Saturday, November 2, 2013
The Universe or fate or whatever you want to call it has a funny way of taking the reins whenever I make plans. I'm not much of a planner; setting goals isn't something I normally do on my own. One could argue that more practice on my part might subdue the universes hi jinks, but that's my old school superstition talking, I think. Anyway, I recently came to a point where I realized I really need to do something to rectify my unstable financial status. I came up with a few ideas, plans to pay off some debt a little at a time, with the ultimate goal of bringing my bank account current so I can apply for some credit.
I was rather pleased with myself and my new-found sense of adult responsibility. I began to believe those positive affirmations we all hear ad nauseum. I am responsible, I am capable, I am lovable. A regular Stuart Smalley, oh yes.
My sunshiny radiance was short lived. The first sign of impending gloom came within 24 hours when my internet got suspended. I had paid the bill but failed to notice the 15 dollar a month rate increase. It helps to read your bills before you pay them I guess. Then no sooner than I had completed my indignant call to the internet provider I received a call from the electric company. It's that time of year where the moratorium on shut offs begins so they are out to settle up as many accounts as possible. I usually carry some balance until energy assistance comes through, but due to the brief but disruptive hissy fit in Congress such programs were put on hold for two weeks.
I couldn't help but feel just a little demoralized. All of a sudden I was in the midst of that gnawing feeling that no matter how well intentioned my plans I was doomed to struggle every day to keep my head above water. Not to mention the thought that if there were some sort of emergency I'd be screwed. Living on the edge wears away at you a little at a time like the proverbial drop of water on the stone. In addition to my often uphill battle with money I carry on in an equally challenging war with depression. Its always lurking just around the corner and financial worry feeds that beast very well.
Depression peeked it's head around the corner and began whispering it's usual litany of condemnation.
I am an adult, I should not only be able to support myself but should be able to help my adult children out if they need it too. But where do all these shoulds that Depression is so fond of come from? Who writes your script Mr Blusey Buzzkill?
For one thing they come from a different era. A time when jobs were plentiful and food was affordable. They also come from a culture that puts a somewhat narcissistic value on independence and individuality. John Wayne type stuff. The American way, ghosts of a culture that no longer exists. It's the privileged middle class white culture (a thing of the past for most of us) that says every nuclear family has their own home and every individual has their own bedroom equipped with a tv, game system and whatever else they 'need'. One thing my daughter learned by dating outside of her ethnicity is that many people commonly live with relatives. Nursing homes are a last resort and even daycare for children is provided by live in family. For those who have struggled family has been the glue that held them together, financially and emotionally. This same daughter, lives right across the street from me had an experience similar to mine, well laid plans for security that unexpectedly washed away from right under her feet. As we lamented our 'family curse' over coffee the inevitable and logical conclusion became clear. Her apartment is big enough for another person and if each of us cut our rent in half we could be left with some money after paying the pipers. We spend much of each day together anyway and I am my granddaughter's homework helper. We made the decision that I would move in with her. Or as she reassured me, we would move in together.
I'll admit I went through a couple of days of feeling defeated, feeling I had somehow screwed up my life as the whispers of impending depression continued to swirl around my head like gnats, persistent but useless. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that despite some mistakes I've made in the past, I really have done my best to stay respectfully afloat during the past few years of unemployment. Once that sense of shame faded I was able to see the benefits and joys of being a real part of a family again. All the things like meals together, story time at bedtime, move nights and even the chaos of disagreements are the fabric of family life and I have missed that these past few years. Empty nest is real folks, and for those who can afford to travel or develop exciting hobbies and interests maybe it doesn't feel quite so lonely, but I'm not one of those people right now. Having half the financial burden I've been carrying might allow me to enjoy some of those middle age benefits and I get to have the family part too. Best of both worlds.
So here I go into the next chapter, not a step back but forward and I am able to welcome it with expectation and open arms.
Wish me luck.
© 2010-2013 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard