Monday, July 14, 2008

Great Start

So, happy Sunday evening friends. I loved writing my last post. It was good for me. It was a necessary catharsis. I loved knowing that people read it, too. That made me feel pretty good. My post did some good things for me, and I think that in a small way, it might have made the world just a little bit of a better place. I'm calling it a success.

So I'm back. Maybe for a while, maybe for a brief moment. I'm here for a bit of a journey. I mean that both in reference to this particular post and for the remainder of the summer. I can't guarantee you'll see much more of me here. I'm discovering that I still benefit from blogging, but I don't know if I will actually make it back here. I know I'd like to. But I don't know if it'll happen or not. I know that's not a great outlook for either of us here. But, well, I'm here now, so I'm going to take advantage of that.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now. We had a big family meeting tonight, talked about a lot of stuff. It was a good meeting, and I feel like we moved forward on some issues that we needed to move forward on. The last thing we talked about was my housing payment for Utah State. I didn't do a good job being on top of stuff, and totally blanked the fact that I had a 960 dollar payment due on July 1st. So, I got a phone call from Mama Withers that afternoon asking me about it, and I had no idea. So, surprisingly enough, I didn't have 960 dollars lying around. So I'm accumulating a late fee. It's not a huge deal, but, well, it's a failure.

And that's what is getting to me here. The first payment I ever really have to make in my whole life, and I'm late on it. I'm already screwing up. And it's not so much that as it is the fact that I didn't have a realistic shot at it from the start. Before this summer, I hadn't worked for three years. I did carpet two summers, made something like 1800 bucks between the two of them. The first summer went almost entirely to building my computer. I think that was a good investment. The next summer I actually deposited in the bank, and withdrew it as was necessary. My parents payed for almost all of my high school expenditures, but the carpet money payed for the few things they didn't. I'm left with 155 dollars of that. I started working as soon as my summer free'd up. I only grabbed 39 hours of work for June. Partly because I had three weeks that were dead, and partly because I was a bit of a slacker and still have trouble putting in an eight hour day. That scored me about 450 dollars.

So, that's not 960 bucks. When I get paid at the beginning of next month, I'll certainly have enough. Of course, that's a little more than two weeks away, so pops is going to step in and bail me out on this one, and I'll pay him back as soon as I get money to do so. By tomorrow afternoon, I'll be about 500 dollars in debt to my pops. Of course, I've been in debt to my pops for my whole life, but he's never expected repayment.

Before we continue on my financial path, I want to point out that I lay absolutely no blame on my dad for any of this. I'm not at all mad at him. I think he's a great and studly man, and he's doing great things for me here. Just in case anyone had any other ideas.

And, I guess I'm not really complaining here. Even though that's what I'm doing. I just want to lay the groundwork for a few thoughts. I've failed on this one already. And, really, unless I had had money saved before I graduated high school, I would have been dead anyways. This failure extends back to the very last time I had 1000 dollars sitting in my bank account. That was a very long time ago. My fault, obviously.

Yeah, I've got a full tuition scholarship. I get a pretty hefty pell grant, and stafford loans look nice too. I scored a thousand dollars off of another scholarship, but I don't even know if I'm going to get that now. Yay for me being terrible at making phone calls. Those funds aren't available yet, so I'm stuck being 14 days late on a payment.

Add to the fact that I'm supposed to be watching Andrew's back while he's out of the country, and there are two of us that are late on that same payment. I'm not expected to pay for Andrew, but I think that had I been more on top of stuff, things would be better for him.

I'm a little disheartened by it all. Just, realizing that even if I work full time for the rest of the summer, I'm still not going to be able to reach my financial goals. Realizing that I'll be living off of someone else's dime for the next six years of my life, and there's not too much I can do about it. I mean, I've known for a long time that I wouldn't be able to completely fund my own mission. I knew I wasn't even going to get close. I was shooting for 3000 dollars of it a couple of weeks ago. I'll be lucky to get 2000 now.

So, I guess I'm just not very excited about all of that. I've been reading a lot about personal finance over the last couple months or so, and I've been thinking about frugality and all that good stuff. But, really, that's beans to actually making money. The truth is that I haven't really worked before now, and so I have no funds. I suppose I should have seen this coming, but I guess I didn't really man up to it till tonight.

And, really, I haven't manned up to it yet. When I man up to something, I feel like I can face it down, like I'm capable of doing it. I'm consigned to my fate, but I'm ready to kick it's butt. That's manning up to it. Right now I'm just whining about it.

And so, maybe by the end of this post I'll be able to man up to it. That'd be great. I can already feel a few rays of hope poking through. It's really not that big of a deal. I mean, it's a thousand bucks. It'll be payed tomorrow, hopefully, and then things'll be alright. We're calling Utah State tomorrow to see if they'll let some of my financial aid go to pay for it a little early. Chances are that won't work, but it's worth a shot, right? If that's the case, things are absolutely peachy, and I'm sitting pretty for a while. If it's not the case, well, I owe dad some money as soon as I can get some. That's not so bad.

Work is going really well. I've been averaging something like five and a half hours a day. That's not nearly the eight I'd like, but it's about what I can handle. I'm keeping track of my own hours, and so I always err to the lower side anyways. I have trouble showing up to work on time. Waking up at 8:30 shouldn't be that hard, but my motivation and willpower isn't there in the mornings. So I stumble into work late every day. I do good work though, and so I feel really good about that. I'm doing stuff that will really help us in the future, I think, and I feel awesome about that. I've been working here for a full four weeks or so now, and I'm still worth less than one sale. That means that if the work I've done makes it so we get one more sale than we would have otherwise, I've been a good investment. If my work nets two sales that we wouldn't have had otherwise, I'm a dang good investment. So, you know, I take some satisfaction in that.

My big brother gets home in nine days. That's incredibly exciting. I'm very happy about that. It'll be good to have him back in an active role in my life. I think he'll fill something that needs filling right about now.

I'm going to be an uncle any day now. Steph is going to pop out a baby soon. At the latest she'll start on Sunday, but we're sort of expecting it before then. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm excited about that. That'll be new for me. I've never been around a baby for longer than a minute. After 18 years of being mom's favorite, I'm about to be replaced. But that's okay, I think I can handle it. I am a big boy, after all.

I guess what's getting to me tonight is that whole concept of, "You have no chance at success. Sucks to be you." And I know that's not true, but tonight has sort of felt like that. "You want to go to school, and save 10,000 dollars for a mission? Nope, not gonna happen, not in this country, not with your life decisions." Yeah, had I thought about this eight years ago, I probably could have made it happen. But my parents and I decided that I wouldn't get a job. And, well, I feel good about how I did in high school. I feel like I did a pretty good job. I accomplished most of the things I wanted to, and I think it did some good stuff for me. I'm really upset that I didn't apply to any other schools aside from Utah State, but that's in the past now, so what the hey. I did well in high school. Whether or not I shot myself in the foot by planning to go to Utah State is a discussion for another day.

Moral of the story: I'm not going to hit my financial goals. And I'm sort of regretting a few decisions I made. But not many. And I know it's going to be okay.

Last post was sort of a beacon of love and hope. This post, not so much. But sometimes it's important to just get it all out. And, well, if I can't get it out here, where can I get it out?

I decided two nights ago that I don't want to major in marketing anymore. Just, looking at the way I am, who I want to be, what I want to do, and marketing isn't it. I guess I've been taking some crap for it lately, but it got me thinking. If I see a problem, I'd rather be the guy to say, "Alright, how can we fix this problem?" instead of the guy that says, "Alright, how can we sell this problem?" It just didn't seem to be a good fit for me.

So, back to the drawing board. I'm on this sort of pendulum thing, where I swing between wanting to do something super auspicious and nerdy, or something super super mundane and boring. I had a little bit where I wanted to be an accountant. That was definitely the extremely mundane side of the pendulum. I still haven't closed the door on accountant, but, well, I'm currently looking elsewhere.

Dak's shirt at frisbee friday had a quote from pre on the back. "To give anything less than your best is to deny the gift." Now, I'm not saying that Dak's shirt changed my life, cause it didn't. But I like the quote, and it was coincidentally on dak's back the other night. Moral of the story? I think I'm capable of a whole lot. I know it's taboo to say it, but I feel like I've accomplished a whole lot, and I think that there's pretty much nothing out there that I can't do right now. I realize that professional music is pretty much barred to me. Also dancing. Also competitive athletics. And... well, for now, I think that's about it. Oh, they wouldn't let me into space on account of the pancreas. Or fighter jets.

But, if I can go be a chemical engineer, why the heck not? Why not work in a lab coat? If I can be the nerdy statistician, why not? If I can get someone else to pay for eight years of my schooling so I can actually be the other dentist, why not? I could be a radiologist, and make bank. I could do university research, and make nothing!

So, pendulum is currently at the "shoot for the stars, little buddy!" position. I have no idea what I want to do. Chemical engineer for some reason smells good to me. Trouble, of course, is that USU doesn't have that degree. I'd have to go to BYU. I dunno, I've really wanted to go to BYU for a while now. Stupid Christopher didn't apply to BYU though. Call me arrogant, but I really think I had a decent shot at getting their smooth 1.5 tuition scholarship. I know it's probably just wishful thinking... but I could have at least grabbed full tuition, no questions there. It would have cost me about an afternoon's worth of work to fill out the app, get my interviews, and mail it all in. But I didn't, cause I was set on one thing that I'm no longer set on.

Now, Utah State looks great. Rooming with my big brother? And three of my best friends I've had since seventh grade? Yeah, that's awesome. Socially, that looks smooth. I know it's a safe environment for me there. My big brother will be looking out for me.

But, I dunno. I feel that if there's some great plan for me, I might have missed a year of it on account of Utah State. That's a little harsh. Maybe it's important for me to go for a year. Maybe I'll stay for four years, I mean, free school is free school. But, if I could go back, I'd apply for BYU. My bad.

But you know what, I think things are going to be okay. I don't plan on losing much time on my schooling. I still don't know what I want to do, but I think I probably want to end up at BYU after a mission. I've got three years to change my mind, but I'll see what happens. It'll depend on a lot of stuff. But we'll see, I guess.

You know, friends, things are going to be okay. I know I've been a big downer this post, but I'm going to be alright. I know that a lot of you are in this same position, and a lot of you are probably in less pretty situations. So you're there, saying, "C'mon Thatcher, don't even." And you're probably right. I don't wanna complain about my situation. And I hope that's not what I have done. I realize that it probably is, but it's gonna be alright. I can handle this, with some help.

I'm making good money at my job right now. Next paycheck should be pretty sweet. The best news is that by the time I get my next paycheck, the company will actually have money! We're releasing super soon. I'm so excited. I can't say too much about the company right now, because I'm still actually hitting on our google results. But, well, ask me in person. I'm really excited about it. It's stuff that really excites me.

But yeah, I'm making decent money, and so by the next time I get paid, I'm going to be doing alright for a while. I've got great financial aid, thank you government. I've got an amazing family. I've got loving and caring friends, and they've got my back. I've got guys that I respect, guys that I can joke around with. There are girls I really care about, and girls that care about me too. We're an incredible group. We're more spread than ever, but things don't change between us all. Well, maybe the shallow things change, but not the deep things. The deep things are going to remain, for a very long time.

What can a guy like me really have to complain about? Absolutely nothing, that's what. I'm gonna be alright, no questions. Sure, I have no idea what to be when I grow up, but so what? I'll grow up; I can figure it out with help. Money isn't what's important. As far as things that are important go, I think I'm the richest guy I know. Yes, I shuddered because of the cliche' too, but really, I believe it! Ha, call me a corndog, but I'm gonna be alright.

Ha, look at me go, I'm happy again. Funny what a post will do to you. I hope you're all doing well. I'm going to be setting up the AP dance soon, I hope. I'll let you know on that though.

Moral of the story? Thanks for reading my complaints for a while. Thanks for being here. Thanks for being good people. I hope you all do incredible things with your life.


Nathan said...

So you're there, saying, "C'mon Thatcher, don't even."

Actually, I'm just happy to have another club member! Never thought you'd join this ragged group, but it's certainly good company. Not that it's a good thing you or I are having financial difficulties, but as long as we're here, we might as well enjoy the people in our boat, right?

And I feel for ya. I didn't work till after high school, and it wasn't enough to save for a mission anyway, but I still ended up making foolish purchases all the time that brought my funds even lower. I have about two thousand saved for my mission--maybe even less by now--and you can bet that once I get home, I'll be flat broke. At that point it'll be time to be thinking about school and marriage, and it's gonna be tricky to get the funds for all of that. Especially marriage--as much a hopeless romantic I am, I've come to realize that I really shouldn't tie the knot till I have enough money to start us out, in addition to a job that'll pay enough to support us.

These thoughts scare me. And I'm not gonna lie--sometimes they keep me up at night. But I still would never go back and decided against a mission. The Lord blesses His missionaries, and I'm already seeing that. Like the whole Spanish thing, for example--that's gonna help me make a bit of bank after the mission.

So just keep doing the right thing, Thatcher. Do what you can, and God'll meet you halfway (or wherever you need Him to meet you). I've always known you'd be wildly successful in life, 'cause you're that kind of person.

Rachel Frost said...

Hey Thatcher. I'm always worried about financial stuff for college, but I am trying. I know it's daunting. And I'm not even getting as much financial aid as most people I know. I only got a partial scholarship to Weber and I'll be living off the earnings from two years ago, when I worked at Arby's... oi. That, my temp job now, and stuff people gave me for graduation. Looks like I'm in the Ramen noodle business as far as my food options go. Anyway, I don't really know why I'm telling you this. But by the way, as a comment to your last post, that night I was up at 3:30AM. I've been having nightmares about all my phobias lately. Spiders, mostly. Those keep me up, paranoia seeps in, and I have panic attacks. Oh well. I just thought I'd tell you what I'm doing at 3:30. Hiding from arachnids.

Jaron Frost said...

No worries about the venting... I think we're all pretty scared right now. It's all this "real life" business. But you're right--we'll all be good in the end. I once compared all this college and money business to trying to get through a four-foot concrete wall with a toothbrush. It's just not that easy. But luckily, we've got people who are willing to help us. I know I won't be able to pay for my own mission. No chance of that. But at the same time, that's okay. I'm still at least paying my own way at Weber for a semester before I leave, and that's something to be proud of, I think. We all could have made more money when we were sixteen, but the fact of the matter is, we wouldn't have turned out the same way. We wouldn't have been able to enjoy life in the same way. I'm glad I didn't get my job until when I did, and I'm glad I didn't work any more than I did. Because things are okay for the time being, and I can also look back at the past year and a half and say, "yeah, I had some really good times" instead of "dang, I wish I didn't work so much and miss out on everything." You're right--money isn't the big important thing.