Written by Evan Crothers
When you get punched, it’s best to roll
We have all heard the term, “rolling with the punches.” Some people seem to do this effortlessly, keeping their head above water while taking open hand smacks to the face. I’ve always envied those people.
I consider myself introspective, emotionally connected, communicative and logical, and of course I own all of my craziness, because we ALL have our crazy. I have always been pro-therapy. I sought therapy during my college years in a desire to learn better ways of coping. I figured maybe the way I naturally dealt with emotions, stress etc. wasn’t all that great, so why not find a better way? Hey, if it could make life more manageable, why not?
Through years of facing my “triggers,” “addictions,” and “bad habits,” I reached a level of awareness about who I was, and why I did the things I did that it was hard to bury my head in the sand about anything! In a weird way, I started to envy those people who could ignore certain things, even though I knew it was much better to be aware. However, I had remained oblivious to the fact that there was indeed still something I could “bury my head in the sand” about.
Money. Oh, money. Is there anything out there that people love, hate, want, desire as much as money? It can produce anxiety, satisfaction, confidence, and worry among other things. I had anxiety surrounding money from childhood, never having enough to feel totally secure, worrying, and all that crap carried over into my adult life. I have always been one of those people who cover up the ATM screen while withdrawing money in order to shield myself from seeing a number that would ruin my day or night and send me into a shame-spiral of worry. Every time I had to finally log into my back account to transfer money or check on something with my bank account, it became a scene from a horror movie. I would turn into that person watching a gory scene covering up their eyes, peaking through, and heart palpitations. It sucked…every time.
I never realized that even though I felt I wasn’t good with money I had always been able to pay my rent, eat, and even have a little for extra fun. So, with that in mind I will give myself a little credit. I’m a firm believer that you need to give yourself some “pats on the back,” for some things. Hey, if you won’t do it for yourself, don’t rely on others to do it for you. I had dealt with scary financial situations, but they always happened due to my procrastination. People are always so shocked or feel victimized when the same negative situation keeps popping up in their life. Does it help to say, “Why me?” Not really. Instead ask yourself if you might be causing the same thing to happen over and over. With that in mind, I had never really learned my lessons surrounding money, and at 31 I was about to get smacked in the face…repeatedly.
Everyone knows that starting your own business is scary. There is no money coming your way anytime soon, and it takes lots of hard work and patience. The reward can be huge, but there is always a chance it might not work. And then what? At the same time, I had also begun freelancing, which is another financially unstable world. There I was a freelancing entrepreneur with no “real savings,” and bad un-organized energy around money…great. It was only a matter of time before the universe would smack the shit out of me. How long before the beating? Roughly 6 months.
After years of making excuses I finally enlisted a friend who is a financial adviser to help me do what I could never wrap my head around before…a budget. We sat there for a whole day, going through credit cards, bank accounts, income…or lack thereof, all to get a real look at what I could afford for food rent etc… As the numbers were calculated one by one I started to experience a meltdown. It turned out that I was a little too late, I was already financially screwed. I would not be able to make my credit card payment that month and my credit score was going to take a hit. I went through periods of panic, laughter, crying, resolve, back to panic and at one point I even fell asleep for 25 minutes. I realized later I was experiencing all the emotions I had tried to shield myself from by “burying my head in the sand.” But this was good! I finally reached a place that was okay. So my payment would be late, but I can always build my credit back up, I had done it before. It was all there in black and white. At the end of the day, I had money to eat, pay rent, and make my credit card payments. Everything was worked out to the last cent. There was not a dime to spare, and as long as I played by these rules I could survive. I looked at this as a good thing, something concrete. I was going to be okay. For now…
A month passed and I started to feel good about where I was. I was building my business, freelance had picked up a bit and most importantly I was sticking to my budget. Yay! I felt so good I even posted on my Facebook specific situations of how my life had changed in the past six months, "Life may be good or bad, but it is ever changing, and learning how to roll with the punches is part of growing.” You know how some of your Facebook post “hit big?” (They get a lot of comments or “likes.”) Sometimes posts you think will “hit big” just sit there untouched, like children in an orphanage waiting. Well, my post “hit big.” People liked it, commented on it, I even got text messages that next morning about what an inspiring post it was. I felt great, I had shared some of my ups and down’s and came out on top. Now here comes the smack down.
I started my day clear and confidant, not knowing the universe was going to kick me in the mouth. I spent the day driving around for a freelance job. It was now rush hour and the traffic was stop and go. I reached down to grab my water and BAM! It happened... I rear-ended the car in front of me. The hood of my car is completely smashed up like cardboard paper you crinkle with your hand. Oh, and the car I hit is also damaged. “Oh my God,” I thought….”Shit, shit, shit, shit!!!” Oh, I forgot to mention I am in a ZIPCAR. WTF!? I don’t even OWN this car, what is going to happen?
So basically, it was all my fault and I now need to pay $750. Yep. Now where is THAT in my budget?! After acknowledging my feelings, being upset, etc…I told myself that this was an accident and I will deal with this, and it will be okay. It felt uncomfortable not to lose my shit but calming at the same time…I was “rolling with the punches.”
The next day I got up wishing the prior day could just be erased. I had accepted that it happened and I was surprised at how I had managed the situation…pleasantly surprised, But still with a touch of “Why did this have to happen?!” I continued on and led a productive day. I returned later that evening to find my 2nd monthly bill from my state insurance company. I open it. “WHAT!?!” I’m confused… why is it four times the amount I thought it was? Why is it four times the amount that is in my BUDGET!!!??? I ran upstairs to find the first insurance letter where they quoted the price. There it was…I had missed the one word that explained it all. I thought it said your MONTHLY cost will be $_, what it actually said was, your WEEKLY cost will be $_. The day prior felt like I had turned a corner and someone whacked me in the face with a floor board that had rusty nails sticking out of it, and just as I peel the board from my face someone comes around the corner and smashes another board on top of the first!!! I felt myself shutting down. I felt panic…what the hell am I supposed to do with this!? I can’t afford this, my budget is set in stone…I need this money for food! I felt a meltdown coming…I quickly stopped, allowed myself to feel the worry, and realized the only thing I could do was to call and see what my options were. So I did. It turned out that I could fax over a re-calculation sheet. So I did just that, and moved on.
I think it’s fair to say that all in all the week sucked. I had proclaimed my strength at the beginning of the week only to have the universe get all up in my grill like some pimply faced middle school bully and give me two options. I could cower away like a scared little boy, or I could “roll with the punches,” take responsibility like an adult and face the shit. So, I did just that. Before that week I was without standards for my finances. I had a history of ignoring, rationalizing, and procrastinating when it came to my money. But through those experiences, I created a standard that I will work hard to keep. So many of us have a part of our life that for whatever reason is hard to face. Maybe it's food, your weight, your job, a bad relationship. Whatever it is, you do have a choice. From my own experiences, I can confidently say dealing is always better than not. In the beginning it will feel uncomfortable, and scary, but if you stay strong and just deal with it, you will learn ways of coping that you did not have before. And THAT is priceless!
I still believe in my Facebook post. In fact, I believe in it more now, because I proved to myself that I really could “roll with the punches.” Maybe I had done that before in other life situations, but this time I conquered the one that I had always run from before…money. I completed my hell week with more confidence than I had before. I have no doubt that I will experience more happenings in my life that will make me want to shut down, but now I can look at life and say, "Bring it!”
"Confidence Through Nutrition"
Health & Wellness Coach
- Evan Crothers receives training from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition