I've been spending a good bit of time lately feeling frustrated by my financial situation. I'm extremely grateful that I have SSDI and that I am able to pay my bills. I'm not losing my house or car. I just struggle to have enough money to make it all month long. My mom is helping by putting most of my credit card debt on a 0% card and paying a big chunk along with my payments. This means in a little over a year I will be in better financial shape just from ending that. But soon after that I'll have Medicare costs. So it's kind of hard to plan for feeling I have more money. I suspect that feeling won't happen until I have a job of some sort.
I discovered that I'm the only family member who has never gone past our old house. I still don't want to but I did pull it up on google maps and another website that talks about the property. It's very weird because where we had a truly beautiful patio that we not only laid ourselves but we retrieved the bricks, one by awful one, from a place where a brick orphanage had once stood in my town.
When I did that I read more about the economy of that area. As I've said before I great up in very rural Appalachia and the county I grew up in had enormous poverty because the coal mines were shut down when I was 2. I remember more men not having work because of the lay-offs than did work when I was really young. I knew growing up that we were somewhat well off compared to others in the community, but I did not understand that teachers (both of my parents) did not make much. I remember one girl in my class who was so much better off than most of us and it really stood out. We all knew who came from families where clothes did not come from the discount store racks.
In the years since I left, 18 later this month, the economy has changed for the better. The last year I lived there the first fast food restaurants opened. Now there are numerous fast food places, more stores, new schools and I don't know what other changes. (The last time I was there at all was 5 years ago or more). So I knew that things were better there and there are jobs. I was quite surprised to discover that the median income is not tremendously more that I make. And that is based on families, and people have to pay insurance and the like out of that money.
So I realized this is a change and it's really hard. I'd love to say I didn't get used to the lifestyle I had when I was making a lot of money. I remember getting frustrated when I was accepted to therapy school because people kept assuming I was doing this for money; I had no idea what therapists made. Turns out that around here an experienced therapist does well. I had so many medical expenses that I didn't have anything like the kind of money I earned on paper, but if something broke I could replace it. If I wanted to stock up on yarn that wasn't on sale I could. Now I mostly get what is on clearance. My sneakers are very expensive because of my ankle. There are only a few options that provide the support I'm supposed to have and then I have to buy wide-width for the brace to fit. One of my sneakers ripped from the pressure of my orthotic, brace and wobbly ankle. I am wearing shoes I set aside a year ago because they were so uncomfortable. They're not as bad now that I'm not on my feet a lot but they're not my favorite shoes. A year ago this was not an issue. Those are the changes that are hard.
On the other hand when you have to be so careful you rapidly learn to find deals. I'm thrilled because I found Gatorade in a flavor I like at Big Lots for 25% of the usual cost. I'll need Gatorade around surgery so that's a big deal.
But learning that about the town where I grew up I am feeling a lot less sorry for myself. I hope I can remember the perspective as I continue to get used to life now.
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