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Happy Belated Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. My one wish was to do some writing, but I never quite got around to it so I'm back at Starbucks going at it again.

My birthday was fairly uneventful. So much so that one of the highlights of the day came at the start when we went to Starbucks and my drink total was $6.18! How's that for synchronicity?!

I got a couple of great Christmas presents. Married Man (MM) got me a Groupon for a massage knowing it was what I wanted most for my birthday and also that my work schedule is grueling and can suck the life out of me. (Which it certainly did this week.) Myboy got me a stretched canvas print of a carnival that I fell in love with at the Brookside Art Fair. Spent the day at Starbucks and dinner with Larry and Myboy at Margarita's. Capped off my evening by renewing my car tags online, smoking some pot then writing in my journal before zonking out.

Spent the majority of today in bed. I got up and out for lunch with Larry, my mom and little sister then back home and to bed. My batteries were completely drained. Finally wasn't falling back asleep so I decided to come to the Midtown Sbux where it's open later.

For some reason work seems to have kicked my ass this week - and it was an easy week AND I was on days! Thankfully, change is underway with my work schedule. Instead of rotating days and nights every two weeks, we're going to a fixed schedule.Fortunately, it should help establish some consistency in my life. Unfortunately, I will most likely be working nights.

It's actually by my choosing. When I first submitted my request, I asked for days. However, I wanted to remain on my current supervisor's team - and more importantly didn't want to work under any of the other supervisors.

After crunching the numbers of my budget I realized my income would be taking a huge hit were I to lose my paychecks with the shift differential on them. Which would have been fine, but a few weeks ago Farmer Daddy gave me finances speech, coming from his experience now being retired...which was later reinforced by Suze Orman. He insisted that I return to contributing 6% to my 401k since my company does a 60% match and I'm vested after 3 years...which is less than a year from now. The advice made sense. Where else can I make a 60% return on my investment?!

Friday's paycheck showed how much of a squeeze saving for retirement places on me now. I've refigured my calculations and accordingly adjusted my pocket cash and credit card payments just so I can make it through the month. I've stopped using my debit card, replacing that habit with paying for cash so I'm more consciously aware of how much money I'm spending and don't dip into reserves. I have envelopes where I place cash each check for established expenses like new tires and car tags.

However, there's very little money left over for accelerating the payoff of my debts, which I intended to eliminate by my 40th birthday and now I'm not sure how that will be possible.

It's a financial roller coaster right now. I can't afford to work days.

At least there are some bright spots on the horizon.

They implemented a Career Progression program at work. My supervisor says I should be made a senior operator by the end of this month which will mean a $2.25 raise. However, on paper the program states that I need another 3 month evaluation period. I hold onto the hope that my supervisor is able to push it through. I could really use the breathing room - and the money for some home improvements and to get back to making more than the minimum payments on my debts.

Working nights means that both paychecks each month will contain the shift differential which provides an extra $100 and should help get me back to where I was before re-contributing to my 401k.

Plus, there's potentially a lead position opening at work, depending on how things pan out with the supervisor interviews. If my current lead gets the job, both he and my supervisor have said they would be fighting each other for me as their lead. I don't particularly want the job, but I do want the increased pay.

Things might not feel so bleak if it were just me and Larry. However, Myboy earns...well, considerably more money than Larry and me combined. And it's not that he earns more money, but it gets discouraging to put in the hours that I do just to eek by then go over to his place where he shows me the newest gizmo he's ordered online or see the bags from his latest shopping excursion. He's going to Peru for 10 days next week. In addition to his work travel, he gets out to places like DC and Ft. Lauderdale and such.

I applaud him. I'm very happy for him. He's worked hard his life to get to where he is and he deserves it all! I also benefit from his prosperity, going to IML, meals out and the like.

My mission for now is to find a way NOT to compare my financial situation to his, to find peace in my own abundance and prosperity instead of seeing the space between only to focus on what I see to be lacking, my ego using it as ammunition to beat me up and down.

I just really hope that the consistency the new schedule will provide will give me the strength and energy to feel more stable on my own two feet.