Monday, February 07, 2011

I Hear You, and Thank You

When I began blogging, it was to create an online journal mostly for myself. I wanted an accurate snapshot of how I was feeling on any given day, something I could look back on later. I really never expected to have readers, or to draw so much support from those of you who comment.

This past week I posted about two rather consuming situations -- my finances and an odious ex. And I received so many positive wishes and helpful suggestions from cyberbuddies! I just wanted to acknowledge you all:

Silver Neurotic


I usually don't believe in guilt because it's such a damn waste. But right now I'm suffering from it in spades.

My finances are getting away from me, faster by the minute, and I must take steps to stem the bleeding.

I haven't gotten a raise in years, and am only now beginning to breathe more easily about my job security. Advertising is that tenuous a pursuit right now. Sure, I have a nice emergency fund. But you know what will happen if I touch that, don't you? Yes, I'll be laid off.

Meanwhile my insurance premiums and deductibles have risen. So have my taxes and my assessments. Even the snow removal service at my mom's has gone up this year.

Being undisciplined (shall we talk about my housecleaning and weight?), I have continued spending as though my paychecks have risen steadily.

I have to do something. I can't refinance my place because there have been three foreclosures in this 24-unit building. I don't even want to think about what's gone on up and down the street. At any rate, I'm reasonably sure my condo -- my biggest investment -- has never been worth less than it is at this moment. I'm confident that the market will rebound, but not in time to help me through this rough patch.

My mother recently revealed that she has no life insurance and has pretty much depleted the equity of her reverse mortgage. I could sit here and be angry about the fine mess my dad left me, but what the hell. It is what it is. She needs my help now more than ever, and will continue to do so. While I can't pay for my niece's college tuition, I'd like to be able to help her with spending money when she goes off to school.

There are some big expenditures I'm already committed to -- another six months of theater tickets with Barb, a vacation this spring ... But beyond that, I simply begin instituting austerity.

Which is why, when I returned my annual pledge form for the church, I reduced it for 2011 by $75. That's just $6.25/month. And, of all the charities I contribute to regularly, I believe my congregation can most easily spare $6.25.

I'm ashamed that my own bad planning has gotten me to a place where such steps are necessary. And I especially hate it that I worry about my reputation this way. I mean, it's CHURCH. God loves me and understands. I just wish I could reduce my giving to a charity where everyone in the office doesn't know me.

But that's childish and silly. I looked over the financials included with the pledge form and my congregation can withstand this.

But right now I feel selfish and undisciplined and embarrassed. And very, very guilty.