How to be a financial failure (let the 200 hours begin)

The contract was signed, near the end of 2016. In blood.

Diana (my personal angel investor) and I sat at a diner, as I wrote out the terms we had agreed on.

The terms: She gives me $300 to use for a gym membership. The money stays safely tucked away in my checking account, to be used only for the monthly fee all throughout 2017.

If that $300 gets used appropriately, I am handsomely rewarded in quarterly intervals.

If I drop the ball and spend the money on anything else, I am penalized with 200 hours of volunteer work.

We did not truly sign the contact in blood. It was just a normal pen.

Then, Diana went back to her home in Canada. Left me with my end of the deal.

I felt so positive about it. It could work. I was pumped.

Then… I failed. Pretty much instantly.

I spent money on food. I went through a Taco Bell phase. Like 20 dollars worth of Taco Bell every day for a few consecutive days. As I write this, my mouth lustfully waters.

I spent money on cigarettes. One of the world’s shittiest ways of coping with stress. A lot of the time, I got a pack and then destroyed it or gave it away after only a few smokes. I’d resolve not to get more, but then break down again a couple days later. Cigarettes are at least 7 dollars a pack. 7 here, 7 there.

I randomly bought a puzzle, and a few copies of the wonderful poetic work Brave Vulnerable by Sheen Francis Reyes. Her artful poetry hit me so hard, I wanted to share it with others.

Those last two wouldn’t be regrettable, except for the whole thing about how I totally, you know… broke the contact.

Which means now, I have to write this. About how I failed at my goals, and why.

So… why?

Well, my first mistake is simple to spot. We wrote the contract on a page in a notebook. It’s still in the notebook. I don’t even know which notebook it is in. I haven’t looked at it since we signed it…


After Diana left, I took some wrong turns. Due to the nature of momentum, one thing led to another. Bad decisions multiply (so do good ones).

And nearly all that $300 got sucked into a black hole of hedonistic escapism.

Should I consider it an accomplishment that at very least, my January gym dues were paid? 1 month out of 12. I was 8.33333333% successful in fulfilling the contract. Which sounds higher than I deserve, actually, and (where the penalty is concerned) equates to 100% failure.

But I can be thankful for that 8.33333333%…

Yet another embarrassment. But somehow, I am not embarrassed.

Because life? It’s fucking difficult sometimes. I’ve done my best. Even when my best feels depressingly weak, it’s still my best for the moment. I’ve got demons, depression, and dependencies to contend with. And every time I fall down, I strive to get back up and do better. I’ll get it right eventually. Or I’ll die. I’ll keep striving until I get it right or die, and I like to imagine that I’ll keep striving after I’m dead.

Actually, even though I say I’ve broken the contract… I am still fulfilling it. Just not in the way I first intended. I am going to go do those 200 hours of volunteer work. Get out more. Touch the world. Be touched. Participate.

Could be exactly what I need to move on in my life and find a new me. I don’t know what form my volunteer work will take yet. If it’s interesting, I’ll write about it. If not, I’ll write about it and make it interesting.

This post will go into the paperback version of Overcoming Financial Failure: A Peace Treaty with the System, a book I wrote in 30 days, by the seat of my pants.

In the book, there are many ideas. Plans. Goals. Techniques.

My failure to hold on to that $300 does not undermine everything else. I knew when I signed the contract that it was a wonderful idea with a strong chance of turbulent failure. I know my tendencies. I know my shortcomings. The contract had promise, but my tendencies won.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. A lot of the material in this could work for someone. It could work for me.

I completed my challenge to write a book, and here I am, remaining transparent in my failure. Which makes the failure a lesson.

Lesson #1: when I sign a contract, keep it handy. At least look at it once in a while…

Lesson #2: I don’t know. Maybe I haven’t learned much. Maybe lesson #1 is good enough for now…

As I write this, I feel kind of hollow inside. There’s a sore tiredness behind my eyes. Sometimes I feel so used up inside, my cheeks feel raw and sensitive. I can tell, I’d feel a lot better if I just slept a while. A lot of times when I feel this way, I end up binge eating. I think binge eating and getting poor rest is why I feel this way to begin with. So the cycle keeps looping. Energy diminishes. Good choices become incredibly unlikely.

I do not feel like writing this. I don’t feel like a single word of it is making any sense, or that there’s much value to be found here.

But damn it. This is the point. Of the book. Of everything for me, lately.


No matter what. Scrape the tar off my soul, and just give it away through these words. If the tar is all I have left, then the tar is what you get.

Just don’t stop giving. Don’t stop searching. Don’t stop overcoming.

Better days will come. I’ll show up then, too, when I have more than tar to give.

Until then, I will keep getting back up. Keep doing my best. Keep being a trial embracer, to the best of my ability.

If I only improve in 1 single way through writing these words, it will be because I learned how to show up against all odds. Against my own history. Against my demons.

I am still here.

And I…