Tag Archives: Money

Pay Day’s Eve

My life is worth about $2000, give or take $500.

Oh, I don’t mean cash on the barrelhead or anything conveniently and immediately profitable like that. I mean it as an existential crisis made concrete.

New Years Eve is coming with all its usual oohs and ahhs of being captivated by a dropping ball and a single digit changing. That’s the correct time to make resolutions like join a gym, exercise, or  eat more kale. The right time for the time-honored tradition of once-a-year self-reflection and thoughts of how to improve yourself so that 2018 finishes in a better fashion.

But my own ball drops tomorrow, December 29, as the last pay day of the year posts. Drops and bounces away into 2018, leaving me with an IOU for 2019.

For outside a Capra moment, there will be about a $2500 shortfall that my 120-hour, two weeks pay won’t meet. The math just isn’t there. So I will pay what I can, trying to triage my cut arteries the best I can, hoping to stave off eviction, repossession, and all the other  unpleasantries associated with not making ends meet.

Which ironically includes, of course, having extra fees and interest added on, since the penalty for not being able to pay enough on one’s debt is being required to pay even more. Breaking the cycle of poverty requires making enough to not only stay solvent through immediate debt, but enough to break the hands of  those who want to keep you there.

So how do I do that?

That’s the metaphysical question that ways most heavily on me, far overshadowing fear of death,  middle-aged  blues, and trying to write the Great American Novel.

I’ve never been good at making money hand-over-fist.

What I’ve been good at is showing up on time and working hard. At working holidays like Thanksgiving,  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. At giving a damn and adding as many hours as I can, while sleeping as little as possible.

But that’s not working smarter, is it? It’s just turnip-squeezing.

2015

How do you make the old year new?

You can’t really. That’s what makes New Year’s Day and all the sanguine emphases on fresh starts, resolutions, and clean slates a bunch of malarkey.

Debt, sickness, and other concerns that were serious issues at the end of the old year will likely — barring some Lifetime Movie Miracle — still remain issues in the beginning of the New Year; the unbroken flight of the temporal arrow shooting through our arbitrary divisions with indifference.

I made a pledge when we moved out here to “get involved” and I have pushed myself harder than I ever have before.

2014 did have some good points, the kind of points of which my husband tells me I should be proud: my writing has gotten more exposure; I’ve been involved with numerous non-profits, boards, and committees; and I’m now an assistant editor for a literary journal.

All of the above, though, are non-paying.

My current full-time paying work doesn’t pay enough – not even close – and is physically, emotionally, and psychologically draining. I’ve had worse adherence to my medication regimen than I’ve had in years, I’ve unintentionally lost about 30lbs so far, and my finance-related stress is at an all-time high.

Yeah, sure, money isn’t everything and lack of it shouldn’t diminish the value of other things, the things that truly matter. And it doesn’t. But it certainly overshadows them, eclipsing the joy they bring as I stare into a new year that is simply the old year continued.

So how do you start a New Year when you are still wounded and bleeding from the previous year without a tourniquet in sight?

One-half of that start I reckon is waking up. Not everyone does. Not everyone did.

Another half is staying up. Not everyone does that either.

Although “the thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night,” it is day now. I’m both awake and plan to stay up.

So I regroup, write this post, and try to think of ways I can push myself even harder in 2015.

I check my e-mail and see a creative prompt from Poets and Writers: the first one of the year in their weekly writing exercises series The Time is Now.

It always is, isn’t it?

Until it’s not.