Day 43: Life or Death Math Problems

I just spent the last five hours with Paul dredging up old algebra skills in an attempt to finally, once and for all, figure out HOW MONEY WORKS.

Okay, that's not the question we were trying to answer.

The question is: How can I know my business is financially healthy?

It shouldn't be hard. There are all kinds of axioms, including "Concern yourself with making your money, spend it later." A business without profits is not a business for long. Etc. etc.

I've written about this question before--here through the lens of financial impotence and here through the lens of magical thinking. It's difficult to write about this with the intention of sharing it with you. I'm worried if I write this you'll know what my real situation is, and so as I write I keep trying to find ways to gracefully elide the details so that maybe you'll think of this as a fairly academic exercise, instead of what it truly is: A life or death math problem.

Answering this math problem has required an excavation of my financial life, and I'm finding a lot of really gross worms. Actually, worms are awesome and make fertile soil. The things I'm uncovering are NOT worms. They are blight. They are sickness. They are rotting roots. They are bad, bad news.

I've been attacking the problem from all kinds of angles: Trying to shore up my expenses. Trying to shore up my income. Trying to adjust my mindset and attitude. Learning more. Searching for where I've made the wrong assumption. It's a goddam Mandelbrot set of financial improvements in here and I don't want to bore you with a list of how it all fits together (though if you want that, kindly let me know by leaving a comment or hitting the yes button down below--I find practical advice on this subject sorely lacking).

I am compelled towards thousands of metaphors (peeling an onion, untangling a knot, fixing foundations, etc.) but I'll try not to make this whole entry a non-stop compendium of overextended metaphors. The more work I do towards sorting out my finances, the harder the problems get--which shouldn't be a surprise. You solve the easy ones first. You start from the edges and work toward the heart of the matter. You try to notice when your mind is slipping away from a problem it doesn't want to solve, or when you think someone else is to blame. No one else is to blame. You got yourself here, and you can get yourself out.

So, I will persist in this work, with diligence and some well worn scraps of belief that it will work out well. After all, check out what I found on the curb on my way home today:

Any universe that provides free chainmail coifs is a universe I can stand behind. I mean, the universe is literally outfitting me for battle. Let's do this.

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