Saturday, April 25, 2015

Baby Steps Toward Adulthood.

Yesterday I changed the password on the loan account that my mom has been paying for me for the past several years. When it came time for my federal loan grace period to end last spring I signed into my account and figured out how much I'd be paying each month, cringing at how expensive it is to go to college. My grandma paid off one of the two private loans I took out to cover costs after federal aid, and my mom has been taking care of the monthly payments on the remaining one. I am so incredibly grateful to have such generous women helping me out! But yesterday, when I tried to sign in to my private loan account (as I totaled how many dollars in the negative I am worth--and let me tell you, the result wasn't pretty) and accidentally locked myself out necessitating a password reset, I decided that I wouldn't tell my mother the new password. This is my loan and I'm going to own it from now on. All by myself.

Now, I was always planning on taking this debt onto myself, I was just planning on giving myself a few months (to make it through my wedding-filled June) to get more financially stable first. But when the opportunity presented itself yesterday, it seemed like a sign that I should just bite the bullet and take the step toward adulthood now.

As silly as it sounds for this one loan to make that big of a deal to me, it feels pretty symbolic of my independence. I've "been meaning to" take this burden off my mom for a while, and kept putting it off because it sucks to have more bills to pay. (Actually, truth be told I love paying bills! Not that I love spending 90% of a paycheck within an hour of its direct deposit, but the feeling of success that I get from taking care of my finances myself is not insignificant.) But there comes a point when it feels really silly to keep making someone take care of me. I work hard, spend more time at work than anywhere else, make my own money, pay (most of...still on the family phone plan) my own bills, and if that doesn't make me an adult then I don't know what will!

There's the obvious sadness that comes with the knowledge of even less savings/disposable income, but otherwise, I'm feeling pretty thrilled about finally taking charge. It is a good feel, my friends. Since moving to Minnesota, I've been gradually learning that I can do things on my own. I can take care of myself. You don't really realize how much you let people do for you until you've removed yourself from the range of their (non-monetary) assistance. Maybe I'm alone in this among twentysomethings (though I don't think I am...), but every step toward self-sufficiency seems like an amazing accomplishment.

Last year, when I wondered aloud whether my ecstatic pride about adulting was an indication that I'm not actually that much of a grownup, my boss assured me, "That's not true--you'll continue to have that feeling for decades!" I hope he's right, because it sure does feel good to feel good about my accomplishments, insignificant though they may be.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter Weekend.

Last weekend was Easter, my second in Minnesota and away from my family. Last year, my brother Jon visited me here during his April vacation which overlapped with Easter, so I had one member of my family with me. Not so this year, but it was a pretty good weekend all the same! 

Saturday was my first full day off since January (three entire months)! I slept in (kind of. More like I slept til 6:30 and then got things done from the comfort of my own bed until about 8:30-- a luxury that I hadn't had in three months. So in my opinion it still counts as sleeping in.) and then walked to grab a late breakfast at a nearby restaurant. None of my friends were available--Easter weekend, family obligations, blahblahblah-- so I went by myself, but it was still nice. 

In the afternoon I went to the woods. I'd planned to go to a state park, but life happened and when I got there I didn't have any cash to get in so I went elsewhere instead. It meant lots of time in the car, but I was okay with that as it meant I got to finish the audiobook on cd I was listening to in my car (Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. I have mixed feelings about it). I ended up at Whitetail Woods Regional Park, which is in a place called Farmington. Go figure! 

It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but there were trees and that's all that really mattered to me. I've greatly missed walking through the woods since I moved here. My life in Minnesota is pretty grounded in the Twin Cities metro area (technically the Johnsons live out of the city in a suburb, but it's not the same as a rural town. Not at all.) and I haven't been out of the city/suburbs since I was home for Christmas. Yikes! That can get kind of old for a country mouse like me! I do love it here, but I wish I had more opportunities to get into the countryside. 

When I got home I finally got a chance to hang the curtains that I got at IKEA recently. When I moved into the Blueplex ten months ago, one of the few things that I really didn't like about my room was the existence of horrible Venetian blinds suspended a foot down from the top of the window. Ugh. Every time I see them it bums me out. I finally picked up some long curtains in March but hadn't had a chance to hang them until my day off. I'm so pleased with them! When I get home from the coffee shop in the mornings and they're still pulled shut from the night before, soft glowy light radiates from them and fills my room with pretty peacefulness. And they don't bum me out or make me say "Ugh." Could I ask for more? I think not.

Which brings us to Easter day! I got to spend it with this gal. Technically I was supposed to be working with Katrina, but she slept the entire day after being pretty heavily medicated for a seizure the day before. Poor kid! Luckily Emma was awake and we hung out. She's pretty cute, huh? 

Easter with the Johnsons was surprisingly chill; the egg hunting didn't happen until after lunch, so there wasn't too much insanity first thing in the morning. And I was so glad that lent was finally over and I was able to eat all the delicious components of Easter dinner and a few pieces of Easter candy. (HA! As if I lasted the duration of lent! I actually gave up on it about two and a half weeks in. Whoops.)

 My siblings sent me this photo in the morning as well. They missed me. Apparently it snowed it Maine on Easter? Sucks to suck, guys.

(In other news, today happens to be National Siblings Day. I'm really glad that these humans are my siblings even though I did move halfway across the country to get away from them.)

And there you have it, folks. My second Easter in Minnesota and my first day off in three months. Overall it was a pretty solid weekend.