So...it has been a few weeks? months? since I posted, and I'm back, baby.
Let's see -- what's new with me.
Well, I started a new job in June. Things are going great. I am past the honeymoon high of THIS PLACE IS AWESOME every day of the week. However, I still enjoy going to work. I enjoy the people, and I truly believe it's a great place to work. I love my new boss - everything great in a boss - and I can see myself being there for a long time and moving around/up the ladder of promotion. People are positive, things happen quickly, there is a feeling of forward momentum and progress there.
My sister had a baby in July. Kee-yoot. I don't see him as much as one might think, living in the same city, but he is here, safe and sound.
My long-distance boyfriend came to visit in September. I hadn't seen him in months. We have decided to keep trying to make things work, try to see each other more often. I think we are both sick of how things are. He wants me to move there, but I just got this new job, so...for now, I have plans to see him on Thanksgiving.
I saw some old work friends at the bridal shower of a mutual friend. It was awkward. Still, not ONE person has contacted me from my old job. The sexual harassment tattling has essentially ended my friendships with those people (the non-harassers, that is). It's disappointing to me. Speaking of that, I recently had to attend anti-sexual harassment/discrimination training at my new job. I have enough distance and objectivity now to see that I am REALLY GLAD to be out of that old job situation, and that it really WAS sexual harassment. I have looked on the EEOC website. I am thinking of taking legal action against my old employer...yes, a complaint of discrimination, which could lead to a lawsuit. I didn't want to do it before. I didn't want to be bitter or invite scrutiny. Now, it's been a while, and I really can see how wrong that situation was. The dude still works there. Who knows if anything has changed. I guess there is a part of me that just wants justice. There is a time limit on these things. Time is running out if I'm going to do this. It has been about 8 months since I worked in that situation. I so far have downloaded the paperwork, have filled it out, and I'm just holding on to it, thinking about it. Such a hassle to take legal action, and I wouldn't be doing it for the money. I just...I'm still bothered by it all. It makes me see that for all the people who sue, there are probably other victims who don't bother.
Moving right along...
I am DEBT FREE!!!!! (except for the mortgage) I have been scrimping and throwing everything extra at my debt for about a year - I cut cable, I ate out less, I used my tax refund to pay off debt. In doing so, I paid off a total of $6298.27 in 12 months, making between $29,000 - $39,000 (mostly on the lower side that time). Part of the reason I have fallen off the face of the world is that I was saving up to buy a laptop. I bought at Mac on SALE, and so I'm back in the (spoiled, Mac-loving) land of the living.
In a weird turn of events, I have gone from "new girl" at work to "Miss Involved" in everything there. It was so easy to jump right in and volunteer for things, meet people, etc. To that end, I find myself leading a women's Bible study...it starts tomorrow night. I have to confess, that - of all people - I don't know if I should LEAD anyone, much less in religious ways, much less to college students at such an important time in their lives. However, it is happening. I have prayed a lot about it. We have a good book we're using with a facilitator's guide, which will really help me. No one else has stepped up to the plate, and they need someone. I knew the other advisor, through a friend of a friend, and basically they really needed someone right around the time I materialized (via the mutual friend). Anyway, I'm willing to do it. It's humbling, and it gives me a feeling that I'm giving back a little bit to the world. At the same time, I don't want to lead anyone astray. I'm going with the "G-d doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called." I just remember that mostly, these girls just need someone to care about them, and point them to God for help and solace. So be it.
Speaking of finances and G-d, I have really been convicted/convinced that I need to reach the outside world and "make a difference." I know that we can make a difference, no matter where we are or what we do. I am making (possibly) a small difference with this women's Bible, and of course I hope to impact the people I see in my life or work with every day. Now that I'm debt free, I really have a desire to travel and do mission work. Maybe for a week at a time. I just mean that I really feel like we are so blessed, spoiled, and ignorant in America of what is going on in the world. Rather than going back to NYC or cruising to Alaska again, I would like to go to Haiti and help an orphanage there, or any number of worthy causes that my meager means, time, and effort could help. I don't want to sound self-righteous. I hope to also vacation again. I really just want to make a difference and get some perspective and help hands-on. I don't have a ton of money, but sometimes I feel like giving money to a cause can keep you safely removed from it. Visiting or doing something, even in my own town, can help keep things from seeming so "out there" and more real. I followed Dave Ramsey's plan to get debt free. One thing he says is "live like no one else, so you can give like no one else." Now that I am debt free, I can see how much money I could throw at a worthy cause just by living frugally. Can you imagine paying over $6000/year to a good cause, rather than just to the credit card? Or, maybe even more money to change the world? I'm not trying to go all Polyanna here, just to say that I can meet my own needs and give in a way that would not have been possible when I was stuck under the weight of debt. My next big goal is to get 8 months of living expenses in the bank. Dave Ramsey says 3-6 months of expenses, Suze Orman says 8 months. I'm going to go with 8, just for my own feeling of security. So, instead of throwing money at debt, I hope to throw it into saving aggressively. I already have some savings, but I'm going to go all nuts and save. Also, I got a pay raise at the new job. I'm hoping to live off that, and put all of my second part-time job straight into savings for a year or so.
Okay, well, that's a weird note to end on. I basically write this blog for myself, so I guess that's okay. I just want to document where I am right now - work, relationship, money, old drama, future ahead, mission in life.
Life is good.