I woke this morning one demon short in the pack that nips at my heels over the distance I’ve traveled in life. It was interesting to notice it, in such a commonplace way. I woke early, feeling well-rested, and it’s my day off.

Today is also pay-day, rent coming up at a new place (new landlord), a move recently completed, new and different bills, different due dates… I made coffee, sat down, and began updating my financial calendar, my budget, my financial planning software, doubling checking due dates, correcting those where needed, taking stock of debt, of assets, of the costs of this most recent move, of upcoming expenses… quite properly all the grown up things that have to do with taking care of life’s expenses. I sat back, some short time later, feeling satisfied that I had accounted for all the changes, and that I am ready to move forward, and on to restoring a safety net depleted by an ill-timed, unexpected move. I swallowed the last of my coffee feeling both content, and vaguely puzzled… Had I overlooked something? A bill? An account? A “hidden expense”? An urgent need? I made uncomfortable frowny faces at my monitor and chewed on my nails for a moment, before I realized what the uncomfortable emotional experience of feeling incomplete was all about; I am feeling the loss of financial anxiety. No panic. No stress. No fear. No freak out. No resistance to taking care of the details. No cockiness, either. No feeling of great relief to be finished with the task at hand. No catching my breath. No feeling of having gotten away with something because I survived a financially challenging life change. Just… nothing like that at all. A woman, a computer, a payday, and some banking software… No demon.

There’s a small soft surge of subtly congratulatory pride, a bit more joy than contentment, and a smile. This was a major demon for me. The ghost of future destitution, the panic of imminent financial free fall, the demon of “you will never have a financially stable life” and all the fear and anxiety and lack of preparation in life that went with that has apparently been put to rest. Overdue, honestly, it’s been a while now that I’ve been handling my own financial affairs with some skill, enough that I don’t need day-to-day fiduciary assistance. That’s been nice – but that didn’t stop the anxiety every time a bill came due, every time I got paid, every time I went anywhere or spent any money. That stayed with me. The anxiety had faded somewhat in these past two years, becoming a pale shadow of a former threat to my emotional resilience, but it was lurking there nonetheless, waiting to catch me unaware in some moment when I really needed to adult skillfully, waiting to prove I’m not strong enough, not good enough, not ready…

This morning? I’m enough. I’m ready. I’m taking care of the woman in the mirror. It’s pretty nice, and another moment of confirmation that incremental change over time really is a thing. One demon down. 😀

I try to take a sip from my empty cup of coffee. Right. Great metaphor, and a reminder that the next many weeks need to be lived with care, frugally, on a tighter budget, until that precious safety net is restored and I’m back in the black on my financial goals. No problem. Later today, I’ll eagerly sit down to review my planning after thinking some things over, and sorting out what matters most.

It’s a new dawn, a new day… and time to begin again.