Blasted……..

So, I’ve had a lot of things happen over the past several months. Oddly, most of the ‘bad’ things really haven’t happened to me (in my personal life)…..it’s just stuff in my professional life etc. Last week, I testified in a divorce proceeding (that was also a custody situation as well) for a long-time friend/co-worker. The whole business lasted ALL DAY. I was so exhausted when I got home……it was a beating. This, after spending quite a few-dozen-hours on the phone with said friend over the past few months (not complaining…..just takes a lot out of you)……in the lead-up to this giant event. You know, maybe I would have NEVER wanted to be an attorney…..that stuff is rough, man. It was such a sad, painful event…….but in the end, my friend ended up with custody and they’re divorced…..it’s over. He gets child support, too…….not a lot, but it’ll help.

Maybe this’ll help someone……

I generally don’t get too carried away here in terms of mental health stuff, but I thought I’d toss this into the ether as it might help someone out there. I could make this a REALLLLLL-LLLLLLYYYYY long post but I’m busy and not in the mood to do that right now.

This summer, while away on vacation, I had some time to do a little thinking about a few things…..to take stock of where I am and what I’m doing in my life. I’m in my mid-40’s (and sliding rapidly toward my LATE 40’s!)…..so these kinds of thing tend to happen around this time in a person’s life.

I make my living in the field of social services, which as anyone knows DOESN’T tend to reward workers in a large monetary sense of the word! A good number of years back, I spent some time in healthcare administration….and made EXCELLENT money, but it was VERY stressful on me and my family. Here’s the critical thing: I had several flavors of superiors (‘Senior V.P.’s’ blah-blah-blah….you get the idea). I generally DID NOT feel like I was cut out to climb the ladder and become one of those types of corporate talking-head type guys…..fine, great, groovy. In my self-talk, I might say: ‘I’m just not that type of guy.’ …….and hey, that’s perfectly fine. HOWEVER,  during my ‘epiphany’ I came to realize that, in very subtle ways, I’d been insulting myself for NOT TRYING TO BE one of those kinds of guys. I’d been tormenting (so-to-speak) myself for not being one of those conquer-the-universe type guys! On one side of my brain, I knew what I was/wasn’t…..but on the other side of my brain, I spent a lot of time calling myself a ‘loser’ etc.  That’s really twisted……..and so strange to me that I was just ‘deaf’ to that.  To continue this thought further, I’ve often been a ‘You’re OK, I’m not OK’ kind of person. I lean toward…..’Everyone else is on a cruise’……’Everyone else is getting promoted’…..’Everyone else is getting a raise’ in my mind……..all the while, ignoring the people who’re failing/struggling left-and-right!

So, here’s the deal: Life is hard……..FOR EVERYONE! That neighbor of yours, who’s always doing great…….he isn’t……….trust me on that. Everyone you know is struggling, and clawing and huffing and puffing their way through the day JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. One of those guys I know (I respected him, and still do today)……he experienced HUGE amounts of success in a company I worked for. Then, one day, his wife couldn’t pick up a dish. He took her to the hospital, right during the midst of his perfect life and his perfect kids (each of whom belonged on a magazine cover)….and his amazing house and his incredible salary…….to learn she had a massive brain tumor. She died 18 months later, at 42…..and his world got turned upside down….his beautiful, sweet, intelligent wife, who adored him and their kids.  I don’t glory or revel in that….I care about that guy……but life didn’t hand him perfection……’cause it NEVER promised that it would to begin with. No one gets perfection…..no one. 

It’s all about the money!

A quick little post: I was musing last night, realizing I’d made 3 purchases during the day.

I bought (all digital, all online)

I. A single MP3 of a song I liked (Allison Kraus)

II. A magic instructional video (Gregory Wilson)

III. An an eBook (via Amazon)

The whole business was probably less than 10 bucks, but 3 purchases and none of them were a physical item! The world is different now!

From an article entitled ‘Being Poor Is Too Expensive’

…..published at Lifehacker.com

“Dressing well is an awkward catch-22. If you’re poor and you have a nice wardrobe, people think you’re irresponsible with money. However, if you dress poorly, you’re more likely to be judged poorly, especially in job interviews. How you dress can be the difference between landing the job and being ruled out as soon as you walk in the door.”

Find the whole article here.

Recession-proof’d??

In the U.S., we’re allegedly past the Great Recession now. I suppose, by-and-large, my family’s finances are better than they were 18 mos. ago. My wife and I have been through some dark, dark, DARK TIMES as far as money is concerned. We are (I guess) the average American middle-class family (although, “average” and “middle-class” are ‘moving targets’ when it comes to definitions these days). There’s been a lot said and written about personal finance over the past 5 years or so.

Personally-speaking…….I have gone through such a metamorphosis about how I think about my money. I literally cant stop myself from laughing whenever I think about how the words “happiness” and “money” used to be linked in my personal world-view. I didn’t even know it was so severe until it started to change…..and change it has. I don’t at all believe that I’m in any position to give anyone advice, except to say, “If you want to know how to do it all wrong…..then look at how we did it.”

Two final thoughs while I’m waxing on about the Almighty Dollar:

Stupid Debt will destroy you. Most of how we get into debt in America is via Stupid Debt. Generally, so long as its a small house and you have a nice, polite, tidy little mortgage (with a stable interest rate)……a house is Smart Debt. Other than that, though, Stupid Debt will be your ruin…….take my word for it.

If you’re buying to make yourself happy…….you’ll NEVER BE ABLE TO BUY ENOUGH to reach that point……..never.