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March 28, 2004 - Sunday, 4:56 a.m.

Why am I awake?

It's still dark outside and everyone is asleep. I am feeling overwhelmed this morning. Thinking about school. I really don't feel like I am putting in the time I need to put into this. It seems like I should be putting every spare moment I have into school. I think it is a problem that on some very basic level, which I am unable to pinpoint why, I fight schedules. I don't like to do anything at the same time every day. Argh!! I wish that I could somehow find a way to let that go. I am forever making schedules, trying to figure out how to get everything into a day. But I can not, or will not, follow those schedules. Why? There are all of these things that I should be doing on a regular basis. Some of which are very fundamental to just surviving... like sleeping, working, eating... some that are financal survival like paying bills, metering how you spend your money... and some career basic... like start and finish times at work... slating time to study and go to school...

For the last number of years I have felt a great need to give some time to myself... to have some down time or 'play' time... though most of this time ends up just being wasted time. Time spent playing games or watching movies.

I feel the incredible weight of so much in my life. Most all of my adult life all the basic parts of survival have been on my shoulders. I have always been the responsible person. I have to make sure there is enough money to pay the bills. It has been mostly my responsibility to raise my kids and make sure that they are provided for. I have always wanted them to have at least what I had growing up. However, on the most basic level, that hasn't happened. For beginners I had two parents, and our financial status was very secure. I had a Mom that was home all the time, the house was always clean and dinner was always on the table by 6 pm. We always sat down as a family for dinner. My father had a good job and was very good at handling our finances. There was always money to do the things that we needed to do, and that my parents felt was important. And there was always money to do some fun things like vacations and the like. My parents were always active in the Baha'i Faith and they have always been there for me no matter what. So, being a single parent I have felt responsible ALWAYS to provide all those things for my kids. To be the Mom, my mother is and to be the Dad my father is. I've felt that I should be able to keep my house and make my home life like my Mother did. AND be able to hold down a job and provide like my father did. That alone has taken up most of the time in my life. Therefore I haven't enriched my life like both of my parents did in the time that they somehow found while raising us. On top of providing for us and making a wonderful home life, my parent found time to be very active in the Faith and read and expand themselves. I realize that my parents were two people and that I am one. I realize that they had twice as much time as I do because of that. But somehow it doesn't change that I feel that I need to do what they both did.

Now I could say that I have spent all of the time over the last twenty years doing ALL of that stuff. But really I haven't succeeded that well. I know that my kids know that they are loved... and that we did fun stuff as well and being able to do all the things that I felt that we needed to do. Our house was relatively clean, and I provided financially relatively well. Though we never had dinner at the same time even two days in a row and though we often ate on the run instead of sitting at the table all together I think the kids have a good memory of growing up. It's all the stuff beyond susistance that I feel I've not accomplished. I wasn't ever active enough in the faith for what I felt I should have been. I know that I believe in the Faith completely, but I don't know that I ever showed my kids how important it is to me. I've not deepened myself like I should have or wanted to. The finances are careening out of control. I can't seem to find a balance in my life. I seem to think that I 'need' time of my own, some time where I remove myself from responsibility for a little while.

I suppose everyone in the world is fighting this inner fight between what we 'want' to do and what we 'should' do. I think I think about it too much, but I don't think that is going to change. In many ways I have unreasonable expectations of myself.. and somehow at the same time allow myself to get away with far too much. How is that possible??! Some how I have to figure out a way to get off this financial merry-go-round. The only way to do that is to stop spending what I don't have. In some ways I am not sure that it will be possible, as I can't just stop feeding my kids ... however I could stop getting stuff for myself like movies, clothes, etc... So the answer has always seemed to be... make a better living... do the best you can at work and eventually you'll get ahead. Though for 17 years I have done very well at work, I've never really gotten ahead financially. I shouldn't complain because I have always moved forward and have been rewarded for a job well done, though never quite to the extent that I felt I should have. It is very hard to realize that my father, when he retired 15 years ago was making then about 30% more then I am currently making. Now I realize that he was an engineer and that he had risen to a management level in his career. But it is very hard to know that I had a BA when I started working 17 years ago, and that I was never really paid at that level to start with and am only getting there now 15 years later. So starting about 10 years ago I knew that I needed some degree beyond what I had if I was ever going to get to some level that would make surviving easier. So really finally now that I have a real goal in mind for school, I don't really see any other avenue other then to get this MBA. So you'd think I wouldn't have any trouble focusing and spending every spare moment studying... but darn it... I do!!

Now, I realize, that for the vast majority of women in the same spot as me would have viewed finding a spouse as the way to combat this. Come on, I realized long ago, that one of the solutions to all this was becoming a two income family. However, I knew on a personal level, that just being married to have 'help' was never going to make me happy... and it wasn't a real solution to any problem. Did I want to get married again?? Hell yes. However, prospects have ALWAYS been limited. When I started working all the engineers were married that I worked with, or not worth pursuing on some other level. There weren't a bunch of engineers my age that had just finished school... and as the years went by that group of engineers did show up eventually... however by the time they did they were all 15 to 18 years younger then me. SOOooo... so much for that. Not that I'd be against it... age doesn't mean much in my mind... however there aren't many 20 something guys looking for 40 something woman with teenage kids. My friends would tell me to look in the Baha'i community. However, that has always been a very small community, with about 10 times more available women then men. So that never really ended up as an option. My solution to providing a two paycheck family was for me to have two jobs. Which I did on and off for the last 10 years. I wished always that there could be some way that I could work two full time jobs, but I could never make it work. I was lucky to work a part time second job... and that was interspersed with semesters at UCCS trying to work on a graduate degree. Which never panned out cuz I never had a vision of a degree until I started school last fall. Finally I see a path that I feel I can do and that makes sense for me.

However I am back to the mental struggle of really feeling the need for that 'second income' and wishing I could figure out how to hold down that second job, and excell at my current job AND go to school. Which of course is insanity, and I know that finishing this degree is the only road out of all this.... so I know that I need to focus on making that happen. I should have spent every evening during spring break working on my studying, but I didn't and now it is Sunday morning. Argh!! I have a Stats test this week. To be finished by Saturday I believe, and I know I have the HUGE hole in my grasp of the material we've covered. I know that I'll need to spend most of today (and tomorrow night) going through the last three chapters and organizing all the information so my mind can retain it. But beyond that... I haven't read any of the book for Marketing.. I am behind on the reading for the economics class... not to mention about 3 weeks behind on reading the Wallstreet Journal. Gah!!!

::sighs:: You know... what's up with that? I was thinking... you know... Char is already ahead of me financially has been since the moment she started on her MBA. She start at about 20% higher income (just base pay, I am not even going to think about all the bonus checks she gets) then I currently have AND she is 10 years younger then me AND married. Dam. I sure wish I could hold down that second job.. full time. If only I didn't need sleep.

I guess I just must need different stuff in my life to allow me to grow. I guess this is just telling me that I am not doing something right. Let's be real... there is a long list of stuff I'm not doing right. But there is also the realization that just doing everything right, doesn't mean that it would equal life turning out like you want it to. Dam. Sometimes I get really tired of fighting the fight. You just have to somehow find the balance between just existing and really living... somehow I just don't feel like I am finding it... and life is going by so dam fast... before I know it it'll be time to check out and there will be all this stuff missing from my resume....

Dam it woman... just focus... study... that's all you need to think about for the next month and a half.... keep believing that somehow, though that math totally doesn't work, that the bills will all get paid. Gah!! Now I feel tired again. Maybe a little nap before it's really morning.... M.

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