Perchance to dream

I have officially started burning enough extra calories through running that I’m constantly hungry. Clearly I need to pack more filling lunches and/or healthy snacks. In the meantime, however, I’m binging on Halloween candy one of my evil, thoughtless employees brought in and KEEPS REFILLING.

I came home in a terrible mood yesterday. I slept poorly two nights in a row, which always renders me a little emotional and ridiculous. Then work was stupid. I felt like I was the office secretary and my director’s assistant — being asked to do things that were within someone else’s job description — instead of one of the senior managers. Sometimes I can just roll my eyes and deal, but yesterday it all felt so heavy on me, so I cried at my poor husband. My frustration led to a frank conversation about our ability to continue living this way. Clearly we do not earn enough money to pay our expenses and also enjoy life. We outlined some solutions:

  1. We could move somewhere less expensive.
  2. I could find a higher-paying job.
  3. He could find steady employment.

Reducing our expenses isn’t really an option since we barely have any extras as it is. I guess there is also unspoken option 4: suck it up and work with the hand we’re holding. None of these sounds like a winner, really, so we have no idea what to do. I’ve applied at other jobs — though it’s been at least six months — and had no offers. Him getting a steady job, even part-time, would really eat into his ability to pursue his career path, which is the entire reason we moved out here. If we want to stay in LA, there is basically no chance we’ll find a cheaper apartment that isn’t somewhere unsafe and unsavory. And if we leave LA, we will be giving up on my husband’s dream. He is willing to do that. He even suggested we take a year off, move somewhere else to save money, and then return, but I feel like now is the time for pursuing dreams. We are still young enough and childless. We don’t have a mortgage. We have debts, but we are working on them. While my position isn’t lucrative, it’s steady.

I made an offhand comment that what I’d really love to do is take a year off to travel the world.

Today I’m really thinking about how that would be possible. If it were just me, I would do that by setting a goal date. Then I would move into a small studio apartment closer to work (to save on gas and rent simultaneously). I would calculate how long it would take me to pay off my credit card and then start to work on it. I would dramatically reduce my fun expenditures — wine, meals out, shopping (which I haven’t done in months), etc. — and put all that money into savings. I would figure out ways to make a little money while I was abroad by doing odd jobs, writing, or whatever. And then, right before I left, I would sell off the big things I wouldn’t need for the year: my car, my replaceable furniture, etc. Then I’d be gone.

With a husband in tow, it’s not quite so simple. His student loans are a lot larger than mine, and frankly, they haven’t been as well maintained, if you know what I mean. He also doesn’t make anywhere near as much money as I do. Also, I think we would kill each other if we lived in a studio apartment. I mean, seriously. Two people need space from each other. Plus, my job is in a fixed location on the westside, but his work is all over the place, so there’s no real way to live close to both of our employers.

It won’t stop me from doing research, however, and dreaming. I really, really want to spend time abroad. I want to see the world. And I don’t want to waste time being unhappy.

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