Thursday 24 March 2016

The Gopher in Springtime

Okay, as is usual, after finalizing then enacting my budget for my payday on the 22nd, I did another budget for the following payday, of April 7. This lets me see how things are going to (or should) go. 

I get to see things a month out and look at how things I do now, will impact that next budget. I find it a good motivational tool, as well as a good planning tool.

Again, at this stage of the payday cycle my “Next” budget is based on a lot of assumptions.  For one, how much I will have left in the bank come my next payday. For another, how much my credit card bills will be. Finally how much my paycheque will actually be. 

As I get closer to the payday, things get clearer, so I can adjust it and bring it in line with what is actually happening and not just my best guess. This does let me set out a few goals and targets to shoot for.

This time as I looked at my next budget I saw that thanks to a slightly higher (next) paycheque and a few other things I will not only fund my Contingency fund up to my target of $1000.00 but I will also be able to put a bit in there towards Wanda’s insurance. 

Her insurance is due in May and I am putting aside $400.00 for that. Any excess over and above that will go, you guessed it, into my Down Payment Fund.

As I sat there after checking the budget over twice I started to get that feeling of “Hey, things really are working out, I’m not screwed after all. Hey, I’m gonna make it! I’m really gonna do this!” 

Right about then I got a different feeling, one that I am sure that most, if not all, of us have had in similar situations, that feeling of looking for where and when the other shoe to drop. A good analogy for this is a gopher in springtime, let me explain.

You see out here on the prairies there are these tiny furry rodents that live in dens in the ground. Okay, technically they are called Richardson's Ground Squirrels but trust me they live in dens in the ground with many tunnels and more than a few of these go up to the surface. Farmers hate them.

Why do farmers hate them? They burrow and make holes in the ground, that’s why? Why is this a problem? Because cows are not the most careful of walkers, and have a tendency to step into the hole, trip and break a leg. When that happens the cow must be put down and that cost the farmer money; not that it’s all that good for the cow either.

So the tradition of “The Gopher Shoot” was born. This is where you grab a few buddies, each take a 22 caliber rifle and lots of ammo out to a vacant farmer’s field and shoot every gopher you can find. This is not only a fun way for some to spend an afternoon, but also this eliminates, or reduces the holes in the ground. 

At one point there was a bounty on these little fellas (not sure if there still is). Thankfully, The Gopher Shoot has not escalated to include: mortars, grenades and artillery. They would make larger and more messy holes than the gophers . . . but it would get all of the gophers (and be fun) . . . but I digress.

So imagine that you are a furry little gopher who has just woke up your winter hibernation. You stretch look around and feel peckish so you decided to go up to the surface to see what you can see and what food you can scrounge. 

At the surface you look around pause to smell the sweet spring air and marvel in the fact that you have made it through winter. Something catches your eye so you turn to look, there is a flash, a bang and then . . . nothing. (Oh the gophanity!)

It is interesting that we can start to doubt ourselves when things start going well. We are so used to misery and disappointment that when things start rolling our way we doubt it. 

We actually start to think of ways that this good streak can end and turn to crap. We have a hard time believing that things are actually turning around. This is due, of course, to the long line of misery and disappointment that we have already experienced in the past. 

The key to getting past this, is to believe in yourself and know, really and truly know that the past does not equal the future. 

Just because you have been let down in the past does not mean that you will be let down in the future. Just because things have turned from good to crap does not mean that it will turn to crap now. 

There is still the unknown and you may be let down, and things may turn to crap, but do not live in fear or the expectation of misery and disappointment. Seriously, what kind of fun or life is that? 

I for one will press on and expect good things to come and continue to believe that things will work out as I have planned, better even. Be cautions, be prudent, yet still . . . Stay positive, keep your head up and keep moving forward!

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