lighterthanair: (Persona-phone)
~ Haven't made too much progress with Hard Mode in Persona 3 Portable, because it's incredibly frustrating when I've spent half an hour level-grinding and then I get ambushed by things that cast Mudo on me and undo everything I just worked at doing. Yeah. At least I've made it far enough to have a more fleshed-out Persona lineup, instead of just having 3 things at my disposal. For a while I had nothing that coulf cast Zio, and that was ticking me off. Finally fused Omoikane, though, and now that element's covered nicely. Really should get back to playing, though; I was enjoying the challenge.

~ After my tax return came in, I decided to be a little bad and decided to buy myself a new video game. Of course, I only decided this after I had to stop by EB Games (downloading Meloetta for 3 Pokemon games) and found a copy of FFT for the PSP, and for only $9.99. I have the original version, and I know that some of the spell effects of the remake slow things down a bit, but I seem to be much more keen on handheld gaming than console gaming these days, and it was a good price. Plus I got to see an old friend who now works there, so it was a good thing all around.

~ In other video game news, I've started playing Diablo II again. Took such a long break that one of my characters had expired, so now I need to build him up again. I actually think I'm having better luck this time around, at least when it comes to item drops. Pretty happy about that!

~ Finished Gillian Philip's Firebrand and can't wait for the sequel. I wished the sequel was out as soon as I finished the first book, really, because I didn't want to put the story aside! Instead of lamenting that for too long, I just picked up A M dellamonica's Indigo Springs, and got to marvel over how much one of the characters was like a friend I used to have in high school. When this character is something of a diva who apparently ends up discovering that magic is real and goes on to create a cult and sets herself up as a goddess... Yeah, that ought to tell you a fair bit about this person. It's kind of uncomfortable to read, actually, because of the similarities these two have, at least in their personality.

~ Today's going to be a long day, and I'm not entirely looking forward to it. First, I have to wait to call my father because he's on the other side of the country and it's far too early to call him yet. But I need to call him before I go out because I need info from him so I can pick up money that he's sending to me via Western Union, so that I can buy the IUD I need for next Friday's procedure. Then once I've called him, I have to head to the hospital and get yet more blood drawn, to see if my iron levels have improved enough. Then it's off to Western Union to get the money. Then the pharmacy so that I can get the IUD. I expect to go out before noon and not get home until mid-afternoon, and ugh, that seems like such a long day! I know it really isn't, and that I shouldn't complain too much because I'm doing positive things that need doing, but long days still tire me out.

I suppose if I get too tired, it'll at least mean I should sleep well tonight. *knocks on wood*

I'll call him in a couple of hours; should be early for him but not so early that I'll feel really guilty about it.

~ Haven't been doing much cooking lately, and I really miss it. My roommate's been doing most of the cooking so that I can get as much rest as I can before the procedure and before I go back to work. Maybe next week I'll make something delicious. Not sure what yet, but I'll think of something. Maybe something in the slow cooker; that way it'll be easy and not require much work if I'm having an off day, but I'll still feel accomplished and it'll take some of the pressure off my roommate. Maybe I'll see if I have the stuff to make pulled pork sandwiches; they were delicious last time I made them!

~ Happily, the weather's warming up nicely. We still get flurries every once in a while, but it doesn't stay on the ground for longer than a day, and we're getting more rain as the days go on. It's nice to see the giant snowbanks start disappearing, and to be able to wait for the bus without bundling up and still feeling cold. If there's any blessing to having had so much time off work, it's that I missed the worst of the winter and will get to go back once spring's really started to get going.

~ Now that I'm finished my delicious mug of chai, I think I should go get myself a real breakfast so that going out doesn't wear me out more than it absolutely has to! Toast sounds good today!
Know what I miss? I miss spending days doing little but playing video games or reading, with no responsibilities to draw me away from the enjoyment of those pursuits. I miss knowing that I was walking for 3-6 miles a day in order to get done all that I needed to do. I miss cooking meals and feeling proud of having cooked them.

In short, I kind of miss being unemployed and poor. But not really. It's complicated.

I miss what being unemployed and poor had to teach me. I spent days playing video games and reading because I didn't have TV at the time (couldn't afford it) and after browsing the job bank and sending out resumes, there wasn't too much else to do. I often couldn't afford a bus pass, and so I had to walk everywhere, and since I had a pedometer, I'd often come back from my walks to get groceries or drop off a resume and discover that wow, I actually walked for 5 miles that day! Being short of money forced me to really stretch my imagination when it came to food, and to learn how to cook good meals from very little for the first time in my life, and I used to really enjoy days spent in the kitchen.

It's not that I want to be unemployed and broke again. I'm also happy being comfortably well off. I like the security of knowing that I'm going to wake up tomorrow and be able to go and earn money to keep a roof over my head and to put food in my belly and keep paying off my debt.

But I also miss the flexibility that such an inflexible lifestyle gave me. The enforced creativity I had to learn in order to make life not only bearable, but actually happy. Strange as it may sound, I look back on that time and realize that I have neither before nor since felt so spiritually fulfilled as I did when I had so very little.

I want to try to get back to that feeling as much as I can. I know there are some things that will just be impossible, though. Having to work 42.5 hours a week, I can't spend days at a time just reading books nonstop, or playing video games, because I have to go to work. I have an unlimited bus pass, so there are going to be many times I'll end up taking the bus because I can, rather than having to walk.

But there are consessions that I can make, and I can start doing things that will only benefit me in the end. For one thing, I need to set a budget, and stick to it. Rent and bills are pretty much a fixed amount, and only the cost of groceries really fluctuates, so I can make myself stick to a certain grocery budget each month. This will be much easier to do if I actually plan my grocery shopping in advance, making lists of what to buy based on what's on sale rather than just waiting until I get to the store and seeing what looks tasty.

And to walk more, I'll get a new battery for my pedometer and walk to the grocery store and get a bus back, instead of getting a bus both ways. That way I get more exercise. Which I know from experience makes me appreciate good food all the more! And the pedometer will let me keep track of how far I walk and give me a sense of pride in my accomplishments, one that I can see immediately. Instant gratification has always worked well for me.

I will allow myself $20 a paycheque to play around with as I like, to buy a meal, or some craft supplies, or a book, or whatever. The rest of the money gets put into savings. If I need the money, it's there. If I don't, it keeps getting saved up. There's no downside to that, really. And $20 every 2 weeks may not seem like a lot of personal spending money, but that's kind of the point. I don't want to think that I have so much at my disposal, because when I do, I've already learned that I start to take it for granted.

And I'll make a point of cooking at least one meal a week. And by 'meal', I actually mean something that will get me through multiple meals. A pot of soup or chili, a pie, something like that. I miss taking pride in my cooking, and I miss learning new recipe.

So bearing all that in mind, this Sunday, I am going to make a ham-cheese-and-spinache quiche, because it sounds delicious and ham was on sale at the grocery store. On Monday, I will walk to the grocery store and buy beans, let them soak that night, and then on Tuesday make baked beans with leftover ham in them. Honestly, those two things alone will probably provide enough leftovers to keep me going for half a week, and I have no qualms about eating leftovers at work. Some people can't bring themselves to let others know they eat leftovers. Not sure why, but everyone's got their hangups, I guess.

I think that being more restrictive with my life and my money will ultimately benefit me. If nothing else, I'll relearn some old skills and end up with some money in savings for the first time ever. Even if it isn't much, it'll be something.

Wonder how long I can keep this going before I first fall off the wagon. I don't mean to sound pessimistic there. I just know it will happen. But as my psychiatrist says, mastery only comes after a series of failures and successes. With each failure, so long as I learn from it, then it wasn't a wasted experience, and I can deal with that. But I'll try to stay on the wagon for as long as possible.

September 2015

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