or, alternately titled: perspective.
first, to everyone who thinks of me, prays for me, and wishes me well – thank you. i appreciate all of it, i can feel your support, and i do NOT know where i would be without you.
now. i have learned a lesson in the thirtieth (wait…thirty-first? i hate math.) year of my life, 2008, New York.
i have learned that the present is fleeting and any “conditions” or “demands” that are placed on any given moment, hour, or day may be either honored or scoffed at… depending.
on what, i do not know.
the rules are subject to change, the rug may indeed be yanked out from under you with light, moderate, or even excessive force.
these are not all negative things, even though the connotation is so clearly there.
change is good.
about a month ago, i remember sitting down to examine my financial situation. the results were grim and terrifying. i am having a ridiculously hard time finding a job. although, considering the economic state of the area, i’m probably just fortunate that i even got some interviews. jobs do not come easily here in the finger lakes region of new york. this is, of course, what my parents told me while i was deciding to move back to new york from nashville. i knew it myself. when i lived here before, i worked in a factory to support myself. and 9.35 or something an hour was actually a pretty good wage at the time.
i’m talking about all of this because, for the first time in a long time, i was seriously, dangerously, struggling with money. no matter what i did, i could not get my footing financially. some seven-year-old collections account would pop up, or i would overdraw my bank account by accident (that’s at least a $90 error every time), or i would forget a payment for some reason. i have been a lot more scatter-brained since i moved back to new york – i think i forgot to allow myself room to actually adapt to this move, and my emotions have been working overtime to keep me in balance while i have been running around acting like nothing is different at all. why, a mere 9 months ago i was making double what i make today. i was going to an average of three concerts a week, buying new purses and popsicles, and i went to starbucks on a fairly regular basis. i would guess that 75% of my dining was “out.”
i have to confess that i have not been the most gracious, patient, and kind poor person. i have been irritable and impatient and angry. a month ago, when i examined my finances, i literally said, “there is no hope for me to get out of this situation.” how could i know that i was about to start just attracting money?
it started small – $50 for dogsitting, $60 from my friend, and, gradually, over the last month, that small amount has increased to a two month’s pay – a SAVINGS ACCOUNT. i am still working at my job with the terrible pay, but now i have a little bit of breathing room. i don’t have to panic at the thought of taking my car to the garage. and i am NOT, and have not been for a few months now, using credit cards. CREDIT CARDS ARE THE DEVIL. THE DEVIL. i’m telling you… if you’re even thinking about buying a bunch of crap you can’t afford because “it’s like having extra money,” THINK AGAIN. YOU HAVE BEEN DECEIVED. money is money, and that’s the bottom line. credit is not money. it’s the hope of money you might have, one day, given to you in advance by (basically) a loan shark. if you would never go to a loan shark, don’t use a freakin’ credit card! buy what you can afford to buy with the money that you make from your job. if you want more stuff, get another job or spend less on other areas of your budget. oh yeah, and MAKE A BUDGET. and stick to it. you will NEVER get out of a hole unless you are willing to drastically change your ways and realign your priorities.
just a couple of tips i have picked up (and by picked up, i mean that i have had those lessons beaten into me with each wave crashing my head against the rocks while i tried not to drown)
anyway, the point of this post was supposed to be that sometimes the current situation looks so huge in my eyes that i can’t see the larger reality. a month ago, the reality was that in a month i would be paid to current on every account, with a little room to spare. but to me, the current situation was one of NO HOPE. hope is so tricky. what is the difference between hope and being overly optimistic? sometimes i feel like an idiot because my catchphrase has become, “everything is going to be OK.” but that’s the only thing i know for sure. i don’t know how healthy it is to get into specifics, like in certain areas. i want to leave it open to interpretation. sometimes, one area doesn’t improve for years, decades even. but what if everything can be OK even when things are like that? i believe that they are. things will always be OK, somehow. if i can live through something, i don’t consider things to be that bad. i could be in a much worse condition that i am at the moment. i could have to dodge bullets or bombs every day, i could be enslaved or abused, i could be without a home. but i am here – alive – and i breathe and laugh and cry and walk into walls and love and listen to music and take pictures and eat with friends and family. i have people in this world. i have someone. i can never say “i am alone” because i would get so many insulted phone calls and emails. i say things like, “do you think it’s safe to leave the ax right outside the door?”(by the way, no.) and “how many chickens died last night?” (by the way, none.) and “cash or payments? full-flavor or lights? kings or hundreds? you have a winner for me? good luck! would you like it ground? i’m sorry, we already pulled last month’s issue of metal edge. fi’ dollah. have a good one.”
i like the larger reality – the bigger path, or “my lifetime.” it puts things into perspective, and makes me realize that the current situation is actually pretty good.