This entry is an amalgamation of two of three that I’ve been thinking about writing and even one or two that I didn’t want to write. There’s just A LOT going on in my head right now and after writing an initial draft of a blog, I realized how connected all of the topics I’ve been thinking of are. I was going to write just about how tired I am and I have no time for anything. Then I was thinking about how my finances aren’t good. Then I was thinking about how I’m just stressed out about other factors in my life. Then I realized, it’s all connected.
I’m 41 years old. I’ve never moved out on my own. I can’t afford to do it. I can’t even afford to take that chance. I make more than $5 over my state’s minimum per hour wage, I make over $8 less per hour than the minimum needed to live in an apartment in my area. And by live, I mean LIVE. Not just survive. Not eat rice and beans every day. I am well aware of how my living and financial situation very likely hinders my social life. I know how unappealing it makes me in the dating world. I just don’t know what to do about it.
Our time here is very limited. I want to make the best of my time, but I don’t know if I have enough time to do that. I barely have the time to write this entry. My free time on a day to day basis seems to be even more limited now. I feel lots of pressure to get stuff done in that limited time. But, I have so much that I NEED to get done that I sometimes have trouble deciding where my focus should be. It doesn’t help that I probably suffer from some kind of un-diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder. I don’t know where to begin, as this entry may really indicate.
I believe that I’m surviving in an economic system that isn’t designed for me to succeed in. The pressure that adds to me (and so many others) is very intense. I work a full-time office job. It’s 40 hours per week, but due to the distance I have to travel, it takes up 50 hours of my time each week. That’s a lot of time. No, getting a new job closer to my house that pays better isn’t necessarily an option. There’s a reason I have that job. It’s what was available to me. And it’s still a better situation for me than I was in at this time last year when I was working multiple jobs for about the same money with only only one guaranteed day off per week.
I worked in the retail world for 20 years. There isn’t a lot of money there. For the most part, I enjoyed what I did. But, I never made a lot of money doing it. Nobody makes a lot of money in that world without a lot of sacrifice. In order to make a good living there, you need to be a salaried manager. That also means you’ll probably be working 50-60 hours per week and get paid for 40. It means you’ll work holidays. It means you’ll have no time for friends or family. I don’t know if I could do that, even if I was given the chance.
As it stands now, I don’t have much time for socializing and I don’t have much money for it either. But, I still do what I can. I go to concerts. I go to some wrestling shows. I try to entertain myself as much as I can. I need the relief. But, every single thing I do stresses me out. I’m stressed when I lounge. I stress over making leisure time for myself. And when I’m in that leisure time, I’m stressed about how much it’s costing me or how I could be doing something else or how little time I have for any of it.
Part of why I have so little money available to me now is that everything I do is paid for out of my pocket. I have not used a credit card in well over seven years. I got into a lot of trouble with those before and even though I paid off ALL of my credit card debt, in some ways I’m still paying for it. And I fear I always will. I see irony here. I can’t afford to take a chance on debts because credit card debt cost me so much more than just money. It cost me time and I can’t ever get that back.
Would I be less burdened if I had more money? That’s very possible. Maybe I could move out. Maybe I wouldn’t move out and I would just fix up my house. And trust me, it’s in dire need of a lot of work. I’m the only one willing to do anything about it, but I don’t have the money and I certainly don’t have much time to do it. Being in this house is another serious source of my stress. I don’t like what this place has turned into. I don’t like what it represents in my life. I don’t like that I can’t fix it. And the word “can’t” is one I’ve tried not to use in my life. But, this house is a world of “can’t.”
If I had my own place, I would be free of the stress that my house brings me. But, my financial burden would be so much greater. It’s a trade off that I don’t have the option of making. There’s literally nothing I can do about it at the moment and that alone sometimes and unbearable burden on me.
I work so I can afford to get to work. That’s what it seems like to me. I got my car in 2000. It now has over 200,000 miles on it. If it stops working I won’t be able to get to work. If I can’t get to work, I won’t make any money. If I don’t make money, I won’t be able to fix the car or get a new one. But, if I could afford to get a new one now, I probably would. This problem is a source of so much stress for me and so many other people in my generation. I read a book that went into a lot of details about that a while back and have referenced it before, but read “Hand to Mouth” by Linda Tirado and you’ll see how serious it is and how there’s so many people in my situation. And so many of those people feel completely helpless and hopeless.
If I had more money and time, maybe I would go back to school. Maybe I would go for something beyond my associates degree. But, unfortunately, I have neither the money nor the time to even consider it. And I certainly don’t currently have the mental space available to think about adding that burden.
I stated that I’m in an economic system that isn’t designed for me to succeed in, and I believe that with all of my being. I’ve read so much about the subject and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the situation I’m in, and the situation that so many others of my generation is in, is due to the policies enacted in the 1980s that have never truly been reversed and have failed EVERY SINGLE TIME they’ve been in place. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone in the Middle Class in America to thrive until there’s a massive change there. I really don’t want to get very political in this entry, but this needs to be said. We need a NEW New Deal. We need to go back to the system that we had in place after the Great Depression. It allowed the Middle Class not just to survive, but thrive. It allowed business to thrive.
I’m not an economic expert, but I understand the simple rules of “supply and demand.” Many people in power today believe if you create a supply there will be a demand. But it’s not that simple. Many retail chains are failing because we can’t afford their supply. Therefore, there isn’t a demand. If there were less financial burdens on Middle Class people, such as myself, we would have money to freely spend without worrying about we could afford to buy more than just Ramen noodles for lunch. Give us access to more money and we’ll create the demand for the supply that the demand makes necessary. Then the demand for supply would create a demand for jobs. And all of that should allow businesses to have enough money to pay more than they have been. It seems simple enough to me.
Lessen the burdens on people like me and you won’t see me so stressed about my time. You’ll see so many people less stressed about how their compensation doesn’t live up their productivity. You’ll see so many people less worried about whether or not they can provide for their family and kids. You’ll see people not needing to work multiple jobs just to stay financially afloat. You’ll see a much healthier world.
I’ve sometimes given thought to jumping into the world of politics. I have good ideas. They could be useful. I’ve been asked about running for local office. The answer I usually give as to why I won’t do it is that I don’t have the time to do it. That’s true, unfortunately. I don’t have the time to commit to things that could improve my life and possibly others. That last sentence is actually pretty sad.
I’m scared. I’m afraid that nothing will change. I’m afraid that this is how my life is going to be. I’m afraid that all of the effort I put in will make no difference. I’m afraid that I’ll be forced to do NOTHING socially just to have a few more dollars in the bank account. I’m afraid of the stress that would cause me. I’m stressed out about possible future stresses. I’m scared and stressed about how I’ve been programmed to not have confidence in myself and the stress of the situation I’m dealing with amplifies that. I barely have enough time to get a good night’s sleep and all of this stress is preventing me from sleeping well. I scared that this cycle won’t break. My depression is keeping my energy levels down and it makes it more difficult to do any of the things I want to do, and since I know how limited my available time is, it adds to all of the stress.
I want to be able to enjoy myself. I want to be able to travel. I want to go to local historic sites and take pictures. I want to be able to be in a healthy relationship without having to worry about travel and expense. I want to be more available to my friends, which I feel I haven’t been lately. I want to be able to do all of these things without worrying about how much it’s costing me financially or how much time it’s taking away from other things. I just want to stop worrying. I want the choices I make to not weigh so heavily on me. I want less burdens. I want to stop surviving day to day. I want to truly live. But, I don’t know what I can do to make that happen. I don’t know what options are available. I just know that a lot needs to change. But, I don’t even know who or what can make that happen.
I guess the point of this post is that I’m really feeling the pressure right now. There aren’t any new reasons for it. Nothing has changed for me since my last entry, but for some reason, the burdens feel heavier. The weight of them is getting to me and I’m starting to feel the way I described in a recent entry, but it’s more prominent.
I will definitely revisit this entry and its topics later. Because, while my struggles continue, so do I. I have no interest in quitting, regardless of how much stress, anxiety, or other issues it causes me. Of course, that adds to the stress and anxiety, but well…anyway…