Just as the stock market has booms and busts, life too has ups and downs, yings and yangs, and ebbs and flows. Life seems to be going better than you could ever ask, then before you can really get to enjoying the good times the cycle of life turns again.
Last month, I wrote in April’s Debt Update of some recent moments with the sun shining on my back. I had married the love of my life and paid off my student loans after six years of carrying a $600 per month payment. Life was better than good, life was great, for a moment.
Then, like earth’s gravitational force, I was pulled back to reality by a fast paced project at work. I had taken sometime off of work to get married, and now I was behind. Worse than that I was behind on something that I was slow at to begin with, learning plumbing design on one of the most complex systems you can design a plumbing system for, a large scale commercial kitchen expected to serve between 1400 and 2000 meals per day.
My first weekend back at home in Seattle as a married man I had to go into work. Then it was the same story for the second weekend, and the third. Now I’m on my fourth weekend home as a married man and feeling the pull to go back into work, but I’m resisting. I sat down with two of my bosses this week at work to go over my design work thus far and was told that with the number of hours I’ve put into it already they would expect me to have the design completed. There was not mention of my first weekends home with my new wife that I spent away at work. No mention of the time needed to go up a learning curve, or of the fact that we are designing this system in a 3D CAD program called Revit, which our team hasn’t done in the past.
A blogger I respect once said that his rule for writing is to think of whatever is cycling through your head that you don’t want anyone to know and then to write about that. It allows you to relate to people on a human level of imperfection.
I’m failing, not meeting expectations, and going up a learning curve much to slow. At this point I want to go into the office for a fourth weekend in a row without recording my hours, even though I get paid time and a half for overtime.
The stress has started to have a physical effect on me. This week the pain I had in my neck was so bad that I was hardly able to turn my head without turning my shoulders as well. I adjusted my monitor’s height to no avail. I think it could be the position of my keyboard and moue causing my shoulders to roll forward, tightening my trap muscles which put massive strains on my lower neck.
I feel that I’m in a hole, and the only way to climb out is work, work, and more work, except without recording the hours.
In an effort to pull back and look at this situation in a different light I try to think of it in terms of investing. If the stock market was down in a hole as I am, there couldn’t be a better time to invest in it. Forests thrive after being ravaged by a fire. New saplings take root and thrive with the new light that has been allowed down to the forest floor. In CrossFit I purposely put my body under stress to make it stronger. I can only hope that I will be stronger in the future for this, and not crushed by its weight.
Take away thoughts from this, I’m thankful for my saving and investing habits that I’ve instilled over the years. Each month I’m a little less dependent on my job. I no longer have the huge student loan bill to pay each month. I’m soon going to refinance my rental house to increase the passive income I receive from it. We have our emergency fund in place, and live way below our means. If the worst were to happen and I did lose my job it wouldn’t be the end of the world, we would be alright. I could find another job, possibly a much better one.
I have more motivation than ever to keep on saving and investing, one day no longer dependent on a job. Tomorrow’s another day, another opportunity.