Saying goodbye to you, 2012, will be simple and painless. Hasa Diga 2012!
In 2012 I spent the greater part of the year unemployed. The first time in my life since age 15 1/2.
If anyone thinks there are masses of unemployed folks enjoying the time off, unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives, well, they are morons who have never been down on their luck.
I don’t believe anyone feels good about themselves in this condition. Even those who have given up hope and stopped looking for work are not necessarily expecting the government or anyone else to rescue them. I don’t. But the small assistance that I’ve gotten has sure been helpful. It’s just that living this way impacts EVERY other part of one’s life. It’s not just financial. It causes spiritual, social and physical poverty as well.
In 2012 I’ve borrowed from family, run up credit cards, spent savings, paid the bare minimum on other bills and obligations, and destroyed my credit rating. The next terror arrives when I start earning again. I’ll hit this big balloon of payments as each creditor expects to be the first to be paid back. I’ll go from borrowing from Peter to pay Paul to deciding whether Peter or Paul will be more patient, or which one will charge me less interest in the meantime, or which one will help me recover my credit the quickest.
In 2012 I moved to a state I previously had no desire to live. Zero. Arizona. I’m here for the kids. Period. And that fact alone has made it a positive experience so far. But, it ended up making financial sense as well.
In 2012, did I mention that I’ve lived pretty much destitute?… In everyday life that means one becomes afraid of social interaction, travel, sickness, failure.
Attend a social event? Can’t afford the gas to get there.
Someone invited me over for dinner on the holidays? Can’t afford the glass of wine or even the small gift that one usually brings the host.
Want to initiate a no-cost, cheap get-together or movie night at one’s own apartment? One doesn’t feel very attractive when embarrassed to invite friends back to the cramped, temporary low-income housing.
Once unemployed, one of the first things to go is insurance. The kids and I have no health insurance. Someone sneezes and I panic. Of course, I’m suddenly finding spots all over my skin that a doctor should check out. I hadn’t gone to a doctor in years otherwise, but I’ve always had insurance so that peace of mind alone relieves stress and impacts health.
In 2012 stress hit all time highs and peace of mind hit all time lows.
Even so, I have enormous gratitude for the surprises and bright spots of 2012:
- Not one to sulk, I’m learning to call this new place home and benefit from its possibilities…even liking it.
- My ex-wife seems to have mellowed by leaps and bounds. She called me the other day out of the blue just to discuss one of our daughters. She volunteered to give me a break on child support in December. She hasn’t harassed me on the minimal payments I’ve made otherwise. She encouraged and facilitated my move closer to her and readily adjusted our custody agreement to reflect the kids spending more time with me.
- I see my kids 2-3 times a week, sometimes more.
- A certain family member whom I have been relatively estranged from over several years stepped up to the plate and offered me some financial assistance for my move and career change. This was followed up with an invitation to dine with her family on Christmas Eve.
- My retired father, who doesn’t have much for himself generously sent me enough money to cover a modest Christmas for the kids this year.
- My children have been angels through this whole financial crisis. I am literally the most fortunate father on the planet. As much as I’ve tried to shield them from the effects of the problem, they haven’t complained EVER at not being able to eat out, go to a movie, play extra-curricular sports, go on a family trip or buy just about anything we don’t need. They’ve slept cramped in a room on mattresses on the floor and have somehow appreciated the adventure of it all.
- Friends, true friends, have offered encouragement, hope, job leads, compliments, and references. They’ve voluntarily paid for my dinner, drinks or gas at times when my doing so would have hurt.
- I saw The Book of Mormon Musical again thanks to friends (see above)!
- My car hasn’t failed me or run up expenses I couldn’t handle.
- My current landlord took a chance and rented to me based solely on my unemployment income.
- Instead of waiting for the job that didn’t seem to be appearing anywhere, after moving, I fiercely worked to get my Real Estate license in the currently hottest recovering housing market, Phoenix AZ. Six weeks after starting the school and ten days after passing the test I opened my first escrow as a Real Estate Agent! I’m on course to get paid when that closes in 2 weeks! I even have pipeline to continue the momentum with 2-3 offers in the works!! I see a light brothers and sisters!!!
Hasa diga 2012. Hasa diga my former employer. Hasa diga unemployment.