Posts Tagged With: Time

Budgeting… Our Resources


We should always count the costs before we do anything. Once we’ve made a decision of what we want to do, what we want to accomplish, what goal we want to achieve, we need to count the costs, the true costs – the money, the time, the devotion, the requirements. This requires taking a good, hard, honest look, and then set realistic expectations of what it’s going to take to accomplish what we want to do. Can we afford it? We have to be able to budget our resources or we will find ourselves building a house with no nails, no hammers, and no blueprint. Good intentions never built anything, but have been the root and path to much destruction. Ever heard the phrase the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

In order to create a good budget, we have to take an assessment of what resources are assured, what resources are needed, and then what we are capable of covering. We can’t budget on possibilities. We have to budget on certainties. We can’t buy groceries with hope, promises, or luck. We can only purchase real food with real money.

Let’s get to the foundation. We can’t build the roof of our dreams, hopes, wants or desires, before we’ve set the foundation. This is the hard part. THIS is the part where the budget falls apart for most people. We have to ask ourselves, and then be honest about it, what do we really have to work with? Not what we expect – but the lowest, the base, the minimum of what resources we have. We can’t budget of what we hope we will have. If we work a job that we ‘sometimes’ work overtime, get bonuses, dividends, we CANNOT set our budget on that part of our income. Our budget must be set on our concrete “hard” income based on 40 hours a week NET pay. The MINIMUM of what we bring home every week, two-weeks, month, or year. If we budget on fluid “soft” income, we will find ourselves underwater. Life will make sure of it. If we make $15 and hour, based on 40-hours a week, our gross pay is $600, and our net pay after deductions is about $450.00, our budget isn’t based on $600, but $450.00 – set as the cap, the maximum. NOT the minimum. Live within our means, what we have, not what we expect or hope to have. Don’t spend money we don’t have. Don’t use credit cards. If we can’t pay for it, we don’t need it. Learn to say NO.

So many times I’ve tried to help people write and set budgets, only to see them determined to set a budget on money they expected, but couldn’t guarantee. And, I’ve watched them fail time and time again. I’ve done it. It doesn’t work. SOMETHING or someone will always come in to eat that seed right out of our hands. That’s life, that’s what happens. We have to be smart and cover the basics, and then allow room for flexibility, because life happens. Our car will break down, someone will get sick, lightning will strike the tree that falls on our house, a power surge will fry our computer, our kids decide to play the guitar instead of the triangle, we get a flat, we fall and twist our ankle, our kids come home from school with lice and we have to fumigate the whole house, life happens… shit happens. And we have to have some flexibility in our budget to be able to absorb life. When we don’t, we fall, because life is still going to happen whether we set a proper budget or not. How we budget determines how we face that life. If we live from paycheck to paycheck, we’re not living, we’re surviving and life controls and dictates to us what we can and can’t do because we are being reactive instead of proactive.

I have this saying I tell people sometimes: I plan my spontaneity. I schedule my freedom. What I mean is this. I love to be spontaneous, just have a whim to want to do something and then just go and do it, because I felt like it. However, I can’t LIVE like that. I have to buckle down during the week, make a schedule, make a plan, and stick to that plan – I work, workout, take my lunch every day to work, do my laundry, chores, my grocery shopping, schedule my time to get as much productivity done during the work week. It’s hard, it requires a LOT of discipline, devotion, and dedication, and the ability to say no, because life will send things my way in order to disrupt that schedule. I get tired, want to be lazy, and tempted to get off my schedule from family and friends. BUT, keeping to and being faithful to that budgeted schedule gets the things I need done so that when my weekend comes, I am FREE to do what I want, I have the opportunity to be spontaneous, not filled with a bunch of responsibilities I let go during the week. Because I budgeted my time, my money, and my goals to do what was required during the week, I have the resources to do what I want on my weekends. I planned my spontaneity. I scheduled my freedom. With my base pay I schedule to take care of my base needs, so that any bonus or overtime I get, I freely use to spend on my wants and desires.

Let’s take dieting as an example. Everybody’s body is different and requires a different amount of effort and energy to be successful. Some people have good DNA and don’t have to do much in order to stay in shape and filled with the energy they need to live a lifestyle they desire. The majority of us have to work hard in order to maintain a healthy body to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. That’s not fair. But, suck it up buttercup. Life has NEVER been fair. It doesn’t matter what the requirements are for someone else. Throw that shit of your head. Look at yourself, your life, your requirements, your need, and then make budget for YOU. Or don’t.

Listen. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life to MY standards. I’m trying to help you. This budgeting series is for me, to remind me of the goals, plans and dreams I’ve made for myself. It’s reminding me that nothing comes without a cost, that nothing good comes easy. If you listen to what I’m trying to stay, it can help you. But, WE are ultimately the only one that can help us gain the success we want to achieve. We’ve got to want it. We’ve got to be honest with our self about where we are, what we have, what we need, and what we need to do to get where we want to be. Our biggest obstacle is that person staring back us in the mirror. We’ve got to love ourselves enough to do the hard stuff, to say no, to dig in, to do what is necessary to protect and budget our time, our goals, and resources.
If necessary, we have to tell some of our friends to go away and leave us alone because they’re vampires that suck the lifeblood out of us – they waste our time, detour our goals, and consume our resources. They depress us with all their woes and problems. They take, but never give. Their lives are ALWAYS filled with drama and one disaster after another. Those are not real friends; they’re opportunists with sad stories and trails of chaos. Good friends know the plans and dreams we’ve made for ourselves. They recognize our needs without having to tell them. They become a support, a cheerleader, a coach, and a guard to help us see the truth of our circumstances, assist us in fulfilling our needs, and being an inspiration for us to achieve our dreams. THAT’s a friend. A friend tells us the truth, even if it hurts our pride, and loves us just as we are, but doesn’t put up with our excuses or bullshit. A real friend isn’t afraid of telling us the hard stuff. They don’t eat our groceries when they see our refrigerator is empty. They don’t use our electricity, or take advantage of our hospitality, while sitting by watching us go without a phone or internet.  They don’t invite us to stay out all night on one of their adventures knowing we have to work the next day, yet make no time to join us in our adventures on our time.

And true friendship requires us being able to be and do the same support for them. Do we encourage our friends and family, or make fun of them every time they try to do something? Do we give them hope, or talk down to them and try to talk them out of the dreams they have? Are we a pessimist and point out the negative to everything, only the negative come out of our mouths even in joking? Or are we an optimist and see the potential in ourselves and our friends and family? Do we think the world is just full of bad people, misery, hate, selfishness, judgment, etc.? Or do we see opportunity, potential, even when we recognize the bad, but also see a way to turn it around for good? Cut the negative bullshit excuses and people out of our lives. They’re toxic to us, to our budgets, to our dreams, to our hopes, and to our success. If we don’t cut this bullshit out of our lives, we can only blame ourselves for our failure.

Tomorrow is the last day of my budget series. I didn’t plan this series out, it’s just happens to be where I am in my own journey at this time. I hope I can tie all these different budgets together had have been able to create a clear path, a clear picture, and inspiration that will help any who read it.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dream, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musing, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Time

It’s Time

It’s time. I’ve been putting a majority of my life on hold, refusing to make any major decisions, actually panicking to do so.  Not because I’m afraid of change, but because I’ve been grieving, grieving a life that once was and a dream of a life that will never be.  This is part of the grieving process I find fascinating.  Not in a good way, but as a point of observation and understanding.  When we lose someone, or go through a major shift in our lives, we grieve the dreams that died because of the loss or the shift.  I had many dreams that I’ve had to let go, and their loss broke my heart.

It’s time.  It’s time to finally look at all the broken pieces and start putting them together again.  I can’t remake the image that once was, but I can make something new, something beautiful, a new dream.  For the longest time I didn’t want to think about a new dream, because I was still hurting over the loss of the old one, but I have to let it go and move forward.  That’s how life works.  I will die inside if I remain where I’m currently dwelling, because I’m just existing, I’m not living, I’m not dreaming. I’m afraid.  I’m afraid to grab another dream, because what if I lose it, too?  Can my heart take it?  Can my soul bear any more pain?  That’s been my fear, still is my fear, but fear cannot stop me. It’s time.

It’s time to pull the covers from the mirrors, to open the doors of adventure, and get back to my life. I had made so many strides forward before the detour of cancer and heartbreak interfered, but it’s time to get back to progress.  Pausing causes roadblocks and complications.  My life is somewhat a mess because of my inactions, my indecisions, my grieving, but it’s not hopeless.  It’s time I quit existing and surviving from day to day to building a better tomorrow, to striving toward new success, new adventures, new opportunities.  It’s time to get busy. It’s time to let loose the woman inside me, who for so many times and so many years made shit happen, accomplished amazing feats, and scaled mighty mountains.  She’s amazing and the things she can accomplish are absolutely mind-blowing, and I’m glad to see she’s waking up and taking control. I’m so tired of hearing myself say, ‘I used to …” It’s time.

Is everything going to just magically happen, opportunities going to land at my door, miraculous blessings make all my dreams come true, love come walking through the door to sweep me off my feet?  Not in my experience.  No, the journey is just beginning, and every success I’ve ever enjoyed required hard work, determination, drive, energy, focus and sacrifice.  It’s hard.  It’s always been hard.  But, it’s time.

The dreams I once had are dead; they’re gone.  It’s time I start dreaming new ones.  I don’t care what I  used to do, what I’ve done, or what I’ve once achieved …I’m a new person.  That person I used to be died along with the cancer that invaded my body and the ache that attacked my heart.  Those dreams, relationships and aspirations died too. Will I do similar things I did in the past?  Will I be a badass, a writer, an entrepreneur, a lover, an explorer, an agent, a gourmet cook, a fitness guru, a motivational speaker, a wife, a leader, a volunteer, etc.?  I don’t know, maybe some, maybe none, but it’s time I start dreaming, and whoever I become – she’s going to be beautiful and amazing.

It’s time… it’s time to live.  I’m turning 44 this week.  I’m starting my life all over again.  Watch out, because it’s going to be amazing.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Musing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

O’ Time

O’ Time

By T.L. Gray


The last grain of sand has fallen through the hourglass, marking another passage of time – another year, another month, another week, another day, another hour, another minute, and another second has passed.

O’ Time, it has been the worst turn.

You’ve pulled me and stretched me to my farthest point, pushed me beyond my boundaries, plucked me out of my desolation and tested my limits. 

 But you did not leave me to die.

 You’ve wrapped me and folded me with the purest of love, opened my eyes to a beautiful world, allowed me to experience the touch of desire and strengthened my faith.

The first grain of sand will fall through the hourglass, beginning another passage of time – a new year, a new month, a new week, a new day, a new hour, a new minute and a new second to pass.

 O’ Time, let this be the best turn.

Categories: Blog Post, Musing, Poetry | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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