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The 3 Most Profitable Things: The Lady’s Animated Memoir

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It’s been a shamefully long-time since I wrote my weekly memoir but The Lady in the Black is back! Take a moment to check updates on her life, love, and pursuit of a profitable life.

The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week

Week Ending June 1, 2018

Run Away. Far, far away.

Ran Away From Home

Sometimes the best way to face the challenges of everyday life is to run away…far, far away.

What? Does that sound defeatist or weak to you? Well, it doesn’t to me. It seems wise and necessary, if only on rare occasions.

The last couple of weeks have been very trying on this middle-aged Lady. There were all the problems of work stress, piled up with some significant “be a great mom” pressures, backed up with some romantic discontent, and bolstered by good old-fashioned financial anxiety. Oh, and if that wasn’t all bad enough, I felt the profound and utter guilt of how first-world and “white privilege” all of my issues were. And yet, despite understanding how blessed I am, these stressors were heavy enough to cause a real (yet brief) mental/emotional collapse.

I almost quit my job. I almost broke up with my boyfriend. I almost did a lot of hurtful things.

Instead, when I was staring down a 3-day holiday weekend with no kid and no plans, I did what any sane Lady would do. GET. THE. FUCK. OUT. OF. DODGE.

I contacted a friend last minute, threw some stuff in the Prius and drove, and drove, and drove….7 hours to Sedona, AZ.

And it was the best idea I’ve had in a very long time. But you know what was even better than running away from home? Not thinking.

I purposely didn’t think about my worries. I strategically avoided solving problems. I was intent on “staying Zen” and just relaxing.ย In fact, if I wanted to go somewhere, I went. If I didn’t want to do anything, I didn’t. I slept. I read. I hiked. I shopped. But I didn’t think. I ate. I drank. I drove aimlessly. But I didn’t think. (And that’s no small thing for me.)

Now, that’s not to say that my brain didn’t receive messages because it did. And quite honestly, these little bolts of enlightenment were pretty profound. Here’s a small sample of these pearls of wisdoms paired with the photo that inspired them.

It’s easy to misinterpret signs. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Just because you are worn down by forces outside of your control doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful and inspiring.
If a stream with no water is still a stream, am I still a writer even if I’m out of words?
You can be inviting and defensive at the same time.
There’s really no way to expect the unexpected.
LA traffic is fucking ridiculous.

In short, I believe the Universe was telling me to chill the fuck out. My friend agreed.

I’m on a solid path and just need to stay the course. Will my current gig fulfill every creative craving? No. Will my finances fixed themselves overnight? No. Will my friends and family abandon me if things take a dive? No. Will my child stop loving me if I can’t be a Stepford Mom? No.

[Insert deep breath here.] I’m fine as I am. I’m fortunate and beautiful and smart. I’m loved and supported and adored. Yes, Universe. I hear you. And yes, I’ll chill the fuck out.

I know. From a physics perspective, it’s malarky.

Played the What-If Up Game

I returned to my real life on Monday, Memorial Day and part of settling back in was retrieving my mail.

And there it was. A letter from the IRS.

For those of you who’ve followed my journey, you know that taxes and tax debt remain top of the heaping pile of personal financial bullshit. I have a love-hate relationship with the IRS and any communication from them triggers immediate dread and resulting anxiety. This letter was no different.

To provide some context, I filed my own taxes for 2017 and due to my continued underpaying of estimated taxes, I owe them a substantial chunk of change. I accept it and was expecting the big bill. That bill would not only add considerable debt to my current tax heap but also set my net worth back substantially. (And one of my financial goals for 2018 was to hit positive net worth.)

However, instead of tearing into the letter, I carted myself off to an Irish pub for a little liquid courage (AKA pints of Harp.) I also took the time to play What-If Up with the situation.

What is What-If Up? Well, I’ll let Joe Vitale explain it, as he is where I learned it from. Check out this video.

I said to myself “What if I won some secret IRS lottery and they forgave my debt? What if they love me now and want to help me? What if I paid more than I thought and they reduce my tax bill? What if that letter sitting at home is good news not bad news?”

Ya. I know. It’s hard. The What-If Up game is not an easy one to stomach, especially for natural cynics like myself.

So, I trudged home, lit up a pre-execution cigarette and ripped into the letter to face the firing squad. Here’s what I saw.

Wait. What? Is that a minus sign?

So, the letter wasn’t the one I was expecting. It was something else entirely. It was them telling me that my previous year’s tax debt (2016) was REDUCED by about $4,500! WHAT!?! That’s crazy.

Was it some sort of weird IRS karma? (I have been trying like crazy to improve my situation.) Was it some magical manifestation of the What-If Up game? (I mean, OK. That’s cool.) Or was it just a temporary reprieve before next year’s tax bill hits my balance sheet? Ummm….probably all three but I’ll take it!

So, where does this put me? I’m not sure but since this balance is already rolled up in an installment plan, I’m already handling this debt. And that my friends is half the battle.

You and me both, sister.

I Wrote This Post

When I looked objectively at what had changed in my life recently that brought me from content status to discontent status, there were some obvious changes. (I won’t list them all.) However, the one that truly stuck out like a red and throbbing sore thumb was my lack of creative expression. (Sure, sure. I write all ding-dong day as a freelance marketing writer but it satisfies only a small portion of my voracious creative appetite.)

In short, I stopped writing this blog and it had negative consequences that rippled into other aspects of my life. I know many bloggers write for different reasons and many stop writing for different reasons as well. My friend, Brent, does a good job of explaining this in a recent post.

I don’t really have a ton to say on this topic except that maintaining contentment and equilibrium in life has lots of tips and tricks. Most probably, those are unique to you and only you. It’s a proprietary recipe that only you can know.

For me, having something to say but shoving it down is damaging to my spirit. Being a writer and not writing hurts. You see, I found a unique voice through The Lady in the Black and realize I need to let her have her say more often.

Do I need to maintain such a vigorous posting schedule? No. Do I need to maintain such a high-level of transparency? Actually….yes. I think I do.

I need somewhere in my life where I can’t let loose while still holding myself accountable. I need this silly little blog and I hope, somewhere out there, someone else does, too.

What are your most profitable things this week? What have you learned by not thinking at all? Any success stories playing What-If Up? Anyone have a free place to crash in Sedona? (What?!?! Doesn’t hurt to ask.)

 

 

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4 comments

  1. So happy to be reading your work again. You have a style ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ‘ Glad you got the fuck out of Dodge and felt the wind blow back your hair – glad your tax liability has shrunk, and glad youโ€™re back!

    And thanks for the shout out eh!

    1. “You have a style.” Is that like “She has a nice personality”? Just kidding! Thank you for the nice comment.

  2. Ditto what Brent said. I love your writing, Erica, and your dynamic personality. And I think I understand your love-hate relationship with writing. I hate writing. To me, sitting down at the keyboard and pecking away is like having your lower lip pulled over your forehead and stapled to your scalp. But I’d feel even worse if I didn’t broadcast my twisted views to the world. So I put up with the sweet agony of writing. Please tell me you’ll do the same.

    1. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to write. It’s just after writing for my job all day, sometimes I am too spent to write for me. Sad, really. But, hey, it pays the HSA!

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