Fear

When there is not enough money, fear becomes a pretty familiar companion. From the very specific fears of losing one’s home, or not having food to eat, to the vague, nagging fear that lurks in the back of consciousness, some type of worry or anxiety seems to be a constant. It’s not a good feeling. This is a particularly scary month for me; as my job transitions from a salaried position to a commissioned one, I have the potential to make a lot more money in the long run, but it leaves me essentially without a paycheck in March. This is a scary situation for someone who has been living paycheck to paycheck.

So, what to do? The key, I believe, is not to let the fear be paralyzing. I am going to continue to look at my bank balance regularly. I am going to continue to budget and forecast. I am going to prioritize. Mortgage, food, gasoline, get top billing. If the Home Depot card has to wait, so be it. Yes, I am trying to repair my battered credit score, but I have to be realistic. Keeping our home, feeding my family and driving to work are the most important things right now. We’ll have plenty of time to get the credit score back up.

Fear takes a lot of energy. It saps your strength. If you are not careful, it will take ownership of you. Or, you can choose to own it. Face it, embrace it, and let it go. It can be very empowering. I remember being on a winery trip in Santa Barbara several years ago, and the afternoon activity was flying solo in a glider. (Yes, that is a plane without an engine!) I was petrified. But, I did it, and the high I got from being scared and doing it anyway was amazing!

I am not making light of fear. In tough financial times, fear is very real, and very legitimate. It can also be a great motivator. For  me, it has motivated me to get my writing published. I have also increased the number of yoga classes I teach every week and am heading the running club at the rec center where I work. So, if you are afraid, use your fear wisely, make it work to your advantage. Who knows, maybe you are a budding entrepreneur!

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