Posted by: emjb | January 12, 2006

Managing the Freefall

I’ve been here before.

That strange limbo state where nothing is certain, where there’s very little between you and financial ruin. No job yet, no new place to live. No guarantees, no insurance, no real padding against catastrophe.

You peruse the want ads and panic when you don’t see a job for you–or when you see jobs that pay laughably little and worry that you’ll have to take one of them. You hesitate to go out for lunch…that five dollars might be desperately needed and soon. Better not spend it.

I’ve been here before and it sucks, even though, like all risks, it gets your adrenaline going. It wakes you up, whether you want it to or not. When we came up to New York we were jobless and had only enough money to pay one month’s rent on our little place. I remember going near-fetal with fear before I got on the plane from Texas, terrified that I’d made the worst mistake of my life. Matt had to talk me into being calm enough to go through with it. And on the plane up here, I was still petrified. (I would like to take this amusing quote from that entry, though: I don’t think I would ever willingly live in Texas again. I don’t know how anybody does. D’oh!)

Now, I’m fighting the urge to feel that way again. Fear won’t help me, panic just makes it worse. If I can’t feel exhilarated, exactly, I can at least use the nervous energy to get things done. I’ve got a lot of packing to do, bills to pay this weekend. I have to get my apartment rented to a new tenant. Plenty on my plate. I’ll just have to keep comforting myself with the occasional bag of Skittles and fantasies about what I’d do with my lottery winnings.* No time to go fetal.

1. *Pay off all debt. Mine, Matt’s, and our parents’ (and his grandparents). Set them up with whatever kind of house/cars they want, make sure they are able to get all health care they need and not have to work any more.

2. After finding a suitable location, have architect help us design and build a completely energy-efficient, green-as-possible house. Also buy some hybrid cars! Whee!

3. Stop working. Duh. Matt can do his music. I would write. We’d both spend time with Nathan, and travel a lot.

4. Part-time nanny for Nathan. Also oodles of cute clothes, toys, etc. And a college fund.

5. Invest, give to charities, and support sane, healthy, and compassionate political candidates and causes.

6. Personal trainer to whip us into shape.

7. Various fun things that we have never been able to afford; expensive dinners, nice furniture, all the books and CDs we want, Mac computers, the works.

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