constantly looking for narratives that suggested I would have time to pursue other creative interests, to have a life, a family… Medical school has always seemed like something to be survived.

For some time, I was unwilling to acknowledge this behavior/approach. To my labor-conditioned ears, it sounded a lot like…laziness? “To whom much is given, much is expected…” was an oft refrain of my mother’s… To successfully pursue a medical education would require that I change my approach to studying/work. Become a different kind of person. Today, I acknowledged, I am not willing to do that.

After I got back from the walk with my friend, I withdrew from Organic Chemistry II, and I withdrew my medical school applications. And I felt a bit sad, a bit relieved, and a bit excited. There is a chance that I will regret it tomorrow, or the next day, or next year…but I think not. I think I have finally found some degree of closure for this path. And I am genuinely looking forward to walking down the next path, for however long that may be.

As always, I appreciate all of you who have decided to read along and share my journey.


*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 10th – Test (results) anxiety…

My MCAT scores and Casper quartile will be released on October 11th…so tomorrow, ugh.

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $45.68 – Yay!
Variable Budget Remaining: $205.81

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $0.00*
Earned To Date: $605.19*
Goal Remaining: ($1,894.81)

I am headed on a walk with a really good friend today and it will temporarily pause my oscillation between hope and tepid despair.

A bit of spending today but it wasn’t frivolous. I will have more tomorrow. Likely far too much as I try to work through how I’m feeling about my test results.

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 9th – “Hit ‘Em Up”

That subtitle is for you Blissful… 😉

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $0.00 – Yay!
Variable Budget Remaining: $251.49

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $182.00*
Earned To Date: $605.19*
Goal Remaining: ($1,894.81)

Yea…today’s gig was an early one and I had to be on-site and perky at 6:00AM. This gig was actually on University B’s campus in the business school. Because University B is a medium-sized, private university, I took the gig with the assumption that I wouldn’t know anyone at the event and this turned out to be the case. Wearing a mask helped…

I have continued to wear a mask at all of my indoor gigs, which have been all of my recent gigs but one. Initially, internally, I argued that this was to limit my exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses this flu season, however, as I shared in an earlier post, I know that it is more than that…I know that I am a bit ashamed of my continued service work and fear running into someone I know. I don’t fully understand this fear as I generally don’t entertain the opinions of strangers with respect to what I need to do to support myself (yea, the irony isn’t lost on me). However, if I am truly honest, I really fear running into one person in particular…

I live in a large southern city, and the likelihood is extremely low that Gentleman Avery and I would run into one another at an event I am working…but there is always a chance. When we last spoke, really talked, I was still working at Organization C and University B, pulling in decent, almost “career, education-appropriate” money, and I felt confident about my financial position in a way I never had previously. I finally had something to offer a partner, at least in the nearish future. Gentleman Avery almost felt like an economic peer and had there been some impetus to bare our financial souls to one another, I could have done it. I could have done it.

However, a couple of months later and I no longer feel that way. And if I am truly honest (sorry for all these Red Shoe Diariesque confessions), I think that is the real reason I wanted some space from him. Space to find out if I could get into medical school/graduate school. Space to make a decision about further school on my own. Space not to feel ashamed about a career choice and an economic space that feels…regressive.

There is part of me that is hoping that this space, this lack of contact, will encourage him to move on…to finally let me go. He must be exhausted by us. I am exhausted by us. But there is another part of me that is hoping he’s still there. When I’ll have more answers…and feel like I have something to offer, again.

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 7th and 8th – A tale of two days…

A tale of two days…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $58.78
Variable Budget Remaining: $251.49

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $144.48*
Earned To Date: $423.19*
Goal Remaining: ($2,076.81)

Friday was all business and Saturday was all fun. As I shared in a previous post, on Friday, I finally broke down and purchased a new black dress shirt on my way to my evening gig. While this felt like a bit of a “failure” as it was the first time I had to go up in clothing size in years, I felt much more comfortable at work and, ultimately, it was the right choice. In the long term, I am more likely to pick up gigs if I am not psychologically hesitant to put on my uniform because it doesn’t fit.

On Saturday I went to a “free festival” with a friend and made a newbie “free event” mistake: the event is free, but food and activities at the event will cost ya. The event had a lot of local vendors and restaurants and despite lamenting the need to slim down, I allowed myself to snack (or buy) a smoothie, two bags of small-bag popcorn, and lemonade wine (I know, I know, but it was so deliciously southern…I can’t even hate). On the way home, I picked up some eggs. Overall, I had a wonderful time with my friends and housemate (who I dragged along with me) and it’s probably a good thing that I have friends who pull me out of the house for shenanigans on occasion.

A couple of months ago, I would have thought nothing about spending $40.00 at a festival, however, recording it today…hurt.

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 6th – Dressing the part…

Sneaking this one in just under the wire…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $0.00 – Yay!
Variable Budget Remaining: $310.27

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $133.45*
Earned To Date: $278.71*
Goal Remaining: ($2,221.29)

I just made it home from a gig so this one isn’t getting posted in the most timely manner but it’s getting posted, so there. October 6th was a good day in terms of my variable budget as I earned money but didn’t spend money on anything. The gift and the curse of working the wedding banquet circuit is that there is always free food; great for my budget, less great for my waistline. I felt really uncomfortable in my “blacks” (black slacks, black button down, black socks, and black slip-proof shoes) today and it was a not-so-comfortable reminder of the weight I put on towards the end of the summer, and early fall as I eschewed the gym and other activities in favor of studying for the MCAT. If I am nakedly honest, I continue to struggle a bit with eating in response to strong emotions, and there was a lot happening towards the end of the summer…

On my way to my gig today (October 7th), I broke down and bought another black dress shirt from a thrift shop. I should have done this much sooner but for whatever reason, I felt like I “deserved” to be uncomfortable for gaining the weight. And that perhaps being uncomfortable was necessary to help me lose weight… I don’t know if that is true, or what it means, but I bought a new shirt today.


*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.