Survival Mode


Watching movies from Redbox and sitting on my psuedo-couch are a few of the signs that I’ve “made it” – out of survival mode, that is. This xojane article really struck a cord – even though it’s not exactly on this topic.

I don’t mean to wallow in self pity or minimize more severe crises that others face. I am sure that some people would say that I am doing okay if I can afford $108 a month for yoga.

Being in survival mode means I pause thinking of the long term, and just get through each day. I need to focus on having a financial safety net in case I need it soon … time spent in most other ways (yoga and running are exceptions) I deem squandered unless I can connect it with networking or contributing to my safety net in some other way. This author talks about walking two hours to save $2.50 on public transport. Been there, done that.

I’ve had a lot of great experiences in my life and a lot of very hard ones, neither of which I’d want to give up. I’m unlikely to become homeless if I lose my job because I have relatives who could help me. But my dad recently found out he has cancer and will be having a tumor removed and taking at least a month off work (minor surgery with complications unlikely), The $5000 of credit I considered my emergency line was essentially reduced to 0 when I paid a bill late. It bad been sitting at the vacant house next door for a week past its due date because I wasn’t keeping track that I should have received it and paid it. I have a small amount of “savings” (extra money in the checking account) but definitely not the “recommended” six months of living expenses. (But really, who does?)

I did recently get out of survival mode … I read a book or two in my free time, opened a savings account and made a plan to save $50 a month since I have no retirement savings. I sat on my psuedo-couch. I watched a few Redbox movies. I considered a new volunteer pursuit and daydreamed about getting a dog. I went to a few happy hours. I spent $36 on a work table and threw out the falling apart desk I bought used three years ago.

I’m sure that thinking like this serves me in some way. Like, I let myself off the hook for being 33 and single because I “need to focus on work to survive”. Like, it’s okay that I have poor relationships with some family members because I struggle day to day.

I’m also sure yoga has something to say about this. I am sure that it is unrelated to my studio’s unwillingness to cancel my monthly unlimited membership with 28 days notice instead of 30. I am sure I should be living in the moment, because financial disaster could strike anyone, at any time. But it’s hard to do that when the possibility of a problem is so real…and no, it’s not equally real for everyone.


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