I woke up today feeling good about where life could take me. I checked my account and I suddenly had a feeling of dread fall over me -0.63¢ was in (not) in my account. It consumed my day. I was mentally trying to plan out my day. I was thinking who I could ask, how am I getting to get to work, how am I going to buy lunch, what about my son, etc… So many self questions. Unfortunately this is not new to me. I use to be in this position, about 3 to 5 times a year. When I got married it didn’t matter because my wife was there to add her money. She is currently pursuing her career and has been relying on me to hold up our family. She’s just starting out with a new job and working some of her own business ideas. She has spent years supporting me financially, academically (and I still have yet to graduate college, smh) and keeping me stable, so I only go to her when I have run out of all options. 

This is my terrible cycle and timing. I am a teachers aide and every year between August and November  have been the worst financially for me. But J, why don’t you do a summer funds planning? I do. Why don’t you work in your district summer school? I do. Why don’t you get another job? I have one. Where does your money go? Bills and child care. (Check the bottom of this Paragraph to see the financial layout). Last year I had a huge blessing. My contract was not renewed from the last school I was working at. I was told this information in march. I started job hunting the 2nd week of march. The school I worked at prior to that was part of an umbrella company that went belly up. I received $10,000 from my retirement fund. I immediately asked my wife to put 40% in savings. The other 60% went toward bills. By august I was in dire straights. So I filed for unemployment.

Monthly income (after taxes) = $1400

Daycare (including lunch) = $1000

Storage fee = $120

Car payment = $260

Insurance = $250 

*And I didn’t even include gas and food

We got through the year. No lapse in bills and everything was looking up. SO, how am I back at this point a year later? Because our economy is doing so well! (that was pure sarcasm if nobody caught that). Let’s investigate and unpack yours and my cycles together. 

Can’t follow your own direction

So I noticed people who run into the same cycles (like myself) are the perfect examples of not practicing what they preach. I had this plan for the summer. It was all mapped out. Yet, it still failed. How? I showed last year I could do it. Well last year I had $10,000 more. I really didn’t plan because I had a nice safety net. This year the net was very narrow. 

A lot of times we never compensate for the “X” factors or follow through on our own drawn out plans. We get through steps 1 and 2 and get lazy by 3 and 4. By the time to get to the last step we already messed up. Now we have to write out a new plan while angry and feeling like crap because we could not follow through. 

In hindsight I should have put more hours into my part time job to compensate for not having enough money. I should have also been extremely frugal due to it being summer. Living and learning. 

New is a very foregin word

So this year has been a year of new small steps for me. Taking these “new” small steps have given me the courage to take bigger steps I’m planning for next year. I’m currently planning to go back to school, take a guys trip, have a book ready by next year and looking for a place. I would not have this mindset if it were not for the small steps. So what does this have to do with a cycle?

Well we can get trapped in the same old thing that we forget there is a whole world out there. I have never been out of the country. I have never been to a concert. I have never just took a trip, by myself to see something different. I have relegated myself to the same cycle of 1 to 3 jobs, take care of my son, and  pay bills. I don’t even blame my wife for the issues she has with me. I was just existing. She wants more and so do I.

So I am currently working on breaking this cycle by not worrying about the money or the circumstance. I’m just going with a bit of impulse and a little less thought. I am being mindful of timing. Like not doing something with the guys on a week my wife is at a work event. Still playing it smart just with less fear.   

You inherited your cycle

In the church world, we call this a generational curse. Example: Your grandfather had a lot of kids by various women. Your dad has a lot of kids by various women. People expect you to have a lot of kids by various women. In spite of how different you are, people believe this is your destiny. I know this because I was raised by a father who inherited fear and hoarding from his mother. I noticed I was in my room one day and it got smaller and smaller. I had so much stuff. I saw my issue with fear through my marriage. It was hard for me to make a decision. I feared “what if I mess up?” 

I can say that my father has spotted this in himself and tries hard not to live in his fear or hoard. The best way to break this one is to step outside the habits your were taught. If you can’t see the habit, ask a real friend. Remember try something new (see what I did there. Brought it back to the last point). Your families mistakes do not define you. You make your own story. You do not have to continue their book. Start your own story. 

Not all cycles are bad

We have put such a negative connotation on cycles and bad timing. Sometimes these 2 things are good habits. My cousin and I have grown up together. He is currently in California. He has a pattern of calling me every so many weeks. He knows I am terrible at communication. I have 2 times a year were I will eat like a super health nut. Right before the holidays and right after. I go into this granola, protein, starch and veggie phase, and I cut out soda until around easter. When driving my friends and family say “you drive so slow’. I ask “What’s your rush?” Cause I’m usually early or on time.  Point is, traits that people find annoying, I see some good in them. 

How? You say, I’ll tell you.

My cousin have such a bond that we don’t need constant reassurance of our love for each other. We can be 3000 miles apart and still find time to say “Hey”. Me being healthy for at least 9 months out of the year is better than being not healthy all year. Me taking my time on the road makes it easier to be safer on the road. 

Some people are health nuts, some are tech junkies. But the one common thing about people with these habits are that they know what they need to do to sustain this lifestyle. Health nuts will become vegan missionaries to the church of carrots and kale and work out like they are preparing for an event. It’s just their routine, their cycle. Techies will learn, work, and read everything. They can tell you how to read code and how to find all the secrets in your latest console game. They have made it their routine/cycle to absorb all the knowledge they can get their hands on.      

Doctors and specialist would call this behavior OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Family counselors would call it learned disorders. Others would call it being lazy. Getting caught in a cycle is so common. Think about it. How many times have you ordered the same breakfast at dunkin, the same coffee? How many times have you gone to the same restaurant every week? How many times have you watched your “favorite movie” (sure it’s your favorite movie, that you watch 3 times a week). How many times do you go to the same places, lose money at the same time every year, go on the same vacation, have the same drink, food, buy the same car, different year, everytime you get a new car? How many of you are in denial of your cycle?

We all have a cycle the question is, is it a good one or a bad one? Will you be different or change your cycle?

Published by Jamar Reed

I'm just a Father who likes to write. Hopefully my words will mean something in a sea of countless others.

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