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Struggling for Perspective

Friday, March 16, 2012

Yes, this is another in my series... struggling to get back on my feet. These last few weeks before my next cross-country move are the worst, but not because of the move.

My unemployment ran out near the end of last year. I struggled through Jan and Feb but got through them because I racked up a lot of hours for my brother-in-law. I have been doing his books and things were way behind. He had a couple of bad years, so the bookkeeper before me had stopped doing much well before she stopped working for him. (Creditors were paying him and he was paying bills, when he could, but little tracking was happening and bank account wasn't reconciled) When I took over early in 2011, little had been done for 2010. Over the past year I've essentially done two years of bookkeeping. Among my proud achievements - we've gotten through several months without overdrawing the bank account! He's up-to-date now, so my income from that has dropped. I've gotten slightly more temp work than before, but only slightly.

For those of you who know that I'm a historian/genealogist, I should explain. I'm one of those lucky people who gets both skill sets. I have a B.S. in accounting and an M.A. in history. It makes life so much easier when I think of running my own research business (which is my objective) and know that I can do my own books, including knowing how to file my own tax return. I like to say that I'm both a right brain and left brain person. (both creative and analytical)

Which brings us to the painful part. I managed, and it wasn't easy, to pay rent for this month. I have one more payment to make on a bill I must pay, and I'm keeping up with the essentials, like utilities. The problem - there's no money to make credit card payments. Yes, I have gotten through more than two years of unemployment and kept the credit card payments up-to-date. I'm on my second student loan deferral, which I expect will have to go right into a third. Considering how bad things have been, I've done really well, until now.

My sisters have both helped me at various times. A couple of months ago I asked my brother for help. He keeps claiming that he has money and is going to give me some, so I figured I'd ask. I asked for $1,000 and he has repeatedly told me that he was sending me $2500. As you can guess from what I've already said, he has sent nothing. This would be where the struggling for perspective comes in.

He doesn't owe me money. He doesn't have to help me. I'm disappointed and upset, but I keep reminding myself of those two facts. I'm hurt that he told me he'd help and hasn't. Its not easy to keep being upset about not being able to pay bills from bleeding over into being upset about him not helping. Mostly, I wish that he wouldn't have said yes and told me over and over again (as recently as a week ago) that he would send money if it wasn't going to happen.

There's another side to being upset about the bills, of course. Its really hard for me to have incurred an obligation and not be able to pay it. However, we're not talking about not being able to keep a roof over my head or buy groceries. I'm not supporting children and I'm not homeless or going to become homeless. Things will get better and I'll catch up. I have to believe that because I am going to make it happen. Its part of the reason I'm moving - so that I have fewer bills for a while and am somewhere where I'm more likely to be able to find work.

There are so many people who are worse off than I am - they don't have as much help as I do, they don't have as many marketable skills as I do, they have more mouths to feed.... I have to remember that. So, there's my perspective - I'm disappointed in my brother for not doing what he said he'd do and upset with myself for not being able to do what I said I'd do (for now, only for now), but I WILL remember how lucky I am and that I'm on the road to fixing this...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Ugh, I know exactly how you feel as the same thing is going on with me, right down to the "I sent" or "will send" money that never comes bit. I hope things get better!
    2016 days ago
  • PAG2809
    Thank you, Grace, Sam, and Jess - Can't tell you how much your support means to me! Jess, I've been working with a wonderful temp agency. While they don't have as much work for me as either of us would like, they are getting me work and they're incredibly nice and supportive. If you'd like an intro to them, let me know!
    2016 days ago
    This world we live in is just crazy. When someone with talents and skills such as yourself have to struggle to make ends meet, its just not right!

    Your positive attitude and realization that this is temporary and you will come through this with all you deserve will help get you through this.

    Big hugs to you. And best of luck!

    2016 days ago
    Bless you for your courage to write about these tough issues. You are not alone! Sorry your brother was a disappointment.

    I know for me I can get stuck focusing on what isn't working. It helps me to focus on what I do have, live in the feeling of "enoughness" ~ one day's shelter, one day's food, one day's medicine and stay open to possibilities.

    Have you heard of Resiliency Circles? That may be a way to get support... and God knows we need it.

    Unemployed for three years myself... unless you count occasional gigs scrubbing toilets and doing yard work. Which I do, but it's a long way from my white-collar professional desk job, that's for sure!

    2016 days ago
    Oh, the accountant in me knows all to well these feelings. I think we are harder on ourselves because we feel we should somehow know better than others.

    But life happens.

    My husband was unemployed for just shy of 2 years. I have the holes in my stomach (and a Buddah belly) to prove it.

    All I can say is that you will get through this.

    2016 days ago
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