Sipping my coffee on a Friday off. Enjoying the sound of my Traveling Partner in the other room, reflecting aloud on content that resonates with him, as he enjoys his morning coffee over some study material. We are individuals, sharing a journey (and an experience of life). It feels good to share this space with him. His appreciation of, and delight in, various details warms me and fills me with joy. I feel accepted, valued, and loved.

I sip my coffee and consider my calendar and budget, and wonder how I ever figured I could make my way in life without both of those things; I need a plan. Doesn’t mean that the plan is always executed precisely as laid out – in fact, that’s rare. Change is. Circumstances occur. Still, having a plan gives me a comfortable framework from which I can more easily adapt to change, and account for circumstances, still moving toward my destination. I take time to look ahead many weeks. I consider the date on which one paycheck ends, and the next begins. I consider the gap between them, and how that will affect my cash flow. I plot out the expenses against the income. I ask the hard questions, as each bill is considered in sequence; is it covered? Groceries too? What about some fun? Is there wiggle room for some discretionary funds? Am I still working toward getting ahead, and recovering from what has been, admittedly, a difficult year financially? What accounts can be – and should be – closed out, now that my Traveling Partner has moved in, here? When can that occur? How does that timing affect this plan?

Detail by detail I work down my list. It’s not easy to remind myself that this is still a fairly tightly planned budget, with little room for error. I breath. Relax. I feel my smile return; I’ve got this. I’ve grown decently good at it over the past couple years and feel safe in my own care. Wow. That’s actually huge. This used to be The Money Thing. Very scary. Literally one of the most significant drivers of day-to-day stress in my experience, chronically. Now? It’s a process. A set of tasks that are part of my everyday planning and attention – and part of my self-care. I still experience occasional anxiety about financial matters; this past year was peculiarly challenging, particularly the latter half. Still, here I am. I’m okay. It feels good. 🙂

I move on to considering more near-term plans, and wonder if I need to grocery shop today, versus later in the weekend. Perhaps a list? Making a list sounds very satisfying, and I decide to move on to that, feeling gently supported by my own endeavors. Very satisfying. 🙂

…Then I pause, realizing yet again that my Traveling Partner is actually here, right now. A wave of love and contented joy washes over me, still thinking about mundanities, like dishes, and groceries, and vacuuming, and cleaning things. Life being lived.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂