Just over four years ago I moved to L.A. with $20,000 in savings. I worked hard to save that over years in Chicago and on cruise ships. I was very proud of myself. I felt great about moving here with such a piggy bank.
As of September of 2017 I have no savings. I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck watching my bank account nearly zero out every time I pay rent or another bill. This is all new for me.
I moved to Chicago with savings and managed to earn more than my expenses within the first two years. The lowest my savings ever dipped those first two years was $1500. What can I say? I tend to live pretty cheaply. I’m good about not spending too much on unnecessary things.
It’s now mid March and I’ve been working like a crazy person for months. One of the reasons I can’t stow away any savings is simply because L.A. is incredibly expensive. I never had a car in Chicago. The gas, insurance and maintenance on a car was a huge new expense in and of itself. Not to mention the doubling of rent (I had a really cheap place in Chi-town), and the lack of income.
In Chicago during those years I could find work. And work beget work.
Here in L.A. I have some work, but not enough. And when I work to make enough, I barely have time to breathe. I certainly don’t mind working hard, but working hard and still saving zero dollars is quite taxing on my already depression/anxiety prone psyche.
And while all the logistics of work and life in L.A. are absolutely difficult, they’re not my problem. They are the circumstances, but my problem is internal. It’s how I see myself.
Right now my brain is firmly set in the mode of being disappointed in myself. I came to L.A. to not be another statistic who moves back home crestfallen and beaten up. To me, that was the equivalent of ‘Game Over – you lose.’ And the fact that I recently celebrated my fourth anniversary, but I’m the most broke I’ve ever been – not to mention the most stressed out – is killing me.
I see myself as someone who lost $20,000 by not managing my life correctly. I see myself as someone who has thus far been incapable of earning enough money to live in this town. I see myself as a failure. A broke, depressed mush who is no longer young. I’m not full of potential with my whole life ahead of me.
That’s how I see myself.
And it… has… got… to… change.
I wish I was writing this post with a clear plan. ‘Here’s how I’m going to change my self perception in four bullet point steps!’
I can’t tell you that, because I don’t know. I don’t know how to change the adjectives I associate with me.
Motivational books and videos, exercise, friends, meditation, dogs and many other things help me to feel happier. But so far, none have helped me to flip the script.
The story will change. I will look at myself with love, compassion, forgiveness and a playful wink. That will happen. Not sure when. Not sure how.
Just writing this down because I need to remind myself that it will. That I’ll figure out something. I’ll learn something new. Something will come into my life that will help me understand how to do this.