This week is kinda crappy for DIY projects. I’ve got several in the works (involving molding, paint, and picture frames, among other things), but haven’t finished any of them yet. And I’m distracted. You see, next week will be the end of spring semester. I have two finals to go; one is in Operations Management, and the other is an ass-kicking class called Financial Analysis and Loan Structuring. Yeesh. Hard to believe that last year I was just getting used to the idea of piling on academic work on top of my job, blog, and remodeling projects, and now, I simply can’t wait for it all to end. While I wouldn’t say this semester has really been that much harder than the others (they all have their ups and downs), I have had the same thoughts creeping into my head every. single. day:
I’d rather be here:
It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been to the beach. And I guess that’s my limit for how long I can go without breathing ocean air. All I want to do is lay in a bathing suit on a beach chair with a stack of books on a towel next to me, and have someone bring me rainbow-colored drinks (little umbrella optional). I’ve been obsessively listening to island music in the hopes that it will help ease my thoughts since I can’t really afford to drop hundreds (or in most cases, thousands) of dollars on a plane trip to a sandy destination. I’m working on a game plan to see if I can afford a quick trip to South Carolina or something for a long weekend before summer semester begins (I basically have May off, and then school starts again for all 8 weekends during the summer, and then I have another month-long break in August before my last semester in the fall – during which I still have my job to go to). But even then, my budget is really, really tight since I decided to pay for summer tuition out of pocket and avoid piling on more student loan debt.
Point is, just as often as I like to show off on this blog about my accomplishments (and heck yeah, I’m proud of being able to tackle all of these things and cannot wait to don the “I have an effing GRADUATE DEGREE” smile), I think it’s just as important to be honest about how hard trying to do all of these things at once really is.
My job is hard. I don’t talk about my job a lot (specifically so that my employer doesn’t have the opportunity to read something on this site that might get me into trouble – I’ve heard horror stories), but I’m getting my MBA specifically so that I have more options available to me in the future than what I have now. I know I’m capable of doing more and it’s going to take work to get there, so I’m trying to give myself that opportunity.
School is hard. I am really good with numbers and confident about my academic abilities. I have kicked ass in every accounting or finance class I’ve ever taken but don’t really find the field to be my passion. However, I know how important understanding numbers are in making strategic decisions in other parts of a business, so I’m splitting my concentration in school between finance and marketing, which has grown to be a field I read constantly about in my spare time. Sometimes the hardest thing to figure out is what you want to really do after graduating, so I’m glad I at least have some ideas about that. But pursuing that is still making a large change from what I do professionally, so changing fields is yet another item that I have to figure out how to do.
DIY projects are hard. I bought my house as a fixer-upper because I wasn’t going to be able to afford a new house or one that was already fully remodeled. I work on my house by myself not only because I like the challenge (and I do love the sense of accomplishment from knowing I did it myself), but also because I don’t have much else of a choice. I can’t really afford to hire people to do many of the things I want to tackle, which means I have to figure it out on my own. Both my stubbornness (the “I can totally do that!” mentality) and my wallet are in cahoots, but sometimes that can be challenging in and of itself. A DIYer takes more time to get the job done. A DIYer also has to live in the mess that she creates, which eliminates any sort of sanctuary the home may create for others who don’t have to deal with drywall dust or cans of paint or a pile of dirty dishes thanks to spending the evening working on the living room walls instead.
Finding balance is the hardest. Learning to say no, learning when to go the extra mile and when not to are all pretty murky decisions. Do I sacrifice my evening to go to the Atlanta blogger meetup to network and see if I can find more opportunities to grow the site? Do I go to the student event and get involved with my school to see if I can gain some marketing experience? Do I meet up with my friends when I’m in a shitty mood and need to catch up on sleep (I could really use some time to blow off steam, but I don’t want to be the exhausted one spoiling someone else’s fun…)?
Some day, I promise, I really will write a post on my tips for how to “manage it all.” But for now, I’m just going to think about the beach and listen to ukulele music. And if you have a tip on how to find a really inexpensive weekend beach trip (I live in Georgia, so it would have to be driving distance), I’m all ears.
UPDATE: I did it! Thank you guys SO MUCH for all of your tips. I mentioned needing a break to my boss, and he was wonderful enough to help me find a place to stay for a few days for less than I expected it would cost, and only a few hours drive. So thankfully, I’m going to get my trip after all! Tiki hut and island music, here I come!
(image credit: noordinaryhomes.com)