I’m a big fan of Newton’s Third Law of Motion. It’s the one that states that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Newton used it to describe motion and kinetic transfer, but I think he may have missed the broader applications of his law. Sometimes I feel like it should be called Newton’s Third Law of Life, and I think anyone who has ever felt the universe pushing back on them can agree with that statement.
This month, I finally hit my ideal monthly student loan payment of $1,334. I was so happy, you guys. It took me six months and a lot of recalculations to do it, but I had finally hit my goal. It was the largest single payment I’ve ever made on my loans, and I’m telling you- it felt awesome to click YES on that “are you sure this is the right amount?” prompt the loan website flashes before allowing me to submit a payment.
Two days after that payment posted to my bank account, my computer crashed hard. I talked about this on Friday, as I tried to write a coherent blog post via my phone. (It turns out, that’s really hard to do.) When I finally got my computer back, the total was $85 and a grim warning that my hard drive might be in the beginning stages of systematic failure.
It was all right, though. I have an external hard drive and I back everything up regularly anyway. I have an emergency fund, and it had $85 in it to cover the repair. I am out the roughly $210 paycheck from Thursday and Friday, but I’ll figure out how that affects the budget next month when the check comes in.
What is not all right is that the next day, another unexpected financial cost came up. I twisted my knee at work while helping a customer search the bottom rack of Wii games for a copy of Mario Power Tennis (and no, the irony of a knee injury while searching for a tennis game is not lost on me. Neither are the Skyrim-related jokes, such as “I used to be a video game sales person, but then I took a Wii game to the knee.” Ha. Ha. Ha.)
It’s two days later now, and my knee is still a painful mass of useless flesh. It’s not swollen, but it hurts every time I move it, hurts even more every time I move it in any direction except for straight ahead, and my ankle and foot are in a constant pins-and-needles state. This makes me think I’ve got a pinched nerve in my knee.
That kind of injury isn’t cheap, people. I’ve got an appointment with a orthopedist tomorrow, which means specialist rates, and I’m not entirely sure this doc is in my insurance network. (There’s so much wrong with the US health insurance system, but that’s another post.) Besides the cost of the doctor, I’m not sure what it will mean for my ability to work. Two of my jobs allow me to sit at a desk or on a couch, but the other three require a fair amount of physical activity. I’m already down $210, which is just shy of 10% of my monthly budget. Missing more days of work means losing a bigger cut.
But there is good news. As a Newton’s Cradle (i.e.- the thing in the picture above) will demonstrate, the equal action-reaction concept swings both ways (pun totally intended, by the way.) Just as the universe seems to be pushing against me right now, I can push back. I’ve got two freelance writing tasks on my plate right now, and I have the rest of the week to try to make up some hours at the consulting job. Since I’m plainly not going frolicking through the flowers anytime soon, I should have plenty of time to spend typing away at the keyboard in the next few days.
Provided my hard drive doesn’t fail again.
Please, hard drive, don’t fail me now.