HINDSIGHT IS TWENTY-TWENTY
Time line from diary: "July 17, 1992, filed bankruptcy" "August 26--car appraisal delayed until tomorrow" August 27--car appraisal--met with trustee" "September 4--Bob took me to bankruptcy hearing--I think it is all over though there were questions regarding cash advances, last purchase, etc." "November 16--got bankruptcy letter--one page saying it was all over and that all my debts were discharged"
I came from a generation that didn't believe in divorce or not paying all your bills and, yet, both were done quietly. It took a lot of thought about going to court and driving to the lawyer I had many second and third thoughts but I couldn't see anyway else out without being straddled with debt for the rest of my life. After meeting with the lawyer I felt a great weight off my shoulders as I knew it was the way for me to go. There was no one to blame except myself but the human mind can rationalize and I did that to feel better. The lawyer pointed out that I had paid so much money in interest to the 8 credit card companies that they more than made their money back off of me. I did have the car interior and exterior completely redone--costing me $2500 which I charged on cards in June of '92 plus bought "The Club" and new floor mats. I, also, have a note in the diary: "Went on last credit card binge buying food at extras, more fish for the aquarium--thought of and am declaring bankruptcy-- smart move? I don't know. Will I be able to keep the car? I don't know!"
It wasn't until after the bankruptcy was official that I learned so many things I could have done before hand that would have helped me recover a lot faster! My lawyer told me he couldn't legally tell me those things before though, and he didn't know this, I took a cash advance on one of the cards in order to pay his legal fee! I needn't have worried about the car because in Florida they won't take your home away and, in most cases, you could keep your car. I did learn that I only had to file against some, not all, of my credit cards and out of 8 I still had 2. I started joking that if anyone was going to declare bankruptcy they should talk to me first as I had learned a lot after the fact that could help them. I wasn't proud of the filing for relief but I did feel better after I got that letter.
Before, during and after the bankruptcy I continued to live the life I lived previously; going out to dinners, seeing play, musicals and concerts, spending money as if I had it. It would take a few more years, and a little more humiliation, before I finally learned that I could only spend what I had, not what I might get or what I could charge--that would be in the future and a lot would change.
In just the first 3 years of the 1990s I was jumping from job to job and looking at the figures now it seems I was out of work 6 months in 1990 and 3 months in 1991 but I did write at the end of 1992 that "I am healthy, at a good weight and out of debt!" The latter would definitely change by the end of the 1990s!