Reflections And Starting Over


My birthday is coming up again in a few weeks – 3 to be exact… Number 61 to be exact … the numbers scare me sometimes … but on the other hand, I have difficulty in visualizing what 61 is suppose to look like.  We are who we are …. age is just a number.
 
And I have no freeking idea where the hell the last year went.
 
                                                    
I did realize just recently that over the last 3 1/2 months, I have had my toes in the Atlantic (Fire Island in July) and the Pacific (Monterrey in August and Maui in September) .. and again at Pismo Beach this week.  What peace this brings to me in a time of uncertainty and new beginnings.
 
                                                          
 
 
Upon returning from spending necessary and amazing time in Brooklyn this summer with my son and daughter in law,  I moved in with J, my heart friend of over three years now.  We tried it before for a year and realized we both had some issues to work on.  We have been talking about marriage recently but ….  the truth is that I have challenging financial issues to resolve before I can comfortably do that.  After two years of playing ostrich (you know, the head in the sand routine), I decided to file bankruptcy for some unsecured debt that I know will not go away given my current circumstances.
 
After a lifetime of working (since I graduated from high school in 1968), always being financially responsible despite supporting two husbands in my past life, I found myself about three years ago single, helping support an adult child (single mom of 2, limited income, laid off from a union job in a seniority push) and struggling to make ends meet.  Like many, many others (not right or ok, but real …) I incurred credit card debt.  Through a new job and substantially increased income at the time, I was able to start cleaning up my situation by making double payments.  I was so pleased at where my credit score was headed! 
 
But, alas, sudden and unexpected unemployment, credit card companies doubling minimum payments, interest rates escalating …. and I found myself surviving month to month again and, honestly, a roof over our head and food on the table takes priority.
 
A new job at substantially less kept the roof over heads and food on the table – but there was still no discretionary income to tackle the debt.  In 2010 I looked into bankruptcy only to learn that I earned $2k too much a year to file Chapter 7, and Chapter 13 would cost me about $5k …. I found that slightly ironic.  Where was I to get $5k to file? And last November I found myself again on unemployment (after 35+ years in senior management in my industry, the psychological effects of this is another whole blog …).
 
                                                            
In many ways, as an unemployed boomer, I know I am not alone in this struggle.  It saves me giving entirely up.  I now qualify for Chapter 7 – and, embarrassed and humiliated to find myself in this situation anyway, I finally filed this week.    My attorney reassured me that my circumstances are the very reason that the laws were written.  I need the clean start … I need to rebuild my credit … I need to begin again … even at 60+ years old and a lifetime of “doing right”.   My biggest fault?  Taking care of my family … being the primary breadwinner for 20 years and everything going to the day-to-day rather than to 401K’s or IRA’s. 
 
Is that wrong? Or is that real? 
 
I know you are out there … dealing with the same issues … how do you cope?   How do you not give up? 
 
I cope by knowing once my “mistakes” are discharged (and if I ever do become truly financially successful my creditors are on my “karma list” to repay …) I will marry the man I love with no encumbrances. 
 
I just never thought I’d be in this position …. by this time we were suppose to be enjoying the white picket fence and the ability to enjoy all that stuff we put aside while we were working our asses off and supporting our families. 
 
But here I am … and the bottom line is that I am healthy, DO have a roof over my head and food on the table, AM able to help my daughter recover emotionally and financially from a 2-year marriage to someone who turned out to be a physical, emotional and verbal abuser.  Yes, it would be nice if she were independent – but she, too, has her challenges – chronic and sometimes debilitating health issues (including epilepsy and fibromyalgia as well as an auto-immune blood condition), a special-needs child (though he is hopefully starting to mainstream this year in 6th grade), and has just been laid off from her job as well. 
 
Life isn’t always fair, but it is life … and I have love, and family … and friends … all the simple and basic things in life that REALLY count. 
 
Namaste … I honor you …
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2 thoughts on “Reflections And Starting Over

  1. mamadestroy

    I am not a Baby Boomer but I know what it is to struggle, and I wish you strength and energy in the months to come. I find that writing is the best therapy, helps you through the worst of times (but it appears that you already know that). Never stop writing, never stop laughing. And best of luck to you.

    Like

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