5 Life Lessons 2022 Insisted I Learn: Lesson 3 of 5

It was Friday, at the end of a busy work week. I’d gone home feeling a little ‘off’ but wasn’t associating the feeling as a future trip to an emergency room. Tired, I went to sleep that night simply grateful that the weekend was ahead of me.

Saturday, I woke up after a solid night’s sleep but still felt exhausted. I laid back down after breakfast and promptly fell asleep. I’d wake up a couple times more only to be drawn back into bed for hours more sleep. When I woke up with a 102 degree fever, I called the advice nurse.

“You need to be seen. Head to the nearest emergency room now.”

And so it began, my first ever hospital adventure where I spent three days in ICU being watched over as my body fought a serious infection that was playing havoc with my kidneys. I’d had Covid in April, and this was June. I was also still struggling with two known kidney stones that had been plaguing me since January of 2022.

Fast forward to July when I had surgery to remove those stones, and at last, the pain and endless infections that I had been battling were finally quelled. But with a stressful physical battle complete, came the next stressful mental one: medical bills.

That Saturday evening I needed to go to an emergency room, I was advised that the nearest one would turn me away if I showed up. The waiting room was full, and those already there had been waiting for five hours. I was told to go to one further away, one that had a partnership with my healthcare provider.

I walked in not realizing I wasn’t going to be coming back out for several days, and I was alone in unfamiliar territory trying to figure out what needed to be done for my health, while also realizing this wasn’t going to be cheap.

Months later, the mailbox eventually delivered the bad news of staggering amounts due. For someone like me, who has been trying to build up my life again since separating from a 21-year relationship, each envelope felt like a gut punch–setting me back from the control I’d felt I’d established over my life in the last few years.

I felt I needed to fall back on what I do best.

I needed to get organized. Really organized. In a different way than ever before. Medical bills and dental bills were piling up and competing with my dreams for the future. I needed to find a little bit of hope.

I went searching for some way to help me keep track of everything and what I found was something unexpected and quite amazing.

It was something called You Need A Budget.

No, really. That’s the name of the program.

I thought I was doing budgeting. But when the medical bills rolled in, I realized what I was doing was making sure the bills were paid, not budgeting. And I certainly didn’t have a grip on how serious my life had become. As I listed all my expenses into the program, I found myself asking, where’d all the fun and happy stuff go?

An emergency-event-filled-year was sending me a message with all the new bills in my mailbox. It took me working through the free month of YNAB, listing out not only my expenses, but also my hopes and wishes for the future, to realize that so little of my hard earned money was going towards anything that would help me manifest those bigger goals and dreams I still cling to. It was like a big knock on the head telling me that I needed to work more “happy” into the mix.

So, my body was telling me it’d had enough. It was speaking to me of my future and wanted me to listen. It had spoken to me directly and given me Lesson #3.

You Need A Budget. (And you need the app by the same name.)

Hands down, the biggest “ah ha” moment I’ve had was grabbing this program for my desktop, doing the free 30-day trial and discovering how much time I’ve been putting into just surviving since 2020 (including the years leading up to it) and how little time I’ve spent doing those quiet endeavours that bring me true peace and happiness.

It wasn’t easy figuring out how the program worked or what I needed from it. I botched up the first month, but it was a learning opportunity, and I went through several versions of my budget until I got closer to feeling like I had it laid out to where it needed to be (for now).

Creating a budget with YNAB helped me sort out what was most important to me, now, in this new era, and in this point in my life.

So what do I do with this information? Honestly, it does feel a little overwhelming to realize how big of a gap exists between where I want to be and where I am. I find myself caught between two thoughts: how the hell am I going to get there, and, I’m living in a time when anything is possible.

It’s not a bad place to be. It’s a starting place with two other lessons from 2022 (lesson one and lesson two) already giving it fuel.

So, I begin.

Lesson Three. Learned.

5 Life Lessons 2022 is a series of five posts that will appear over the next couple months on http://www.QuietEndeavours.com. I hope you’ll want to follow along. Consider subscribing to receive new content in your inbox.

Miss the other posts in this series? Catch up with the links below:
5 Life Lessons 2022 Insisted I Learn: Lesson 1 of 5
5 Life Lessons 2022 Insisted I learn: Lesson 2 of 5

Interested in trying YNAB?

They offer a free trial and there is no obligation to sign up after. Start by going to their website, here.

If you do end up liking it after the trial and want to subscribe, use this referral code and both of us will get a free month.

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