You Can’t Be Serious

Last week a friend confessed that he’s jealous of me right now. Seriously?

Sure, I don’t have to get up in the mornings on a schedule. I don’t have to be anywhere in particular at any certain time. I don’t have to deal with people in the workplace. I don’t have to get dressed. I don’t have to get up in the mornings at all.

Many mornings when I wake up, I do have to choke back the fear that rises from my stomach. I have to consciously push away the panic. It takes effort to stay calm and rational to try to do something constructive about a situation that could end up in financial disaster.

I worry with the knowledge that the longer I’m without work, the less employable I become in the eyes of those with hiring authority. I’m concerned that my colleagues will think I’m a slacker. I fear that I could lose touch with the profession in general. I struggle to be creative, but truthful in keeping my resume current-looking.

I don’t spend money. I buy groceries only with coupons. I pay bills. I put gas in my car. But I don’t go anywhere. The less I drive, the further the gas tank will get me when it has to.

Today I learned that my current hottest job prospect fell through. Yes, I can see how one would envy the opportunity to deal with rejection on a regular basis.

I second guess my job search decisions. Maybe I should have… Why didn’t I?… If only… This is all my fault.

Typically, during times of unemployment, I lose weight from the emotional stress, if not the scaled down grocery bill. I’m not sure whether it’s a good sign this time that I haven’t begun to lose the extra pounds gained during better times.

I check my bank balance several times throughout the day. Sometimes I need to cover bills I’ve sent for payment, only right before they hit my account. I don’t want to withdraw from savings to cover them until the last minute. I have to be vigilant as I watch my savings go backward. I need to witness the loss of every penny.

Though I’ve always lived within my means, that’s an impossible challenge now. Yet some months, I miraculously break even on unemployment (when I get it) and rental income, which totals less than a third of my previous income. I am a long-time witness to the multiplier effect of loaves and fishes.

During the 2008 break in employment, my toaster oven died. To date I have not replaced it. My security system lost critical functionality last summer. Recently it died altogether. And last week the police left a notice on my door about recent crime in the neighborhood. They’ve never done that before.

The master bath toilet stopped up during the February freeze. How can I justify calling a plumber, when I have a second bathroom? My car has been leaking brake fluid. I’m afraid to even get it checked to see why or where. Last Monday, my kitchen garbage disposal croaked. Actually, it became terminally silent.

The list ranges from petty annoyance to valid safety concerns, but none of these repairs will see any money. To me, they all represent dollars I’m not willing to spend. Sure, I could get all of these issues resolved with the money I have. But rather than help it run dry, I prefer not to spend that money until the well begins to replenish itself. I consider it wise self-punishment to endure these inconveniences in my otherwise carefree existence.

But worthy of jealousy?

Oh yeah, Saturday my old PC gave up the ghost, at least I think that’s what that noise meant. The good news there is that I also think I had already retrieved all the information on it that I needed as material for this book. You know, the one that I have so much time and luxury to work on right now, because I don’t have anywhere else to be.

Sorry to ruin your day with so many reasons to be jealous.

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