The best coping strategy for an all too distant pay day


I’ve started walking this way to the local shop. These daffodils are in the middle of a large road… not very Wordsworth.

Spring has just arrived but my money has not. I just spent my last pound coin. I bought a paper and some maltesers – it was totally worth it. But now there is an empty wallet.

Before you start worrying about this blog turning into some sort of plea for money, let me explain that me and my wife are going on a fancy holiday in the summer. But first we’re doing some mega saving.

So every month there is less disposable income. I can’t buy what I want all the time (I pretty much spend my spare cash entirely on movies, TV and food). The wait for pay day seems impossible when I can’t have stuff right now.

So what should I do?

Well some people would maybe hibernate – watch a bunch of tv and eat sugar packets that they’ve stolen from cafes.

Others would tell me that I should devote my spare time to side projects, learning and general money-making schemes because if you don’t work hard you don’t earn enough and if you don’t earn enough then what do you do?

But I prefer the advice that my old boss gave to me.

She said to live a happy/successful/fulfilled life you just have to do one thing:

Accept your starting position

That’s only four words of advice and probably not enough to be life changing. But it is useful.

The theory goes that if you know where you’re starting from, you can better judge how well things are going and that should result in better decisions.

And if you’re not sure where you’re starting from – well the answer is here, you start right now. From your current situation with your current personality and your current flaws. That’s where you are.

My boss would say that a lot of unhappiness comes from doing this. Often we mourn the loss of things we never had (like model good looks or monkey servants)

And if I think about that, it helps me with my wait for pay day… which still feels a long way off.

Where am I starting?

Well I’m the guy that can’t afford a super awesome holiday AS WELL AS a daily bonus food item and a bunch of cinema tickets. I can have some of those things but not all of them.

That’s where I’m starting out and if I accept that I can see it’s a pretty good place to be. A lack of bonus food items definitely has health benefits as well.

And what else? Well I haven’t invested too much time in business success and shiny shoes.

I like to hang out with my wife and with friends and with family. I like helping out at church. I like living in the north of England. All that stuff matters to me but doesn’t give me any money.

If I spent all my time grieving the loss of futures that were never mine (usually ones with great food, excellent entertainment and a heavy wallet) then I could start to get resentful.

I could start to be a bit of a jerk.

This advice is all about getting a sense of perspective and being able to move on from disappointment. You start from right now and it would be better for all of us if you accepted that.

But I hope you don’t feel like this best thing is too preachy

…or think that this Jon guy from Steve and Jon’s Best Things is super up himself.

In case you are thinking that, let me dishonour myself a little bit:

My next pay day is in two days time – two days! So I have to skip movies and maltesers for 48 hours and what do I do?

I write a philosophical, life-coachy blog post about it of course…