Tuesday, I had an eye doctor’s appointment to get a new prescription for contacts. I left after explaining to the receptionist, the doctor, the contacts person and the glasses person that I could not afford their recommendations. I felt awful because I felt like I had say “no” to my health because I couldn’t afford to say “yes.” I felt like I was trapped in a sand tomb, paralyzed and I could only splash about.
So, I came home and started writing about my experience and feelings. I wouldn’t say I was crying as I typed, but having a Finneon near might have been helpful. After granbulling for about a page and a half, I had to return to work and try not to be so gloomy.
It was at work that I noticed this feeling didn’t have to do with only my doctor’s appointment. At first, I ran out of good moves when I had to stop using my credit card PP, causing me to splash around. Then, I became paralyzed as I started looking deeper into what we have spent and still need to spend on our wedding. Finally, I was trapped in the sand tomb when I wanted a new contacts prescription, but everything I was being recommended would cost me three to four times what I was expecting to afford.
I found myself on a Marengo Plateau.
What is a Marengo Plateau?
A Marengo Plateau is a monotonous place where progress comes to a slow halt and becomes stable and unchanging. A common example is a person who is dieting and exercising to lose weight. In the beginning, they see progress, but after a couple of months, their progress slows down until it seems to stop entirely. They are no longer gaining weight, nor are they losing any. They have reached a Marengo Plateau.
The enriching part of reaching a plateau is that I have progressed to new heights I have never reached before, and I can apply the experience from this rock climb to my next one. The disappointing part is that although I can see my goal, I have to figure out another route to get there.
Reaching New Heights
I may need new contacts, but I don't need a wide lens to see the progress I've made over the last two and a half years. I’m more conscious and knowledgeable about my spending. I know my spending habits, what influences them, what triggers gluttony and how to prevent it. My financial mindset and attitudes have changed and it emboldened me to be sturdy when saying “I’m sorry, I can’t afford that” at the doctor's office.
When the doctor told me that she recommended daily contacts for my eyes, I responded “That sounds expensive. The reason I have been using the monthly contacts is that it’s what I can afford.” She understood and we discussed healthier habits for wearing monthly contacts.
When I told the contact person that I couldn’t afford the full year’s prescription, they confided that it would be more affordable in the long run. However, I knew that when I’m using my credit card to pay for it, the less I spend on it now, the more I save over time. I accrue less interest over a year if I spend $60 now and $190 six months later than if I spend $350 now.
When I told the glasses person I couldn’t afford the glasses, they proposed I apply for a health services only credit card. I acknowledged that although it could be helpful, gaining another credit card to buy a pair of glasses could be super effective against my finances. They tried some fake tears about my old glasses hurting my vision, but I think I'll be fine until I buy a more affordable pair online.
Enjoy The View, Then Review
While on the plateau, I like to take a moment to appreciate the view of my progress thus far. Then it’s back to work preventing myself from becoming complacent. I use the plateau as a safe place to xatu my progress and think about what has and hasn’t worked, is and isn’t working and may or may not work in the future. There are a lot of different strategies to figure out how to proceed once I’ve climbed back down.
One strategy is to do more research and learn other ways to reach my goals. Sometimes, the reason I have ended up on the plateau is that I haven’t learned the proper HMs, or skills, to progress forward. Sometimes I need Surf to cross the river. Other times, Strength opens up a shortcut to make the journey a little easier. The library, the Rockstar Finance Blogdex and Google are great HM teachers that help make opportunities available.
Sometimes, I need to simply revisit old challenges with new strategies. Revisiting routes with new ideas reveals missed items and missed opportunities that are still available. I originally started a second checking account to use for online purchases. Now, I use it to separate my grocery money from my regular checking account.
I grow lazy and stop paying attention to what I'm doing as I grow used to doing something. In these situations, I need to either focus on doing what was being successful or I need to make a small change. By changing something small, like the location, music, time of day, font or color, I can re-energize what I am doing.
Sometimes, I just choose an entirely new route. I find the new battles and pokémon exciting. I enjoy the different challenges as they inspire me to continue moving forward. New routes provide different experiences that eventually aid in making larger goals more achievable.
Once I have my plan, I make the climb back down the plateau. The climb down is just as important as climbing up. It reminds me of all the challenges I faced and the badges I earned along the way. It also prepares me for whatever challenges lay ahead.
For this current plateau, I think I am just lost in a wedding planning blizzard. I just want to hang out up here to wait out the storm. Once it settles and I can see clearer, I will look at all the different routes available and plan my next steps. Who knows, maybe I’m not even on a plateau at all!
Let’s Chat: How did you brick break through your last plateau?
What To Do When You Hit a Plateau- Nerd Fitness
What Happens When You ‘Plateau’ in Your Physical Fitness and Personal Finance Goals?- CentSai
Joyful Journeys for Goals- The Grown-Up Pkmn Trainer