Better Days Are Coming….At Least That’s The Plan

Thursday nights have become, for me at least, the one opportunity during the week for me to flee the confines of my meager apartment and enjoy the local night life of my town.  That’s to say, it’s the one night I can go out and drink and come home after 10:00 PM.  Since the beginning of the Summer, I had worked on developing a routine on Thursday’s that allowed me to do all the things I wanted to do during the day and then spend the evening with friends without spending 50% of my paycheck.  It was a careful balance between enjoyment and frugalness.  While I don’t get to see my friends with the regularity of my youth, I look forward to Thursday’s as a chance to spend time with them and act like the happy, careless teen I was oh so long ago.  Tonight, unfortunately, for several reasons, plans went array and I find myself alone on my couch contemplating my coming days, as certainly things will change with the arrival of Fall. It’s not quite like in the past, when my friends and I all returned to school and our schedules changed, but the end of the Summer still brings about changes for me and for my friends that will probably limit the time we can spend together.  Several of my friends are teachers, which means that indeed the arrival of Fall will bring them back to school, and I am hoping to add a second job, part-time, to my life which will provide more income and less free time to spend that income.  A double positive if that if a thing.  Ok, honestly, more work and less free time are not two things I am looking forward to, but a little more disposable income wouldn’t hurt right about now.  See, my balance of fun and frugality on Thursday nights hasn’t always balanced itself out perfectly and unfortunately, I find less money in my account with each successive week.  I had to pull a few strings to get by in June and July, and now as I doggie paddle my way through August, I have increased the intensity of my search for a second job.

A girl I work with told me last night that she knew of a new restaurant opening in the area and that I should apply to work there.  In fact, she was quite adamant that I would not only get hired immediately, but that I would surely find a Spanish speaking girlfriend while working there.  It is a chain restaurant, which initially turned me off, as I am not looking for a job anywhere that takes themselves too seriously, as chain restaurants do, but it is a Mexican themed restaurant and since it hasn’t even opened yet, I am certain they will hire almost anyone for almost any position.  I filled out an application and drove up to the site this afternoon, but after waiting around a bit for someone to show up for me to leave the application with, I came back home, determined to return tomorrow to drop it off.  On one hand, I feel like a bit of a failure as I probably should have been more committed to delivering the application today, but I am hoping the difference of 24 hours won’t affect my chances of being hired.  I may run into trouble as I only want part time work, but since I am willing to do just about any task, I may be appealing to the hiring folk.  Now, while I am slightly disappointed in myself for not leaving the application today, it did present me the opportunity to see that a second new restaurant in the area was hiring.  This restaurant, also a chain, is not themed in any special cuisine that I know of, but I decided any restaurant in the area is going to be staffed with Spanish speaking kitchen workers and I will get my chance to practice speaking Spanish in whatever type of restaurant I find myself in.  Right now, my goal is to simply put aside some extra cash and have a chance to speak a little Spanish.  Of course, I’m not mentioning that to the hiring managers, but I don’t want any real responsibility.  I want to be able to go in, maybe bus some tables or take the garbage out and go home without feeling any stress or anger.  I have enough stress to deal with in my regular job.  I don’t need any more of that.

I am a little concerned about the possibility of working seven days a week again.  I did that for two years and it wasn’t fun.  I didn’t even realize the toll it took on me both physically and mentally until I finally gave it up.  After I finally stopped killing myself, my friends pointed out to me how miserable I was during those two years.  I wish they had told me sooner.  In any case, I’m not even sure I could do it if I wanted to, but there is always the possibility that if I get a second job, they may want me to work on my days off from McDonald’s.  Since I am not planning on taking the second job too seriously perhaps it won’t be as difficult for me to do as when I was working at two McDonald’s.  I guess we have to wait and see.  After having three months off from the second McDonald’s, I tried to go back and only lasted two months before I wanted to go on a killing spree, but I am fairly certain that was because of the stress of the second place.  It was a nightmare.  I imagine taking a job of limited responsibility will allow me the freedom to avoid unnecessary stress.

I’d like to have a second job secured by the first of September.  I have two reasons for this.  One, I just need a date to shoot for so I maintain my motivation, but also, if I don’t have a second job by then, I am planning on getting a membership to a new gym.  For the first time since 2001, I am not a member of a gym and I want to make sure that if I have the time, I manage to get myself there at least a few times a week.  The reason for the September 1st deadline is only because a local gym sent me a limited time membership offer that expires August 31st.  I know, you’re probably thinking, why would he join a new gym after going on about wanting to save money?  Well, despite it all, staying in shape is important to me, and to be totally honest, I have fallen far from the peak of my physical condition.  I’m not overweight, but I want to lose enough weight to tighten up what I do have.  Again, without a second job, my goal is to be a bit firmer by the end of the year.  It seems my resolutions begin at the end of the year rather than the beginning.  Granted, it will be tough, if not impossible to go to the gym if I am working 2 jobs, which is why I am waiting until the end of the month to make a decision.  New job, no new gym.  No job, join the gym.  Simple enough, right?

I’m pleased I have been able to at least start outlining my plans for the coming months.  I know,I went on and on a while back about my obsession with lists and why I should get away from making them, but it makes me feel more secure knowing I have a plan, at least in theory.  I may never follow through on all my plans, but at least I have it all mapped out.  Right now, I am aiming at having a second job by Sept. 1st, a new gym membership (provided I can fit it into my schedule) with the intention of being in shape by the end of the year, and a basic understanding of the French language so that I can carry on a very basic conversation with one of my co-workers.  I’m not sure I mentioned the new French challenge, so I will quickly update you on that one.

I had started learning basic French about four months ago, but thought I could continue to study Italian and also maintain my Spanish at the same time.  The end result was a big headache and my total loss of motivation to learn anything new.  I had actually reached a decent level with the Italian, and I was excited about that, but ultimately, I gave them both up so that I could stick with Spanish alone for the time being.  I had always planned on getting back to them, and in fact recently I had started toying with the notion of studying Portuguese, which has become my favorite sounding language of all those I am interested in learning.  The only reason I have decided to go with French is because one of my coworkers at McDonald’s asked me to help her practice a bit.  That was really all the motivation I needed to get back into it.  Now, I am going to fight the urge to dive into the deep end of the French language before I am ready.  I am going to try with all my might to keep this goal a simple one.  I am not going to devote three hours a day to verb conjugations or anything like that.  I have settled on spending about an hour a day, three times a week my goal.  That will allow me to study the book I have without trying to move to far forward too fast.  Also, I’m going to do my best to only use one book, instead of three different books, videos, flash cards, and various computer programs.  The biggest problem I had in my original attempt was trying to do too much all at once.  While it won’t hurt to use flash cards to learn some vocab, I am not going to try to learn 700 words in three months.  It’s a lot easier to remember words you use on an everyday basis, so I am not going to try to learn every barnyard animal there is.  If there is a word I want to know, I will by all means look it up, and if I think it is important, I will add it to my Anki deck, but I am not going to go insane like I did when I tried to learn all the romance languages at the same time.  Given the similarities between the languages, it will actually probably be easier to go slower and see the similarities rather than try to stuff every word in my head all at once.  I was a little surprised to find that even though I only focused on French for a short time, I remembered a good deal of it when I looked at the book the other day, which tells me I can do it if I just remain patient and stick with it.  The pronunciation is the hardest part and since I am only planning on talking with one other person, I don’t have to worry too much about that.  I’m hoping that in addition to reaching a basic conversational level of French, this will also help improve my Spanish.  Since I am not actively studying anything in Spanish (I just talk when I can) sitting down and studying French may help some other things click in my Spanish speaking mind.

So that’s just about it I think.  That pretty much lays out the rest of the year.  I’ve got financial goals, physical health goals, and language learning goals.  That’s about all I do.  I think that should keep me pretty occupied for a while.  Aside from Spanish, which even that I still have some doubts about, I haven’t reached the level of success with languages that I had set out to achieve at the beginning of this year.  If I recall correctly, I should be of an almost equal level of Spanish, Italian, and French with a basic conversation ability in Portuguese and Mandarin, and a beginners level of German.  Ok, I don’t know a single word in Mandarin, and it is very possible I never will, but should I be successful with the romance languages, maybe I will give it a shot.  Dare I go so far to say that by my birthday (about 8 months from now) I should try to at least have French and Italian down?  It’s something to shoot for.  I wanted to have Portuguese down for the World Cup in 2014.  I think I can still do that one.  In any case, I am just rambling now, so I am going to go.  Good night.

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~ by James on August 23, 2012.

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