I'll warn you right now before you read any further. I'm having a pity party and you're invited, but only if you bring a gift.
Like a tube of silver lining. Or perhaps a small jar of optimism. Or maybe a side of bright to look upon. Whatever ya got - I'll take it.
Why it gets to me only sometimes is a mystery to me. Hormones? Maybe. I hate playing that "hormonal chick" card but there's probably something to it. I think (I KNOW) I am inherently a pessimist, so for me to buck up and take life on like a champ is bound to be only a tentative game plan. I give my best attempt at being that big strong oak, but sometimes a gust of wind hits me at just the right angle and my branches break.
Sometimes (freakin' all the time, now), life is effing expensive. At 45 years old, I somehow still feel like I am a college student, piecing together enough change to put gas in my car to last me until payday and praying the check I just put in the mail doesn't clear just quite yet. My bad for picking a career path as a writer; it will never be a lucrative one, though it still blows me away that there are non-college degreed people out there who are making four times what I'm making after I slothed through four years of it because I was convinced that was the ONLY way I would EVER make any money. HA!!!!
I'm still paying off my "wedding that didn't quite take" from a year ago that I thought I could afford to front at the time, while trying to be disciplined enough to put a chunk into savings every pay period to cover my non-escrowed property taxes, not to mention dealing with a teenage bottomless pit of a twig who grew so much in the past year that I now have to special-order his pants. To top it off, even though I downsized my house a year ago, my utilities are somehow MORE than they were before, in addition to the the astronomical prices of cable (thank you shitty cable representative who hiked my rate up after promising me a two-year special) and a cell phone (screw smart phones), to which if I weren't under contract I'd throw both right out the window.
Gas is expensive. Groceries have gone through the roof. Every time I turn around there's another expense I didn't plan for - school pictures was today's blindside, as I still try to recover from the myriad of school supplies from just a few weeks ago. And Christmas is less that four months away. Shoot me now, will ya?
I remember sitting in my OB's office shortly after the birth of my second child, feeling overwhelmed and sleep deprived and very post-partum (gee, very similar to how I feel now...). I asked him "HOW DO I DO THIS?" and his response has stuck with me to this very day. He said simply, "You do it one day at a time."
I thought of that again when I was lamenting to my good friend and the cheapest therapist money can buy. I said, "I just can't help but think, 'Where will I be five years from now? I will never be rich. I will never retire. I will never travel the world.'" Her response was, "Hey, me neither. What I want five years from now is to still have my house, still have my job, and have my healthy kids be on their way to starting their own lives."
Doesn't seem like a lofty goal - in fact, it could be considered quite meager as far as goals go. But I've been told by a few influential people that my expectations overall are "too high". I still can't come to grips with the fact that they are. I don't want to be rich, but I'm tired of living paycheck to paycheck. Though I think that my kids will hopefully learn some budgeting tactics of their own through my example, it sucks when your kid comes home from school and says, "My class is going to Space Camp in Alabama in April and it's $600, but I don't want to go because I know you can't afford it." Did I say shoot me now? Shoot me again, please. (And who the HELL takes a 5th grade to Space Camp in Alabama for $600?????)
So that's my tale of woe, and I tell it because I know there are those of you out there who take the same hits as I do - either on the single parent side, the financial side, or both. And again, don't think that I don't thank God for giving me two healthy kids and a roof over our heads. It's just that sometimes I wish he could make it a little teeny tiny bit easier.
So there you have it. Party's over. But if I have another one, you'll be invited. Just bring a box of coping mechanisms and maybe a bottle of wine. That might just see us through until the next bash.