An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
Quadalupe
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Quadalupe »

Damn Viktor, you and your family have had a really tough time! I am sorry to hear it and wish you all the strength, love and perseverance you need.

Re dnd: what an amazing side gig! However, in my opinion you should continue with the drinking buddies, since you sound really enthusiastic about that group! Don't get enslaved by the sweet loot ($$$), but feel free to have some fun too, even if it has some opportunity cost. I think you won't regret it.

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

That is a rough time. Dropping everything to fly out there was kind. Hopefully your show of support helps her on the path forward.

It seems like money is more or less on autopilot at this point. Maybe the structured write ups have already served their purpose?

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Alphaville
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Alphaville »

damn, dude, i am so sorry, that's rough. i hope she's better, and gets better.

and stay safe and away from covid neanderthals--oooof!

mooretrees
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by mooretrees »

Wow, what a crazy time. I work in a hospital and have seen the increase of 'suicide ideation' visits since the pandemic started. It's a terrible reality right now. So glad that she wasn't successful.

I wish I could have seen you berating that drunk lady on the plane, I bet it was awesome/terrible. Good luck.

ertyu
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by ertyu »

Wishing all the best to you and your family.

_bb_
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by _bb_ »

hey viktor, thinking of you and your loved ones.

singvestor
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by singvestor »

hi viktor, sorry to hear about your sister... i hope she will recover soon. hang in there! things will hopefully get better soon

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

@Biscuits and Gravy thank you for that, and good to hear from a reader. I probably could, but I spend as little as possible of course.

@Quadalupe thank you. I think the group might be done anyway because two of the members are getting deployed and I don't want to DM. Plus I'm picky about other DMs. The pay to play groups are just as fun now that I've started to relax

@Scott 2 I think it did help. I think the money is easy yes, but I still want a goal of being more frugal. I think the writeups are therapeutic right now. Compartmentalizing

@Alphaville thank you, safe so far

@mooretrees thank you. It is very hard for teens right now definitely. I don't think I would have gotten so upset with that lady but she disrespected me when I tried to ask her politely, and obviously I was on edge. It was a short and sweet reprimanding.

@ertyu thank you

@_bb_ thank you

@singvestor thank you, hope so

Thank you everyone, of course this month was busy. I don't have COVID and I've spent a lot of time with my sister. Reading your support was heart warming and makes me grateful to be part of this community.

theanimal
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by theanimal »

Glad to hear you're staying healthy. Here's hoping things turn brighter for you and your family this month.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

March 2021

Hope is key, @theanimal. This was a whirlwind of a month, as expected. Currently in Austin, Texas. Standard of living is greatly improved for about $100/mo more, which is negated by the lack of state tax.


ERE graphs

Image

Image

Code: Select all

Financial		$4,283.62
Home			$1,569.85
Shopping		$1,454.60
Travel			$1,145.33
Business Services	$632.09
Bills & Utilities	$532.62
Food & Dining		$364.97
Uncategorized		$100.00
Health & Fitness	$58.79
Entertainment		$16.24
Gifts & Donations	$10.00
Fees & Charges		$6.00
Low net worth increase this month, even with D&D and stimulus checks. That’s because of flights, and lots of shopping, and double rent. Also moving/shipping costs. We also rented a car, kayaks, and reserved a campsite in a local state park. I think it was all worth it, and it’s funny that my net worth still went up.

But I’d like to put in a good year and be more frugal, while still having high quality of life.



Professional

Deadline: We have a deadline coming up in two weeks. It is funny, because we don’t do any sort of actual task tracking. But I think we’ll make it. I don’t stress too much about it.

I feel like if the company gets frustrated, it won’t be us on the line. It’s not the 2 devs idea to do it this way, without a full software team. But I do hope everything goes smoothly, so that my boss and everyone else will be okay.

As we are already 3 months behind, I can’t imagine it getting too bad.


Interviewing: I started applying for companies again, just instant apply only. However, I’ve since started redirecting all the copy-pasta recruiter messages on LinkedIn (3-5/day) to my friend who is looking for their first dev job. Hopefully it will help.

I started redirecting them because interviewing is not really worth my time right now, I don’t think, since I just got a raise (see below).


Pro DMing: I cancelled a Saturday game finally, since it wasn’t drawing enough applications, and the 3 players at $10 each wasn’t worth the time and prep on my Saturday. They all seemed to handle it okay.

So now I just have my Wednesday night game (~$50/session), Friday game (same), and my Sunday morning game ($100/session). I think the average with players skipping will be $800-$1000/month. As old players drop, I add new players at an increased price. My current price is $15/player/session, but many of my players are still at the original $10/session price.


WLB: I’m glad I finally dropped the Saturday game. I was starting to feel like I bit off more than I could chew. As well, with the added pressure at work, I’ve been putting more hours (close to 40) towards that, so it was getting a bit much. Then again, my personal life is really rough right now. So playing D&D is kind of a repreive. A repreive that makes money.

I want to make sure that I have time for other hobbies though, once the opportunity is there.



Financial

Budgeting: I need to make a new budget. I would like to spend <$1500 this month. I’m not sure if I will be able to, but I will try. It is especially hard to resist the urge to buy things for the apartment. But I think we have all that we need right now.

Raise: I got my raise at work. From $76.000 to $85.000. I didn’t have to negotiate for this, as it is all handled by managers now (partly due to me, I suspect). So my manager got this raise for me. And it is above what the rest of the employees are offered.

I was also advised that there was pre-approval for future annual track of $95.000, then $115.000, followed by mostly CoL adjustments after that. So that makes me feel like this might be the job for me to just ride until I pull the plug. I don’t know, what do y’all think?


Timeline: My timeline to ERE was originally 5 years I think, in my original post. That didn’t happen. I think maybe 3-4 years now…but then I went back and average my spending for the last 6 months. And then the last 6 months before that. It’s something like $25.000 to $30.000/year.

So I’ll need to really adjust my lifestyle if I don’t want to work forever.



Personal

Fear: Really scared about the future. I want happiness so bad for my sister, hope she can find it. I know there’s statistically around 10% chance she will die of suicide, 20% chance she will re-attempt, from what I’ve read. I hate the finality of death. (example reading https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matt ... /survival/)

Hopelessness: A lot of things just aren’t working too well in my life. I wake up with haunting thoughts sometimes and don’t want to get out of bed. Alternate, worser realities play out in my mind. It’s not the best mental space and I feel like I am the one others are leaning on, which adds pressure. My dreamy house and happy family in the countryside mixed with longterm stays into foreign countries seems more out of reach. I know I can get there, but alone sounds more and more likely.

Camping: Sister came into town for half of her Spring Break. In addition to a day of hiking near the apartment, we went to a lake about an hour and half away, at the top of the Texas hill country. Did some primitive camping Monday night and Tuesday night. Saw a rattlesnake, possums, raccoons, lots of birds, white tail deer (barely), buzzards and the occasional hawk. Lots of nighttime visitors since we didn’t do too well cleaning camp the first night.

Went kayaking out in the lake to an island and tracked around it before heading back with some choppy waters and the wind.

Used the backpacking gear minus a few things. But was a good test for the tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bags. A little freaky but also awesome being out there by ourselves, since the park was empty save for some RV "glampers" down the road.

Non-backpacking comforts were fire starter logs and sticks, food, and water. Other things were potential comfort picks for backpacking like ultra-light camp chairs, camp lanterns, and camp fan (didn’t use).


California: Spent time in California as mentioned. Stayed there until 4 days before the move, flew back on a midnight flight, so landed in Chicago at 4am. Was out pretty much the whole flight. My Uber driver was a master’s student from Senegal that quoted Shakespeare and affirmed that I was a good person and how even how messed up US is, we are very blessed.

My trip to California was a mixed bag. It was very strange seeing my sister, since we haven’t had a lot of time to connect in the last few years. She’s a teen now, and last time I saw her was just for a day when we got back from Shenzhen, since she was in Texas with her dad (same mom, different dads). She’s an ISFP, I’m an ENTJ, and I couldn’t think of a cooler person.

Highlight was her cheering at a football game (as a cheerleader). Only family allowed in attendance. Whenever we spend time together, I have this itching thought in the back of my head, “You could have not been here.”

I felt like a lot of my role there was supporting her as much as my mother. I didn’t have to go through high school living with my mom, I got to stay with my dad during that time, and I think that was very fortunate. Broken homes suck.


Relationship: Me and my gf are pretty rocky. I really struggle to support her going through anxiety. Irrational fear and worry is like the anathema to my personality. And I find that I don’t enjoy being around her sometimes or often. We’ve talked about it, these are hard things to say, and I otherwise wouldn’t feel comfortable writing it. We have good moments still, but it’s not as consistent as before.

I am also not the best bf anymore, as I have little patience or interest. I feel we’re the furthest apart we’ve ever been. It’s very difficult for me to enjoy time with her, as any spark of anxiety, which almost always invariably comes up, ruins the fun for me. This is a very selfish viewpoint, and of course I feel shame, but I also have to accept my own strengths and weaknesses.

I think I am good at providing emotional support in small doses. But it is going on a long time now. So I feel like a lot of my happiness is robbed, or my peace of mind is stolen when she worries about something. Whereas otherwise I’d be at peace or relaxing, instead her anxiety makes my own anxiety go up. So it’s hard to relax. This happens when hiking, watching TV, making food, anything.

I understand it is even harder for her, as she is the one that actually has to contend with it. And then also contend with my own lack of support.


COVID: We got the first shot of Pfizer a week and a half ago. So next weekend we can get the second dose. Our first dose was a leftover from the pharmacy down the road in Austin - first call since moving down here, and we lucked out. I have hopes of things to do once vaccinated, like finding the local soccer scene and working out at the gym in the apartment complex.

Friend: As I grew up in San Antonio, I know some people down here. Some are friends that I have stayed in touch with since high school. One of my best friends lives in Austin, right down the road from us.

However, I haven’t agreed to hang out. He has very different response to COVID than me. I have some internal conflict with how to deal with this. On the one hand, once vaccinated, I am willing to follow CDC guidelines in hanging out with other low-risk people in small groups, or visiting family that are vaccinated.

But I feel a bit like it is going against my principles to hang out with someone that hasn’t taken it seriously. I see it as a lack of concern for others. I really don’t like injustice. He is not going to get the vaccine, and goes downtown to party each weekend, and doesn’t wear a mask, etc. He is also much more into the same scene (drinking, partying, making bad choices and laughing about it later) as we were in high school, and I have really grown away from that.


Health: There’s a pretty nice community gym in the apartment complex. I’ve thought about going there during off-hours before being fully vaccinated, but I think for now just body weight exercises are okay. My sister is trying to get “buff”, and so we were even doing workouts together over the camping trip like sets of planks, mountain climbers, burpees, etc, that she gets from her cheer coach.

Once fully vaccinated later this month, I intend to go to the gym here on a regular basis, and maybe join the local soccer scene for cardio.

As part of my budgeting for this month, I will also make more conscious choices about what I buy as far as junk food. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have never struggled with weight gain, it’s the opposite for me. If I don’t think about it, I will float away.



Final thoughts

Yes, things are hard. And my spending is very high. At times like these, I really need to buckle down and focus on what I can control. Exerting some control over my life always helps.

I also have been down before. But maybe this is the lowest I've been. And I think I can push on a bit like this, but I should go out of my way to make positive changes sooner. I think the biggest impacts will be 1) increasing the quality of relationship with my sister, 2) focusing on eating healthy and exercising, 3) making and sticking to a budget, 4) building my social network around things I enjoy (e.g. D&D, sports, and outdoors).

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Current spending in April

Code: Select all

Home			$877.50
Travel			$87.05
Shopping		$79.20
Food & Dining		$37.49
Health & Fitness	$4.00
Home is our new rent + internet bill (50%)
Travel is the fuel and last ubers of our trip, technically those were 3/31 charges but oh well
Shopping is an order of food ($66), carpet cleaner, and $5 of I don't even know what
Food & dining was fast food on the way home from the lake (technically 3/31)
Health & Fitness mislabeled, that's a Patreon charge for extra storage on the VTT I use

Total: $1085

So that leaves $415 this month

A solid 4 weeks of this month remain

If we throw $100 at other bills (e.g. phone bill, half of utilities if they come out this month, not sure yet)

That's $315 for my share of food for 4 weeks, ~$80/week

So the goal is to hold off on food and purchases until Tuesday evening. And spend as little as possible.

We've got a bag of quinoa coming, can order pasta. Usually eat oatmeal with peanut butter, blueberries, raisins, and cocoa powder in mornings + 2 eggs + 2 whole grain toast. Daily salad of broccoli, spinach, apple, cucumber and olive oil + balsamic. Hummus + toast, roasted almonds, raisins, etc. things for snacks.

I've been missing dinner a bit, waking up hungry. We've got peanut butter and jelly, when the quinoa gets here, should be able to get more calories from that.

No restaurants this month, no travel. If I manage to come under, I might get a plane ticket to go visit sister again in May. That's not really something I'm gonna scrimp on at this time.

Pretty sure have some leftover bills still coming through from the old apartment too.

So <$1500 stretch, <$2000 goal

Flights are <$100 right now for the end of month

That'll make for ~$4300 net worth increase

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Alphaville
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Alphaville »

hey man, a quick thing, i don't mean to pry, this is not my intention, but is she in treatment? are you?

im... i find therapy has help me tons throughout life. better than religion ever did! :lol:

both individually and as a couple. we both go or have gone when needed. it's a good thing.

turns out i've never been attracted to "normal" women. so hm... trying to replace one with another just landed me in the same place :lol:

well not like every girl has been the same obviously but with the delicious eccentricities comes other extra material. might as well learn how to deal with it. the main issue for me looking back is: does she have a good heart? then i'm in. manipulative sociopaths otoh i cannot abide.

anxiety, depression, etc... are not necessarily curses. sometimes they're part of the way one processes a fucked up world. i.e. it's the world that's crazy! we're just trying to cope with it.

anyway, whatever happens i wish you the best. but yeah, therapy is a good thing. and for difficult situations eg your sister... have you guys looked into dbt? do a search for marsha linehan. she's got some good youtubes... not stupid ones. also if your gf's anxiety with not go away with other systems, this might work. ok! as @ertyu says: strength! 💪

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

Just about every major life stressor has hit at once. I'd encourage greater forgiveness, both towards yourself and your GF. It's a good time to lighten up on the frugality and use money to help ease your burden. A couple thousand dollars won't have a marked impact on your financial trajectory, but it could make rebuilding over the next few months manageable.

Seriously, what you've described would wreck most people. Add the continued strain of social isolation as an extrovert. Damn. Take it easy. Let work be what is for awhile, focus on yourself and your family.


From what I've read, your people skills are light years beyond where mine will ever be. So I hesitate to touch on relationships at all, but, I'm 20+ years into having a partner with anxiety. It doesn't go away. In our case, it did get easier to manage. Recognizing the condition is not something to control (or I control!) was a big part of that.

I believe you've mentioned in the past, that your GF recognizes the problem and is open to outside help. That's huge.

I've learned sometimes life needs to pause, to make space for a flare. Part of making a plan, is accounting for the likely anxiety impact. It might not be logical, but it often is predictable. Stressors can be identified and avoided. Coping strategies can be developed and kept available. With time, as a couple, you can get better at avoiding or short circuiting a spiral.

It's hard to say if that price is worth it. In my case it was, but I also bring my own unique brand of dysfunction to the table. I think most people do. We've been able to make it work, finding our own blend of complementary strengths. Managing is an ongoing effort though. I'd say it comes up in conversation at least weekly and those aren't always easy.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Alphaville wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:42 am
hey man, a quick thing...
No on both, and I don't mind prying. I've considered therapy for myself, in hopes it will make me a better person. Couples therapy might be beneficial as well. I have good benefits and I believe it's easily covered or even free. Individual, that is. Couples I'm not sure about.

The last dumpster fire I was attracted to was in college. Shortly thereafter I started looking for someone who had positive traits, someone I could trust, not just someone I was physically attracted to. That pretty immediately dove-tailed into this relationship which is going on 7 years.

For my sister, the biggest hurdle has been access to therapy. Her appointments are often weeks apart, and she hasn't been able to enroll in the group therapy that she's asked for. This is managed by my mother, I don't know how/if I can help.
Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:08 am
Just about every major life stressor has hit at once. I'd encourage greater forgiveness...
It's good to hear of a "success story" so to speak. The hardest thing is balancing all of this at once. The frugality I actually enjoy right now as it's something within my control. But I just don't have enough energy to focus on my job, D&D, sister, my self, and my gf all at once. It's the things that are outside of my control that are causing me the most stress right now, though. So D&D is a nice escape, work is easy and has good feedback loops, my self I can manage but only by withdrawing. Keeping up with my sister dominates a lot of thinking, and occupies the same sort of weakness/feeling area for me as focusing on my gf.

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Alphaville
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Alphaville »

man... i can't believe four people in crisis and nobody is getting professional help? cmon guys... you all need this. you need it to cope with all the pressure that is being placed on you. your gf needs it for her anxiety, but also to help lighten your load by not leaning so heavily on you--plus, she might need prescriptions that are best dispensed by a specialist. your sister needs it most desperately, and im disgusted at our healthcare system for not providing care with more urgency. and your mother needs it too, because the shock must be atrocious and she might be tempted to go into denial about this or who knows what. your whole family system is shellshocked, and needs help.

therapy is great. not all therapists are good though, but therapy is great. for your sister, dbt, or something else i dont know about. for you, sounds like you just need a counselor who understands your situation in depth and can help you cope. for your gf... im not a specialist, but ask around? if the anxiety stems from a history of abuse/ptsd though, dbt is the latest and greatest to stem the worst of things, i.e. things formerly considered untreatable.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Yes for sure @alphaville.

I have found therapy for me often not super helpful. Like I'm too confident, and they usually just affirm my thoughts. Which is helpful for sure. But ya, will make some effort. I should also ask my mom if there's anything on my end I can help with.... I don't know if part of it is a financial hardship that she's unable to overcome. She isn't the best with $, so that could be a factor for them that's not necessarily a factor for me...

For purchases, I've seen mention on the forum of writing down what you want to buy, revisiting it a month later to see if you still want it before purchasing. And I've always found that as an attractive idea. So here is current things I've wanted to buy, and some I already did, since my update.

already bought

Code: Select all

strainer for quinoa (ordered, seemed practical, necessary, and convenience food being an opportunity for improvement, I ordered it ~$10)
peeler for veggies (I could use a knife... but I suck at it, so $10)
want

Code: Select all

mouse pad - new desk doesn't work with the laser mouse, but it's for my desktop only, which is mostly for fun, so low priority
footrest - backpain not really hitting yet, so can holdoff. have ergonomic chair already which makes a big difference, can use cardboard box in meantime
spoons, knives, forks - have 2 of each, re-washing is okay for now, and worked for all of last 4-5 years. but i'd love to have a set of each to just throw in dishwasher after using
Girlfriend made an order for food on her card, next one probably will be on mine. Seemed like a pretty frugal list of things, but about $80. What I'm focusing on right now is eating everything we have and not wasting like we sometimes do.

Also, even for me. With good benefits, and apparently have mental help for free right now. I have no idea where to look. Like shouldn't it be a big red button on your employee benefits page? smh

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Alphaville
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Alphaville »

lol yeah... usually bundled with medical, so number at the back of your insurance card might get you talking to a patient navigator.

also, back pain is a very common symptom of stress. pyschosomatic illness is real. so add it to your report.

therapy is vast and there are many different schools and systems, but it's well worth the effort and research because mental health is *essential.*

last: don't sweat the peeler, it's a good tool, and a knife is no match. personally i like oxo but ymmv.

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

My wife's had good luck with a therapist working out of her home. Single person practice, the woman even handles insurance billing herself. There were definitely a few failed attempts, prior to finding a good match.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Had therapy today and it made me feel better. But have some mixed feelings about the therapist's advice. Can't argue against the logic though.

Also on spending now, it's not so much that I think $2,000-$3,000 this month will hurt me in the long run. It's that it's been a pattern now over the last year, so has to stop somewhere. And the purchases don't help my happiness, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am now. Exerting control is more satisfying right now. If that makes sense, so didn't want to come off too dismissive of the idea thus the clarification here.

My list of wants in my spreadsheet is growing by 5-10/day...

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Alphaville
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Alphaville »

wow that was fast! congrats on the start. and look: you don't have to just take everything the therapist says. but you need the perspective regardless. do i make sense?

my best length of therapy was a friendly and highly engaged argument that went on for years. he'd suggest something, i'd disagree or interrogate and make my arguments, he'd counter, i'd reply, etc, eventually we 'd find resolution--eureka! we'd throw in science, history, literature, philosophy, pop culture, religion, family lore, etc. into the discussion. that was so much fun.

i'm forever grateful to that old man who argued with me for years and... cured me, lol.

of course not just anybody would have been such a good fit for me. some people want to be right all the time, some people just want you to follow orders, some people lack the depth to engage in a constructive argument, but i find that working through the resistance is the work of therapy in itself. therapy is work! takes time and energy.

anyway, congratulations on taking the first step. as @ertyu likes to say--strength! 💪

--


eta: i forgot also to mention, there are cases when the therapist's values (moral or otherwise) might be irreconcileable with yours. in cases like that it's best to politely fire them and find a new one more suitable. yup.

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