"Sometimes you've got to hit rock bottom before you can make some changes in your life."
A smart quote said by an even smarter woman. My good gal pal D Money and I were talking about life's philosophical moments over a bottle of wine and a couple smokes last week. I normally don't take to tobacco, but God had handed me a tough couple days to grapple with my current, tragic flaw (surely you remember the definition of a tragic hero from High School? I only hope my flaw won't be the root of my demise) and so I felt a smoke was a small way to smooth the rattled nerves inside me.
I've long said I've been cursed with the misfortune of learning well from my mistakes. It seems, and this is the misfortune part, that I only learn best when I make mistakes myself. Life would be so much easier if I could learn from books, urban legends and the follies of friends, but then life isn't supposed to be easy, is it? So I've come to tread lightly and accept the fact that things will happen to me that add a dash of crisis to my days. I only hope I can be positive and happy when those moments happen.
And this week handed me one of those moments. I don't want to go into the gory details because, well, it's a bit embarrassing as it exposes a truly stupid weakness of mine. All I'll say is it has to do with financial irresponsibility and the reality that you've always got to pay the piper.
Let me backtrack a bit.
At 28 years of age, I have learned that growing up in a privileged lifestyle isn't all it's cracked up to be. Horseback riding lessons and fancy meals at fancy restaurants at 14 doesn't do well to teach a person that money doesn't grow on trees. My hand was always filled with cash whenever I needed money to buy a yearbook, new soccer cleats (a brand new pair for every season, of course) and even when I wanted to go to the movies with friends. As a teen, the car and its insurance was always paid for, and when I made it to college I didn't have to worry once about the possibility of school loans.
I was a lucky little girl.
But the world is a cruel one, and only realized after the lights went out (a few times, actually) that I had to pay my bills myself to keep the juice flowing.
Along with those bills come the awful chore of balancing a checkbook. Honestly, I've never given this tedious task the college try. Instead, I've always relied on bank phone lines and ATMs for balance information.
Boy, how wrong those sources can be.
In fact (and here's part of the confession of my stupidity), I've paid more than 500 dollars in overdraft fee in this month alone. My fashionista inklings scream in anger over the concession that's enough cash to pay for a kick ass Coach bag -and- a pair of Prada shoes.
After a couple weeks of penny pinching (some of it voluntary, some of it not so much) I've already paid almost a thousand dollars in debt, and I have firm plans to pay off the remaining two grand by the end of this calendar year.
If 27 was my year of growing up and shedding the Party Girl lifestyle, then it looks like 28 is shaping up to be the dawning of my financial responsibilities.
I'm guessing since 29 is about two months away, that's going to be the year of my body.
I should be in great emotional/financial/physical shape at 30. Perfect marriage material, right?