Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm feeling very...disheartened.

There is a song in the aforementioned L'il Abner called Progress is the Root of All Evil. I'm going to use my poetic license to change that title to Money is the Root of All Evil. Truly. I know for fact that there are people in the world who have riches beyond counting and are desperately unhappy. I also know some very poor people whose cup runneth over. I, myself, just don't get it...I haven't reached that spot in my life.

I don't want to be rich. Far from it, in fact. I don't want a big house, because that's just more for me to clean. I don't want a nicer car (I really love my van...although I would like an ol' beater truck, but that's more for convenience, and would be in addition to the van). I don't want the newest cell phone that's the size of the 'enter' key on my keyboard and as thin as a playing card. I'm happy with my Samsung SGH-X497. No boats, no vacation home in Tuscany, no private jet.

I am, however, a worry wart by nature. I don't know which parent I inherited that gene from (thankyouverymuch Mom & Dad), but I've definitely got it. They'd probably claim that it skips a generation, and that they're not at fault (probably a valid point). I worry from day to day about making ends meet. I don't remember being poor as a kid, so I guess my parents were pretty good about hiding money troubles. I, on the other hand, am not so good at that task. I make sure that my children know that we can't go to the movies (or McDonalds, or the go cart track) every single night because we don't have the money to spend frivilously like that. I also make sure to teach them that finishing school (meaning high school and college) is detrimental to making anything above minimum wage, and even that's no guarantee.

There are thing we have that we don't need. We don't need cable tv. We don't need our cell phones (although that is becoming more and more a valid arguement these days, for safety reasons). We do need internet, but that's for school purposes only (blogging and surfing are just perks). We don't need two vehicles, but it makes two adults with differing schedules a whole lot easier to bear. If we got rid of these things, making ends meet would be easier. We're probably be a closer family too, I suppose, as we'd be forced by necessity to do more things together. We are not to that point. We are close, but no quite there. All I want is to live without worry...without the worry of making those ends meet...those ends that sometimes seem on opposite sides of the Earth.

I guess I'm writing because it seems so hopeless. It seems an impossible mountain to unrelenting battle not of sword and shield, but dollars and cents. It's demoralizing, watching your coworkers order lunch every day, yet you have to refrain because you have a certain amount of money to last until Friday, and lunch out just ain't in the budget. It's horrifying when your children want holiday decorations on your house, but goodness if the prices don't go up, up, up every year! It's a string of lights and a ghost, for crying out loud!

I know there are lessons to be learned here. And I'm writing more to rant, rave, and vent than any other reason. We've made our beds, and now we're learning to get comfortable in them. Hopefully, someone will read this who is full of dispair, and they'll realize that they're not the only one. Someone else acted foolishly and is now paying the price, trying desperately to dig out of the hole they'd quite easily dug for themselves, all the while keeping the standard of living that they've grown accustomed to.

Rejoice, my friends, for you are not alone.


Elizabeth said...

I wish my waist size would get as small as the belt we routinely tighten for our budget. Wouldn't THAT be a treat.

Patrick Truax said...

We'll make it. I know it seems hopeless at times..

Karen said...

You are not alone, either.

In search of "greener pastures" and a "slower" pace, DH and I quit our jobs, sold our house and moved to good 'ol sunny FLA back in Feb 2004. We were back "home" in the Northeast by June 2005. Gone was what we both had in our 401k's, gone was the small amount of profit we had from the sale of our home - see, we didn't have jobs when we moved there. DUH - can you say BIG MISTAKE? Live and learn is ALL we can say about that at this point. It's over, done.

A phrase we use quite often these days is "we are only one paycheck shy of homelessness."