The Math is Killing Me

Ann took a 40-hour per week job at an hourly wage half that of what she was making for a 20-hour workweek while self-employed. She loved her new position and was good at it. As a result, she soon promoted to additional responsibility and a raise in wage. This was good, because the fee for Ann’s internet – which she needed both for self-employment and the work she brought home from the job – went up. In addition, Ann was trying to pay down her IRS income tax bill in the amount of roughly $1700 which she was awarded for working her fingers to the bone in self-employment the previous year and grossing $16,000. Meanwhile, Ann’s compassionate employer offered medical insurance – at the same monthly rate as Ann’s home lease. How could Ann say no? Medical insurance is required. Besides, the employer was generous and offered to pay all but $200 of the insurance premium each month. The budget would be tight, but it could be done. Concurrently, Ann’s student loan payment skyrocketed from $112 per month to $360 per month and the car needed repairs.

Please solve and find how Ann will go to the grocery store.
Students of life have attempted to solve this problem in diverse ways.

Here is Ann’s Solution: Ann moved out of her rental house and into a house share. She renegotiated a lower student loan payment for the next 12 months. She was happy to be able to give gifts during the heavy birthday season for her family and to pay her portion of the split ticket when dining out. Now she needs tires for her car.

Guys, Hey Guys, Can We Just Be Friends?

I cannot tell you how bland, uneventful, or one-opinion-sided life can be with only female friends.  So guys,  I need you in my life.  Can we be friends?

There is nothing quite like working or socializing with someone who “gets it,” intellectually or intuitively.  Confidence, as they say, is sexy.  So is knowledge and intelligence. Compassion. Kindness. Professionalism.  I want this chemistry in my relationships with the male gender. Actually, I consider myself blessed when chemistry like that happens in my female friendships, too.

But there is a huge difference.  I don’t go into female friendships thinking, “how long can we trade ideas, enjoy each other’s company, before this turns into a physical commitment?”  Honestly, I crave physical intimacy too.  But what I want is a whole relationship, not just the physical part.   And I will never know how ennobling male / female relationships can be if I don’t have a chance to observe you in action, discuss ideas, compare notes.

I am a strong and capable independent woman.  There are times you are strong where I am weak – usually in matters of physical exertion, such as removing a lug nut. But please don’t condescend to me, begin to instruct in all disciplines, act lordly or expect my undying adoration just because you had the brute strength or extra height to fix an engine or place something on a tall shelf.

There are times I am strong where you are weak.  My strengths lie in areas of intuitive analysis, financial responsibility, spatial harmony, social appropriateness, artistic design. Maybe yours do too.  Perhaps we overlap in some strengths.  That’s good. It makes for more common ground and understanding. Please acknowledge my strengths instead of assuming male superiority in all areas of life.

I can also be strong where I would rather be gentle such as resisting physical advances.  Inevitably that strength comes at a cost. I buckle on my self-control. My armor appears leathery and standoffish.

It seems like the male relationships I have cultivated these past few years have been with younger men. Largely because I feel safe with a man half my age and can treat him like a son.  I can discuss a wide range of topics, try on differing opinions, banter, spar with vocabulary and innovative ideas, truly love and be loved and no one gets emotionally unhealthy.  No one gets hurt because no one has expectations -especially me.

There is so much I want and need to learn from men. I am not only intensely loyal, I am willing to give friendship back wholeheartedly.  Can we just be friends?  Can we share encouraging hugs and deep thoughts as I do with my girlfriends?  Can we really esteem and ennoble, maybe even transform each other?  Guys, I am longing to know, can we just be friends?



But I feel loved

My necklace and my earrings don’t match, but I feel loved. It has taken me a long time to admit this, but gifts are one of my love languages. According to experts on the subject, there are five different love languages; words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. As I once told a counselor, I am adaptable. I would be happy to receive love in any of the languages. For many years, there was silence.

Growing up, service was deemed the paramount love language. The only type of worthy quality time was time spent in service. I understand some of the reasons for this bias. Service does not cost anything but time and effort. My family did not have the monetary wherewithal to engage in the language of gifts. I was taught to serve and serve I did – to the point I assumed service was my primary love language.

When I first began to see that I loved and longed to receive gifts, I felt guilty. Because – said the unwritten rules – to crave gifts was to be materialistic.

When I acknowledged I had a penchant for wanting to give gifts; a knack for running a gift store that specialized in finding just the right gift for the important people in life; I finally woke to the fact that gifts must be my love language.

Some years ago, my sister-n-law gifted me a set of turquoise earrings, a genuine act of love as she likes the stone as well as I and could have kept them for herself. For a milestone birthday, a cousin delivered a delicate pearl and diamond pendant. Lovely. A proper gift from lord to lady, but I have no husband, so family filled the gap. These days, if I am having a particularly lonely or insecure morning, I dress with care for work. I fasten on my necklace; thread the turquoise dangles through my earlobes.

My necklace and earrings don’t match, but I feel loved. Thus fortified, I sally forth to conquer the world.