Look, I rarely talk about work here for lots of reasons. Work is work and I work. I work with people, lots of people. My coworkers are you. Everyday people, crazy people, angry people, happy people, every level of society and heck, I even met Secretary Alphonso Jackson this week. A very nice guy with lots to do over at HUD.
But today I had an epiphany of sorts while at work. It kind of started late yesterday during the deposition of a man who only had a third grade education. He was a wonderful hardworking man who was taken advantage of because he could not read and he was ashamed of it. But even though he could not read he was one of the smartest people I have run across in a long time. He was a wise soul with a tiny voice who had been railroaded by family members. No fancy education, just life.
No cracks about what college he went to -- and yes, I've heard such things about the school I went to. Yes, it's a teacher's college -- thank you very much.
This guy though, had a good job because he was a good worker. He trains janitors and had been/is one himself and has been for a long time. He even bought a house with that third grade education. He works hard at his job and pulled in a good living, not rich at all, he had little debt. He was a do-er by nature but was done in by his wife and her family's greed. He was very sad and bitter at what had been done to him as well as of what he could not do.
When it came to speaking up for himself he was intimidated especially with those he had just met. He had no confidence in himself. He had started taking adult education classes but had to stop due to work and divorce constraints. I was very proud to have met this man and probably will never see him again, that's how this business is, and I am sorry that I was not able to have told him when I had the chance.
So now we come to today. I stepped into the lives of a couple who were highly educated folks who made lots of money and were in debt beyond my belief. I have debt too, school loans are the biggest issue and I know I'm not alone. I actually have limited credit card debt and have been working on freeing them up for emergencies but wow! If you, yourself, not the couple as a whole, but yourself make $90,000 a year and are unable to pay your $1,200 rent don't you think you need to overhaul your lifestyle just a tad? The Equitable Distribution Hearing in this proceeding wasn't about who got the house, because there wasn't one. It was about who was going to pay off the credit card debt owed (more than my teacher's college loan that's for sure).
That janitor yesterday bought a house with his average salary. So my brain started spinning. How much money do I actually spend in a day? A week? A month? And where does it go? If I took a new lower paying job closer to home would I still be ahead due to shifting costs of commuting and various work related costs? I'm certain I would get more exercise that's for sure. I want a retirement. How do I get there?
I've recently stopped with the personal trainer so I can save $$$ a month? I was going into the gym, feeling good but I can't continue to afford the $60/hour and he was cheap! He even got me to go to the gym! I've even cut back on my yarn consumption. My yarn stash is what it is. Small and in two containers. I know what I have. I also have enough roving and wool to make my own yarn so I guess this means I need to get spinning some more. I'm not a shop-a-holic, but I can, when not thinking, get carried away. Not so much, but once in awhile. You know, I get whims. We all do.
For example, my recent wild hair involved buying cotton seeds so I can plant them this year and see what happens. It's about the process of things. I like to know how stuff is made. Seriously.
But that man yesterday and that couple today really got me thinking. Maybe putting some stuff smoldering on the back burner of my brain into perspective. About the direction in which I am heading, lots of unanswered questions for me.
- How old do you have to be to know what you want to be when you grow up?
- Who do you have if you don't have family?
- Who is going to take care of you when you're not able to?
- Who do you confide in when you think you're going to burst?
- How do I become more motivated?
But here are some things I walked away with from my so-not-a Seven Sisters teacher college edu-ma-cation:
- and Why?
If I break the hard shit down into these little questions, maybe it will help me answer the biggies. The only financial advice I ever got from my mom was once when she said, "Don't get a credit card". That was it. Well, that's not the answer to controlling debt either. You need debt to show "The Man" (which by the way last week I met one of the dudes whose company came up with the FICO score, Lord help me, I was polite.)
How does that go? You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Ugh.
Well, I have other crap to tend to. Have you ever found out through a mutual third party that your mother is ill/may be ill and she refuses to talk and sort of moved away in the process?