Stewing in circumstances

Time to be open and vulnerable.

I’m four months into my nine-month payment plan for my coaching program (which basically means I’m living a no-spend life because the majority of my income goes to payments for the program). We’re also about to move into summer vacation from school, which means I don’t get paid. We get a half-paycheck at the end of May and another half-one at the end of August, but today was my last full paycheck until the end of September.

I’ve been stewing in worry about money. Right now, most of my income goes to rent, the coaching program, and student loans. I try to cobble together a living in the summer from a part-time tutoring job, but it’s not super reliable. And I’ll get paid for teaching summer school at the end of July, but my dream is to direct that money to my credit card. What would it feel like to have no balance on my credit card?

There are so many things I want to do, but everything costs money. I know money doesn’t buy happiness, but it surely offers a kind of freedom of mobility in your life. I have friends I want to visit in other states, restaurants I’d like to try, etc. Yet for now, I have to decide on a week-to-week basis how to make dinner for $20 a week. I know this experience is teaching me so much, but right now, it’s frustrating.

I feel a lot of tension lately. I worry about money. I worry about my own self-discipline this summer as I do my coaching work and try to prepare for my exams this fall. Last summer, especially when I was teaching, it was so easy to devote all my energy to lesson prep and being with my students, then crashing in the afternoon. But I can’t do that this summer.

I’ve got the emotional shopping bug, just like Caroline, and also like Caroline, I’ve been trying to work out my feelings in my old, usual ways, but it doesn’t always work. Go out in nature, run, work out, do yoga, cook a meal, sit in silence, rest, read a good book, journal, call a friend, clean, play with the dog…these are all great, but lately, the bad feelings don’t always go away.

I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t worked out my nervous energy around money and exam prep. I had my first peer coaching session (I was the client) and my coach helped me work through a few of my bad feelings about the exam, but that doesn’t mean they go away in the blink of an eye. The summer stretches before me in this vast, hot, unscheduled void, and it makes me anxious. I’m sitting with a lot of false assumptions and interpretations, which coaching is great for working out. But it’s a process.

Many of my clothes don’t fit. I seem to be losing weight (perhaps I’m just eating less because I can’t afford my usual grocery list?), and I put on a skirt to wear to teach yesterday and it slid right off my hips. I was able to wear it last summer. Yet I have to make it to October with the clothes I have. It’s like I’ll have to embrace an unintentional, forced minimalist wardrobe because many of my clothes no longer fit or look worn, but I can’t buy new ones.

I try to be more in my body and less in my head during this stressful time. Sometimes I’m not sure how to do that.

I’m working on feeling thankful for what I do have and throwing my energy into my various projects. I even started following the moon cycles to discern when to be more aggressive in my productivity and when to rest with a more feminine energy. I’m trying everything.

The next few days are scheduled down to the hour with grading obligations and various social activities. That, too, is making me feel anxious. None of it is really optional. I feel like I need rest so badly, but it’s going to be a while before I can get it. In the meantime, I have to find peace in little pockets of time throughout the day.

How do you find peace when you’re stewing in circumstances beyond your control? None of my usual go-to’s seem to be working.


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