{IRL} Negative Neri

Twenty year old Neri was a glass-half-full kind of person. No matter the problem, I could convince myself that it wasn’t the end of the universe, that things could be so much worse, and that there is always a silver lining to even the hardest of issues. But, now that I am rapidly approaching 30, I have noticed that I have lost that spark and I’m just plain old negative about everything.

Stress Ball

Just before I turned 21 I made a huge, life changing decision. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend, and instead of running back home to my parents like everyone (them included) expected me to do, I moved in with an acquaintance I used to work with. I was broke, jobless and totally clueless, but that time in my life was one of the happiest. While my parents — my mother in particular — thought I was insane and it was all going to end in tragedy, you couldn’t keep the smile off my face.

The next time I took a leap of faith was when we decided to move back here in 2013. We had toyed with the idea of coming home, but one day my husband announced that he was done with working for Defence, and a fortnight later our house was all packed up and we were on a plane back to Western Australia. I was positive then, too, but I was also incredibly naive. He got lucky and landed a job, but it was half of what we were on prior. Then I got pregnant so my chances of getting a job were killed off.

Fast forward to last Thursday, when my husband emails me to tell me that he’s accepted a new job at a private firm… for less money than what he is on now. I freaked out. This wasn’t part of the plan! There was a timeline. A timeline that we needed to stick to because money is tight and we need time to build up a nest egg before doing something COMPLETELY FUCKING INSANE like going to a lesser paying job.

But that is now all out the window, and next Thursday is his last day at his okay paying job. After that, the weekly budget shrinks by a significant amount.

Storm Clouds

20 year old Neri, the one who used to have $10 left for food after bills were paid, would have been able to see the positive side in all this. My husband will now have more free time to work towards his dream and I now have a sort-of job writing. This is a good thing for us! But all I can see is the looming hole in bank balance and I just can’t get past it.

While I have managed to score a sweet freelancing gig that should plug most of the gap, I’m still worried. I have submitted two articles now that have yet to be published. What if they actually hate my writing? What if it all falls through? How on earth am I going to get hired in a virtually non-existent job market? I haven’t worked a conventional job since 2011!

I can feel this worry–this negativity–consuming me. Just tonight I lost my shit at my husband because he was playing Heroes of the Storm instead of working on his business plan. The guy deserves some unwind time, but here I am cracking the whip on him because how dare he put us in a worse position for his ‘dreams’ and then just sit there playing games instead of working?! That is not the kind of person I want to be.

I am looking at everything he has done, and even everything I am doing, and all I can see is the potential for ruin. How it’s not good enough. How it’s all going to fail. How we’re idiots for thinking it can work. The worry is turning into anger and the pay cut hasn’t even happened yet. What the hell am I going to be like this time next month?

At the end of the day, it’s too late to change what has been done. We’re on this path now, so I just have to deal with it. Sure, we could have played it safe, but what’s to say that in six weeks time my husband didn’t end up rage-quitting his job anyhow? At least this way he is going into another job instead of unemployment like we moved back to in 2013. And had he not quit now, I might not have toughened up and emailed the media place either.

I just need to keep my shit together and not lose myself into a sea of ‘what ifs’. If 20 year old me can make the most out of situation that was full of uncertainty, then surely this more experienced version should be able to ace this! I managed to land on my feet the first two times, so this should not be any different.

Fortune favours the bold.

How do you handle negativity during stressful times? Share your words of wisdom in the comments below

You may also like

  • gamerwife

    I don’t necessarily think all of your woes are about negativity, you just have a lot more at stake than you did in your early twenties. It’s easy not to worry about the worst case scenario when you’re the only one affected by it. I guess my advice would be to try to find a way to channel those worries and woes into something positive, like a budget plan or creative ways to save. Negativity doesn’t have to be negative.

    • Very good points. Of course 20 year old me could be carefree, it was only me who was going to face the consequences, and even then I had no idea how tough it could actually get. But I do now.

      I suppose one plus is that it’s given me something to write about? lol

  • Kay

    Honestly, I don’t see you as being negative, I see you as stressing about things because there is so much more to worry about now. Money, as crappy as it may be, IS necessary, and the stresses that come with money woes are oh so real and valid. Dealing with that stress is definitely a necessity though! As cheesy as it sounds, I journal. As in, I ONLY use my journal to help me sort out internal turmoil. When I find myself wanting to rage scream at my own hubs, I do so, in writing, just for me. It actually does make me feel better. Plus, then I can sort out what I’m really feeling (am I mad at HIM or just situation?) and attempt to turn the overload of emotions into something useful or problem solving. Sometimes, that doesn’t happen, and I just have a ragey journal entry and move on. But often, it really helps me work through the initial burst of anxiety, stress, anger, whatever, and turn it into something that helps.

    • A journal is a fantastic idea. I very nearly hit delete on this post because I figured it was maybe a little too journal-y, but damn it felt good getting it off my chest.

      I say negativity because it’s not like me to think that everything will fail. Disco has had so many ideas that I have thought are dumb and won’t work, but he’s pulled them all off so far. I want to be supportive, but all I can see is ruin, which is not like me at all.

      I’m definitely mad at him for being so freakin’ reckless! But mad at myself, too, that I’m not in a better position to ease the burden we’re about to face.

  • I stress because I’m stressing and I’ve yet to find the key to unwinding that stress that doesn’t require chocolate, multiples of carbs and crying. I can’t handle uncertainty very well as I like to be organised, and currently I am living this way at work, so needless to say I am not dealing with it.. It’s even making me nauseated at times! I think your reaction is fair, and because you realise that ultimately Disco probably made the better of two choices and deserves some downtime makes me think you’ll be out of the negative funk soon enough – it’s not really negativity but just worry and stress… Maybe you don’t appreciate change as much as 20yo Neri did. Money may be less, but only sensible not-on-chocolate advice I can give you is just set a budget – work out what you need and what you’d like… It sucks but for me I take comfort in realising that if I can afford all I need, it’s all good. I don’t want to see what I’m like once I have kids considering how I am now… Hopefully by some miracle I turn into chilled out mum….. Ha.

    • Chocolate and crying is probably healthier than bottles of wine and Netflix marathons. I am a god at burying my head in the sand! Hopefully whatever is happening at work is sorted for you ASAP .<

      Haha, you will be fine. You're way more clued on and didn't get knocked up at 22 so you'll no doubt be in a much better position for little ones! 😛

      • Haha, the crying part I am sure is healthier, the chocolate I am soooo not sure about!! I will know in about a week and a half what is happening work wise, just wish we could know with a little warning of what will be happening so we can prepare..
        Weekly pay will be easier to budget for, for sure! I have all my bills in my calendar on my ipad so I can see where they fall and where my pay goes in etc.. I have one fortnight of no bills and the other has all the bills. It’s stupid, but at least I know they’re all from like 15th onwards and can make sure I have either money to cover or that my pay will go in before the bills need paying etc! Sometimes it would be so much easier to just be back in school and your only real concern was homework, or coming home in time to watch your favourite tv show haha!

  • Dahakha

    It might be that you are freaking out because it feels like you are losing progress towards your long-term goals. You wrote a while back that you were depressed because you thought you should be “further along” in life by now, that you weren’t where you imagined you’d be. Maybe the negativity is your subconscious being afraid that these changes are bad because you seem to be moving away from your goals.

    I’ve been executing a fighting retreat with my life goals for the last 15 years or more, and it is only the fact that I keep the long term goals in mind that I have not lost my way completely (although I have been close). This stuff that you are stressing about might indeed be a step back, but it could very well turn you onto a new path that gets you to your goals faster – you said that you might not have emailed that media place if you didn’t have that shock factor to kick you in the butt and do it. Maybe that will lead into things you never expected. Maybe Disco’s ability to spend more time on his passion projects will get him in the door to some other opportunity. Who knows.

    And if not, well then you still have a plan to fall back on, that requires more sacrifice and less breathing space, but you’ll still be able to use that as a foundation to build up again slowly.

    I hope this helps somewhat.

  • Navimie

    I read this and it’s not that I see negativity exactly, it’s just you had that teenager like god-complex or “it won’t happen to me” and “it will be ok!” where there was no responsibility except to yourself. I know you weren’t a teenager, but you know the invulnerability thing I mean.

    Now, you’ve got responsibilities. You have kids to support and feed. It might be ok for you to live off bread and baked beans and water, but you don’t want to subject your kids to that. Or rather, society wouldn’t let you. You know what I mean – send your kid to school with NO FRUIT IN THEIR LUNCHBOX and by god you are the worst parent ever according to every other parent at the school who will look at you as if you’re abusing your child. Responsibility and dependents does that to you. You can’t help but worry about it.

    As a sickeningly optimistic person, my life is a little different to yours because my financial situation is more stable and all my negativity things come from first world problems. Your daughter will be in school in a few years – suddenly you might have a few more hours on your hands to make some money doing what you are good at (writing, though if boozing was an occupation I think you could make money from that too :P). Work is not just a 9-5 thing, you can be flexible and work from home. You may think it’s silly but you could write a book! Imagine if it sold! There are other odd jobs you can do in those few hours during the day if you wanted to – for example I think I’d like to be a dog walker so I could get some exercise and get paid for it – but only you know what you’re good at.

    Losing yourself in your hobbies is an important thing too – it makes you feel productive. I know that when you’re glum that wine, chocolate and Netflix marathons are what you feel like doing, but when you FORCE yourself to do something creative – writing, drawing, craft of some sort, or making photo albums! – you feel like you were a bit productive and some of that guilt goes away. Well, it does for me. I hope you find what works for you my friend. /hugs