Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Birthday Blues

Just hit the big 3-7, and boy, let me tell ya-- it just doesn't seem right that I'm already this old. I certainly don't *feel* old, so how can I actually be this close to middle-aged? Some days, it feels like I'm the same person I was back in high school. Other days, when my hip is creaking or my knees are popping or my shoulder starts to hurt, I wonder if I'm closer to 70 than 40. I know that part of it is that I feel a mounting sense of frustration that we are stuck in this rut of joblessness and constantly being on the edge of being homeless because of our ever-dwindling incomes. It's funny what having very little cash flow does to your lifestyle. It's funny because we are actually surviving on less than half of what we had coming in before, but it really changes your definition of "survival" and your wants versus needs list. For instance: I *want* a new pair of underwear for the first time in over a year, but I *need* to buy baby food. I *want* to fix the car heater/AC, but I *need* to pay rent. And so on, and so forth. You just start doing without so many things that it becomes second nature.

And this is not because I'm frugal-- which I am-- but because we have no other choice. Frugality doesn't mean that you neglect your car maintenance in order to save a few bucks, because you know that it'll end up costing you more down the line. Frugality doesn't mean that you wait until the day you run out of baby formula to buy more because you're too broke to stock up, because really planning ahead can save you a lot more money (by doing things like buying in bulk on eBay). I think that even if we were someday independently wealthy, I would still be frugal-- I just wouldn't have to be cheap anymore.

My birthday wish is that soon we won't have to live paycheck to paycheck-- or in this case, unemployment check to unemployment check. Cross your fingers for me.

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