An optimistic, an idiot, or one of those people?

Over the years, I have often wondered about people who have gotten in over their heads. The ones who just before payday have about $25 in their checking accounts. The ones who have no savings to speak of. The ones who carry balances on their credit cards.

Although I know most every situation is different, I have to think that some of those aforementioned people think it will all work out somehow (e.g., they will win the lottery or get a 40 percent pay raise). I also think some people are living for the moment and not really sure if they will be around tomorrow, next month, or next year, so they figure why bother planning for the far future.

Even though I have been critical of those kinds of people over the years, I'm afraid my current situation and how I am dealing with it puts me in the same neighborhood (well, at least the same town or county) as those people. When this past weekend my little brother said I had turned into a democrat, it was like a slap in the face to me. Nothing against democrats, mind you. I was one for about 12 years (at least in name. I was probably a "true" liberal for only about a half dozen years). But aren't I a little bit of a hypocrite because I collect unemployment?

Sure, I and my former employer paid into it for 13 years, and I would probably have to be on it for years to "recover" that money. And Lord knows I was content in my job, was a hard worker, and had no plans to leave any time soon, so don't I deserve it? And I have applied for a number of jobs with nary an interview, so aren't I in a bad way?

I don't have the attitude that I want to get as much out of the government (which is really the taxpayers) as I can for as long as I can. It is more fear that has kept me in my current situation. Fear of becoming those people drowning in debt (it could happen sometime next year, I know). Fear of having to take a job that I hate and being miserable. A job that I have to drive an hour to. A job that keeps me from the center of my world.

I have, in a way, become those very people I criticize. I think that somehow it is all going to work out. That Jordan's school is going to offer me a full-time job. Or that I will find steady freelance work that allows me to be with my kid in the evenings. Or that Brian will get a huge raise so I can continue to sub at Jordan's school a few days a week without needing additional help.

Or maybe we will win the lottery. Yep, I guess I kind of am an idiot. But until Christmas, can we just call me an optimist?


chris h. said…
I am kind of in the same boat (without unemployment, though) because my work has slowed so much this year. For me, it's about trying to balance having less money with having a better quality of life (like the not working a job you hate, commuting an hour each way, etc. you mention). Should I be working my butt off to save for retirement? Probably, but these days I am more into living a life a like, trying to be responsible with money, AND hoping we'll still be OK in the future. (I keep telling myself that no one ever looked back at the end of their life and thought, "Gee, I wish I'd worked more.")
Facie :-) said…
A guy in my choir said it is cyclical, that just because we are not saving money now, does not mean we won't be again in the future (just as we have gone through similar situations before). So I guess if we can look at it like that...

But that is part of my problem, that I know I will never think back and say I wish I had worked more, so that is how I justify what I am doing now.

On a positive note, I did have a phone interview yesterday that I think went well. On the downside, however, it is related to special ed, something I don't have a degree in; it is a sub position; and the pay is not good.
Sherri said…
I can completely relate to your current "worries" / challenges. Also - agree with the guy in your choir - the cyclical thing. Our situation has gone from great to dicey to "much improved". No regrets regarding having to work a bit while my oldest was small - and no regrets now sacrificing a bit to deal with multiple little ones at home (not economical to work if childcare expenses would be through the roof). Like another "commentor" on your post :-), some of our income is consulting and can, therefore, slow quite a bit. We try to "live better" too - maintain that focus - keep it in perspective. It gets trying, though, doesn't it? Especially with Christmas approaching.... You sound quite focused, though - optimistic ;-).

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