So my husband and I are doing this really great thing recently called “having a budget.” Not that this is new, of course – but the way we are doing it is new.
I have always been the financial mastermind when it comes to the two of us and I’ve had a budget for us from the day we combined incomes, but, despite my budgeting, we were still spending ridiculous sums of money on silly things. And, because both of our incomes are not set, I wasn’t sure how to create a budget on variable income, so I did what I always do: I bought a book.
The thing I particularly liked about this book was its structure. It didn’t just talk about budgeting theoretically; it gave you a plan with steps to accomplish on your budgeting journey.
Of course I read the entire book within a few days, and the steps! The structure! The plan! Oh I love a good plan. AND I really love plans that rely on numbers. I mean, I know we made up our abstract mathematical system, but numbers also don’t lie. There is no “gray area” in finances; you either meet your budget or you don’t.
In my own world, where I say phrases like, “stop having a plan and just do what you feel,” daily and spend my days covered in subjective frou-frou, it’s really nice to have some concrete evidence of my own progress. There is no numerical indication that I am a better yoga teacher. My classes might grow and fluctuate, but that has more to do with convenience and schedules of those who come to class than my success at my job.
Anyhow, so yes – numbers are amazing. Numbers were my fuel for my way back ago eating disorder, in a world where I was also painting and reading and writing and subjective-everything-ing. It’s validation for my hard work! The numbers change, and that means I am successful! That means I am a worthy human being, despite what you think of my art or my writing!
So of course I’m obsessed with this budget. And it’s more stressful, because it’s not just me that I have to control; I have to track and count every single purchase my husband makes. Because we can’t have a perfect budget without his participation. And fortunately or unfortunately, he’s just not as budget-crazy as I am.
Anyway, so I’ve been loving having a plan so much. Last year was really a whirlwind, with yoga teacher training, Keith’s 30th birthday, getting engaged and married, and watching the Royals go to the world series. My plan was: survive. And I was making progress towards a legitimate, concrete goal: getting my 200 hour RYT.
This year has been much different. Much more relaxed, less goal-oriented, more exploratory as I figure out what I’m trying to do with my life now that I teach yoga full time. Do I want to pursue that whole-heartedly? Or do I want to focus more on my art? And what about this ridiculous dance – ballet and tap – that I’ve started – where does that fit in? And now that I’m doing personal training again, I’d like to get in good shape, too – but how do I fit that in with everything else? And also re-landscape our yard and re-vamp our house interior?
Instead of picking something and pursuing it, I’ve been doing a little bit of everything and making no progress. It’s just not realistic to do it all. But what do I let go of? I know if I want to make progress, I need to stick to a goal and make it a priority. But the truth is, I’m not sure where my priorities lie in this new life. I’m not sure what my goal is and so it feels like I’m doing a lot without accomplishing anything.
Except, of course, for our budget.
Anyway, I know this is all just a result of my perfectionism tendencies, and I need to just “let go of attachment” and just “go with the flow”. Sometimes I hate yoga. Can someone just pick a goal for me, though, please? And thanks. My inner perfectionist would appreciate it.