This is an excerpt from an e-mail I wrote my sister Barbie. She keeps sending me all sorts of internship things, and I thought it was high time I did some 'splaining.
I'm putting it in here because I feel like I need to read it everyday to remind myself about what I'm trying to do these days.
"In spite of the fact that I am living with my parents, I still have a lot of financial responsibility, a lot of it to my parents. I am paying them $600 in monthly rent to live there. Part of it goes to rent and part of it goes to the nearly $5000 in debt I owe them from bailing me out last year. I also have to get back up to date on my bills with the bank: credit cards, my car. I'm close. I'll be there in another few weeks, but I really, really, really want to do things right this time.
I see my moving back in with them as a last ditch effort, as my last chance to get a clue about reality and life and what it means to be responsible, and even with that in the back of my head all the time I'm still having a terrible time doing it. I'd love to be able to go to Washington for three months and write and experience, but I don't have that luxury right now. I mean I know I could get in if I applied, but the stipend is only 250 dollars a week. I can't expect to be able to continue to pay for my life with that kind of money. I have a responsibility to Dan as well; I can't expect him to pay for my car, my cell phone, my credit cards, and the half of my rent, with his salary.
I've had to make a lot of sacrifices this year to be able to achieve the goals I have set for myself. I can't go to my closest friends' wedding because it's a cruise wedding, and we can't afford it. I rarely go out with my friends because if I do and don't spend money they always buy things for me, and I don't like that, or I'll spend money to avoid them feeling obligated to buy me drinks, and then I feel bad for backtracking on all I'm working for.
I am not complaining, I actually see all the sacrifices as good things. It makes me feel motivated when I see something I want but I can't have. It makes me remember what I'm working towards, and my urgency is renewed.
I've promised myself that this year I am going to remain focused on three things.
That means that I'm going to keep a steady job for a year. I'm going to go to work everyday if possible. I'm not going to get lazy and call in sick when I'm really just tired because I stayed up too late hanging out. I'm going to be reliable and hard working and I'm going to make the people at work believe in me so that later on when I need their help, I will have it.
It also means that I'm going to go to school every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and stay for the entire class, even after the fifteen minute break at 7:30. And it's not so hard this semester because I have a gracious boss who lets me off in time every Thursday to go and because I love my writing class, so that's helpful. But I'm also taking online courses, and I've promised myself to keep up my GPA, which is a 4.0 (and I haven't taken any math classes yet so it'll be hard to do when I take those).
The biggest thing I've been working on is responsibility, this encompasses everything from locking the door when I come into the house, to paying my parking ticket, to saving 10,000 to buy a house in a year or two. This has also been the hardest thing for me to work on because I am naturally unfocused and impatient. I don't like to do things when I don't feel like doing them and forcing myself to do the things I HAVE TO DO has been one of the hardest but most gratifying experiences I've had in a long time.
The bottom line is that I am, in essence, cramming three years of growing up into one. I'm 21 today, I'll be 22 on November 11th. By that time I want to feel like I'm 22. I want to feel like I have learned something valuable, like I have really made a positive, permanent impact on myself. I want to look at myself in the mirror at 22 and feel like I did something important in that year between 21 and 22. And I'm scared that it will be like last year, when I was at the lowest low I've ever been at personally (though not mentally), when I looked at myself and I thought, you haven't done a single positive thing since you were 19. You have hurt your family, and you've mooched off your parents; you have disappointed those who love you, and if you don't change soon, they're not going to care anymore. So for New Year, I didn't say I want to be skinny or make a ton of money. I just want to grow up and be happy and make my family proud.
So this year, I'm not doing internships. I'm just working and going to school and paying off bills and having as much fun as possible while being frugal, frugal, frugal.
But next year, when I'm 22, and I'm looking at myself in the mirror and I'm very happy to know me, I will go on many adventures and experiences. That will be goal then. But for right now, I think my goal is very important and I won't give up on it."
For reference use only, Les Matter.