The World Didn't End -- Now What?

by Beth WiesemannJanuary 3, 2013 

Crap. Now I have to pay back my student loans. Despite the catastrophic consequences overall of the world coming to an end on December 21, I have to admit that it would have simplified many things. Not only was the Mayan loan repayment plan much cheaper than the Federal Stafford Loan plan, the impending apocalypse did also wipe out my anxiety about retirement financing, long-term health and constant upgrades to my computer operating system so that I can still get my cell phone to function. Now that the build up to mass extinction has come and gone, I’ll have to seriously rethink a few things.

Fortunately, Doomsday was slated for a few days before the New Year so it coincides perfectly with the normal New Year’s resolution planning anyway. In the past couple of years my biggest resolutions were losing weight and getting a college degree. So let’s recap. Lose weight: check. Get degree: check. All done with those things. So this year my new goals will be to finish reading my school books and try to remember half of what I learned so I can apply it in some way. The other goal is to lose the weight I gained while I was sitting on my butt doing homework and not getting to the gym. Does anyone else feel like life is a permanent rerun on the TV Land Channel? Thank God I didn’t give my fat jeans away to the sinners I figured would be left behind.

Another lesson I hope I finally learn is that when you own a scent hound, it doesn’t matter if baking cocoa powder is in a sealed container. Or that it’s on the dining room table in a bag that isn’t from the grocery store. Just in case anyone was wondering, five ounces of unsweetened baking cocoa is three times the lethal limit a dog should consume. Frankly, a half an ounce of dried powder would be enough to choke me to death. But beagles are rather persistent. Two thoughts crossed my mind when I saw my pooch laying behind the dining room table with her head buried in the can of cocoa. One was that she was eating what amounted to a can of poison. Secondly, I was quite impressed by how well she could hold that can without the benefit of opposable thumbs. On an up note, already my algebra requirement for school is coming in handy. I can now figure the percentage of my salary that is taken up by vet bills versus the percentage taken up by four new tires, a starter, an alternator (those last two at the same time) and a leaking water pump on my car. I can add both of those things together, along with my salary and determine how they fit onto an isosceles triangle, as well as graph it somehow. There’s nothing like a good graph to highlight how poor I am destined to be my whole life.

Poverty is my immediate plan only if my second retirement plan doesn’t work out this year. That would be the lottery plan. I’m not selfish. I don’t need a half billion dollars. Although, that would be nice because, of course, I’d donate it all to charity. But I’d take six figures. I’d even take just enough to pay down my credit card that I ran up with personal training. It wouldn’t have to be the whole thing; it would just need to be enough to cover about 20 pounds worth. Again, I can use what I remember of algebra to calculate the percentages. It’s amazing how well schooling is already paying for itself by helping me out with all of my financial planning.

The continuation of the planet doesn’t just have to bring about major life changes. There are certainly enough of the little things that could use a little renewed focus. I’m seriously considering cleaning out my trunk this year. I’ve been talking about it for a while, but I have a really good feeling about finally locating the ceramic coffee mugs my nieces painted for their parents for Christmas two years ago. Or was it three? That’s why I clean - not for the sake of cleanliness, but because I frequently misplace things. I fear all hope is lost for my social security card though. That was at least four wallets ago. But I’m sure several wonderful little treasures await.

That is, if the world actually didn’t end. You see, even though you’re reading this now, my actual deadline for this article was before the end of days. That means that it’s entirely possible that only two or three people other than me will read this. I certainly hope that’s not the case. But then again, with a little advance notice, I could’ve thrown a pretty excellent party with my 401(k).

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