Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's deflated-balloon Thursday, apparently.

I had a beautiful and exciting day yesterday, full of adventure (for an upcoming Adventure Wednesday post.)  It was one of those days that was so exhilarating that it felt almost like a vacation. 

Today I'm left feeling like the vacation's over.  I didn't even take a vacation, and yet my heart feels like a deflated balloon.

Photo via Dreamstime

As you can probably tell from my blog, we take a lot of adventures.  What perhaps isn't as clear (or perhaps it is) is that most of those adventures are free or very inexpensive.  We're on a tight budget right now, and today I woke up with money on my mind.

I rarely talk shop here at Finishing the Hat, but I'm a freelancer.  And I don't know if you know this... but freelancing is hard.  On top of all of the work-gathering and work-doing, I manage my own hours, so I have to be my own boss.  I have to turn down happy phone calls from friends, I have to shut off all interactive forms of communication (no instant messages for me) and I have to nix time spent online.  And I don't get to blame any of those things on a boss.  It's me, and if I don't do this, I don't make a living.  And I need to make a living.

That end-of-vacation feeling has to do with the kind of work I'm doing today.  I'm trying to line up some more writing gigs.  I love writing, but lining up writing gigs... well, it's not my favorite.  I can sell anything but myself, I guess.  Plus, we're doing our budget update, which always feels like impacted tooth extraction.  I dislike thinking about money, and I'd be happy if I never had to consider it again.  I don't need all kinds of material things, or wealth, or fame.  I just want to be comfortable, you know?  To be able to pay bills and cover our needs.  And in order to be comfortable... I have to budget.  And line up gigs.  So off I go.  (Anybody know anybody who needs a great writer?)

The other important thing for me to focus on today is emotion and energy.  I need to avoid translating the emotion I'm feeling into emotional eating, and I must make sure I translate this anxiety-energy into exercise-energy.  At the core of all of this, I have to take care of me.  How about you?  How do you handle your stress?  How do you keep your emotion and energy flowing in ways that help you to take care of you?


  1. I accept my emotion and then let it go. It is painful to stare that emotion straight in the face, and it takes time, but it is mandatory for the next step of moving on. This tactic took many years for me to figure out. As you may remember from when I was in High School, I didn't handle stress well and I either freaked out or ignored the problem entirely. My life isn't perfect and I slip every once in a while, but I'm 99% happy with my life.

  2. I'm not so hot at handling stress, especially ongoing stress - which I don't notice till it's creeped up to my throat level. Emotion I'm much better at, but often to the dismay of those around me. The best way to deal with emotion is to feel it and express it, fully and completely. Then it's gone. Done. Finito. Next. (Just don't stand next to me while I'm doing this.)

    Another great way to get rid of unwanted emotional responses is to find the corresponding physical response. Every emotion has a physical analog. If you are angry, you might find a tightness in your shoulders, for example. If you find the corresponding physical sensation and focus on it for a minute, you'll notice the emotion that goes along with it disappears effortlessly. Neat trick. It works.

    As for budgeting, I just can't do it. The more I pay attention to my money, the more it flows away from me at an alarming rate. When I go back to ignoring it completely, I always have just enough to get by comfortably. I can't say that would work for everyone, but it works so well for me. I'm pretty sure that my putting any concentration on money brings up thoughts of "not enough," and those thoughts create my reality - sure enough and soon enough, there's really not enough. Stop those thoughts, and remarkably there's always enough. I game the system, baby. The universe has rules!

  3. Not having enough money is the one thing in my life that makes me get depressed. I'm trying to do better and not let it get me down, but sometimes it's difficult. So, I feel your pain.

    Have you heard of It's a great site for freelancers of all sorts, and their biggest section seems to be for writers/editors. I got a few jobs for the summer, and it was great.

  4. From reading what you write here, you're a far better adult than I am. Part of the reason I've never aspired to a creative career is for the very reasons you cite here: 1) selling yourself (which I am *extremely* bad at); 2) being your own boss; and 3) (a corollary of 2) managing your money. Number 3 is incredibly hard and crazy-making for me. I learned long ago that if I don't have an every day job with regular paychecks coming in, I run myself into the poorhouse extremely quickly.

    I *HATE* to budget and limit myself, so if I don't have a steady cash flow, I become a very unhappy person very quickly. I can really identify with what _ZliKiSm_ wrote above regarding budgeting: the more I think about it, the more I tend to spend. When I don't think about it, I can get long as I have a monthly paycheck.

    This, however, is not really the adult way to handle things. Managing your money and sticking to a budget are the responsible things to do and it's well past time for me to learn them. Unfortunately, I come saddled with the hang-up of many years of mixed messages from my family when it comes to money. These messages and patterns are imprinted deeply in my psyche and very hard to overcome. ...But then again, I haven't been doing much of anything to help myself overcome them by continuing to deal with my finances in my usual way. I've got to learn to budget or one day when I'm retired, I'm going to run out of money.

    Consider yourself more well-balanced for doing the difficult thing you need to do in order to maintain a career you love. You're a better person for it.

  5. I wish money didn't exist or that we all had enough of it because it's a seriously stressful thing for so many....and it sucks..hard..

    I'm inspired by your realization and ability to not turn to emotional eating when you're stressed because I fight that battle too. And it's so so tough....

    You are a talented and creative person, and I can't wait to hear that you've secured new, awesome (well-paying) adventures..