Yesterday was one of those crazy days with people that make customer service one of the hardest jobs out there. I was working in my office, but I could hear the chaos going on at the front desk, remembering when I was in that position and thankful it wasn’t me anymore. I could hear the receptionist try to calm a patient down on the phone, enough to listen to her. Money came up missing from the cash envelope. A homeless man that wanted to use the bathroom, threatened that he was going to shit on the floor. You can’t make this stuff up. Although I like working with people, some days are tougher than others and make me want to move up into the mountains, live in a cabin and never see another person again.
This is why I am choosing to live a frugal lifestyle, so I will never have to feel trapped in a place of employment. I have to admit, I have it pretty good right now, where I work. But, it took me fifteen years to get here. I worked full time while going to college. I had an awful schedule, Monday- Friday 7:30 to 6:30pm and sometimes Saturdays. I never took a vacation or sick day, because I didn’t have anyone to cover me. I was only paid around $12 an hour for years without a raise. But, I liked working in natural healthcare, I liked my coworkers and I loved my boss. So, I stuck with it and I learned as much as possible. I began to take on the marketing, replacing the expensive company we were paying monthly. We hired more providers and staff, eventually moving me up to management. I still work the front desk on Wednesdays, mostly because my boss enjoys working with me- we have made a great team. Also, it keeps me in the loop of what is going on and humble. I still learn new ways to make the flow here better, market for less money and reach a higher demographic and the art of customer service. I believe these experiences will follow me to whatever calling I may have in the future.
In addition to liking who I work for, I have appreciated the stability. Knowing that I am good at what I do and my bills are going to be paid each month has been comfortable. With that comfort has come a complacent attitude, that my current situation was enough. Passions that I had previously, slowly died off, leaving me wondering- what do I really want to do? I relied on the stability and comfort more, as I increased my cost of living, becoming trapped, even when that comfort began to turn uncomfortable. As I have mentioned before, things are changing at my place of employment soon as the practice is being put up for sale. I am happy for my boss, as she deserves to retire. At first, I’m pretty sure, I was on the verge of a panic attack. Even though I knew this day would come. The problem was, I didn’t prepare for it. I kept thinking, it was so far into the future, it didn’t matter. Then suddenly, it was here and I hadn’t prepared at all. That itself, I believe caused me the most anxiety. As I started to calm down and think rational, I realized that the uncertainty of life, can happen at any time. I’m glad I haven’t worried about that my whole life, but I’m also glad that I have thought about it more now. I came up with a plan to pay off all my debt and have an emergency savings fund by time I’m forty (3.9 years). Finally, I’m starting to take steps to improve my future and the anxiety has started to go away.
Now I feel hopeful. I have a goal to be debt free and give myself the freedom to do whatever I choose; it is exciting! Things that I have been wanting to change have gradually came along for the ride. As I find myself being more creative with how I spend my time (and less money), I have been working out more, getting out in nature, cooking new recipes, reading, writing and spending time with the ones I love. I can create the lifestyle I want, just by making the right choices. It makes me wonder how so many people can be trapped in their lifestyle by debt, vices or addictions. Even when someone wants to change, it almost feels impossible, until you have to. Being forced to change, as hard as it may be, can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. I’m not sure if I would have came to this realization any sooner, but now, I am thankful for the changes. Instead of being fearful, I’m excited to see where my life is going to take me. I no longer feel like I am strapped on some roller coaster cart, but rather driving a sports car on a really windy road- at least I have some control.