Monday, September 6, 2010

Contemplate, Ruminate, Elevate

Labor Day is one of the few holidays I get to take off. The fitness industry generally tries to capitalize on holidays using the same rationale as retailers, grocery stores and hotels – money.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.’ - Seinfeld

Silence is Golden

There is no specific agenda for today. I’ll do so light cleaning and I’ll work on some overdue filing in my home office. My windows are open (clearly it’s between mid-morning and noon, because it’s not 112 degrees Fahrenheit yet!!), there’s a nice breeze blowing through the house, I hear the occasional car passing by (no booming system) and of course the neighbor’s dog barking every now and then (he’s behind a privacy fence a yard or so over). Mostly it’s quiet in my neighborhood. I don’t even hear the lawn mowing, leaf blowing, lawn edging guys out doing their thing.

I don’t watch television. Even my music (new agey, kirtans/chants, cello-laden classical, variously alternative, some popular) is off today.

Silence predominates. I. Love. It.

Fear Factor

Yes, I live in the ‘burbs. Predominantly non-AA. I am not worried somebody might break into my house; rob me, assault me and steal my car. Yes, yes, yes, such crimes are not limited to urban neighborhoods. Yes, yes, yes, such crimes do happen in the quiet tree-lined streets of the suburbs. There, I’ve said it, so let’s not spend time in denial or on a tangent about whether such things happen and accept that in some neighborhood these things happen with a much greater frequency. They frequency is so high; these crimes are seen as commonplace, the price you pay for living in neighborhood ‘X’.

The price is too high when:

One must accept deviant and criminal behavior as normal;

Your children become inured to violence;

You must accept street harassment as a part of walking in your neighborhood;

It is unsafe to exercise outdoors (walk, jog, run);

Your house/apartment has been broken into twice this year and you feel grateful no one was home;

There is a known crack house less than a block away from where you live;

Escape Plan

The above list is no where near exhaustive. Most of my life has been spent outside toxic neighborhoods, so I’m sure I don’t know even half of what women experience in these environments. That said, I know it is possible to escape.

My single mother did.

Was it hard work for her? Yes.

Are her children thankful? Umm… Duh!

Effecting this escape take research, planning, saving and lots of energy, resilience, and motivation.

Use the local library internet service to research ways to improve your job skills and general knowledge of the working world; with an eye toward improving your employment possibilities.

Use this same research for ways to find free training and maybe even ways to make extra income (but don’t fall for the work-at-home-scams!!!).

If there is a local college offering enrichment classes, take them!!! They are usually free and who knows, learning how to garden can benefit in the short and long term (local, organic, cheaper veggies).

Look for housing in safe areas of your city. It doesn’t have to be the newest neighborhood being developed, it can be an older neighborhood, but with people who are invested in staying in their homes and who agitate the local city government and law enforcement to keep the neighborhood safe.

Look for a house YOU can afford in the safer neighborhood. McMansions are so nineties! Who are trying to impress? You are looking for safety, not looking to keep up with the Joneses.

Spending plan, budget call it what you want, but create one and live by it. Find a not-for-profit credit counseling service (no not the ones who promise to cut your credit card debt in half in two weeks) and discuss your goals with the counselor.

Document every cent you spend! Did this over ten years ago and it was amazing because I could see what I was spending my money on and where I could make the necessary cuts in order to attain my goal.

When you get a raise (don’t’ laugh, it could happen), put the money directly into your savings account. If the cash hits your hand or your checking account you will spend it.

Do not spend money on expensive clothes or accessories. It is possible to look feminine and fashionable and not spend $400 on a purse (I wish I would!!!). Icon latest post at is about what looks stylish, and how you can recreate those looks for less; fashion is so not my strong suit. Remember; always have your eye on appropriate attire. Your image matters!

Create a timeline or project management worksheet and stick to it. Document how much money to need for a down payment or first/last months rent, moving costs and necessary appliance purchases (notice to $3000 new bedroom suite is not included! If you have a serviceable bed, use it!).

Keep you plans/goals to yourself. People will sabotage you if they think you are trying to crawl out of the barrel.

Finally, just do it!!! Stop finding every reason in the book to stay stuck where you are! Make the move. Baby steps works.

“Every million miles
      have to take a first step” - Michael Franti/Spearhead


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