June 29, 2014

Feeding the Multitudes

I'm surprised I've made it this far after having been unceremoniously and abruptly laid off from my last job, unable to file for unemployment until July.

I was sure I was done for.

I've been waiting to perish.

But I've made it this far, despite all my multitudes of expenses and debts, through odd jobs and old sales commissions and selling some writing and photos.

I don't know how much longer I can last, though. I need a pedicure and a haircut. I need a new mattress. I need a romantic evening out. I need a reason to leave my apartment.

Sure, I've stayed busy, with these odd jobs and career counseling and doctors appointments and therapy, but it feels like busy work. It would really help me to know how much longer this is going to last. It's always easier to finish a hike if you know how far you've gotten, and how much farther you have to go.

What's the point of sustaining and surviving, if the trail goes on infinitely?

After all, my resources are limited. I'm out of savings. I'm almost out of 401k. My career, as they say, is "in transition." I can't rely on a spouse to support me. I can't move back in with my parents. Time is running out.

But for the last three months or so, by some miracle, I've survived. It's been like the fishes and loaves in terms of being able to pay my bills and have a few bucks for a beer or a glass of wine every now and then. Maybe the coins are multiplying in my change purse by some grace of God. Maybe somebody is slipping me a $20 while I sleep, the way I used to do for Phil when I had money. Or maybe life just doesn't have to be so expensive, if you're really selective, and invest in only those things you really really want to do, eat, and drink.

I know I'm a bit of a complainer and am rarely grateful enough for my life. When my back hurts, I don't appreciate the fact that I have feeling below the neck. When my ankle is jacked (like it is now), I don't praise having feet. I don't relish in chocolate and frosting and sprinkles because I am tortured every day by gaining weight, despite not eating all the things I desperately want to (over)eat.

But I would not be getting through this credit crunch without the help of some friends, organizations, and the government. I've been taken to dinner. I've had bills deferred. I've had my rent paid for. My groceries are covered for weeks at a time. My prescriptions are free now. And although I'm karmically indebted, I don't have to pay any of these back (though it would be wise to pay them forward, when I can).

I don't know when these kindnesses will cease, so for now, I cherish them as they come, if only to ease the pain of my worsening situation – a bit of morphine in my IV. They don't keep me comfortable, per se, but they stave off the abject panic, like those few extra miles you get, even when the gas gauge says you've got zero left in the tank.

And even if you do completely run out, maybe you're close enough to the gas station to roll over to the pump in Neutral...

Related Posts:
Facing the Unknown
Delaying the Inevitable
How Much Farther Does This Go?
Life Amongst the Humble
The Kindness of Strangers
Running on Empty

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