|Hopefully this won't be me soon|
I’m starting to get genuinely scared about my short term future, and potentially my long term future, as well. I almost didn’t cover my rent for the month, as my family couldn’t manage to send me the full amount that is due. Unfortunately, my apartment complex won’t allow a partial payment, even one which is only $20 or $30 short of the total. That means that if things don’t turn around soon, I could conceivably miss my rent for the next month, and that would mean I would be on the street with nowhere to go by my birthday, which is in the middle of May. I spent most of last weekend in a deep depression as I struggled with that realization. I wish I could say that the thought of suicide didn’t appeal to me at some point. However, since I have lived with depression for the majority of my life, I suspect that suicide will never fully leave the list of possibilities that I consider whenever I am faced with adversity. At least, I can report that, since graduating college, I haven’t been fully overwhelmed with emotional anguish. The feelings of depression didn’t completely overcome me, and a walk around the lake on Sunday afternoon helped me to break free of the painful, obsessive thoughts about homelessness or suicide which had grounded me on the previous two days.
On the other hand, I suspect that my gas will get cut off soon. That means I won’t be able to cook food on the stove, and I will have to endure cold showers. Luckily, the temperatures have now warmed up, so I don’t have to worry about being too cold during the day or night. As an odd consequence of my tendency to ignore some things, such as money, I had built up a credit over the last year with the electric company, as I set up my bank account to just send a regular monthly payment which was apparently slightly more than what was owed each month. That means that my electricity is still up and running, and current, for now. It will probably be another couple of months before my electricity will be turned off, assuming I haven’t been kicked out my apartment before then. I do plan to talk to my property manager at the apartment complex, when she returns to her office this Tuesday, to see if there is any way that I can negotiate my apartment rent downward for a few months while I continue to look for work. I am hoping that since I have been living here steadily for nine years that they will be willing to give me a little slack. Living in Raleigh, the lowest rent these days, which isn’t in a slum, is $600, and those are student apartments not far from where I am currently living. My rent, right now, is $700. If I could get a couple hundred knocked off the price for a few months, it might make a world of difference for me, not to mention my family. Though, to be fair, that is probably more wishful thinking than anything based in fact. But, I don’t have much other choice than to try.
During my last semester at NC State, I took a graduate course in advanced developmental psychology in which a common thread was the study of resilience in individuals. This little economic calamity that I have been facing over the last few months, and which I hope desperately I will not be facing for much longer, has revealed a small, yet significant, emotional growth in my life which I had not really been aware of previously. Despite setbacks, I feel as though I have grown more emotionally resilient as a result of returning to college, and seeing myself achieve a long held goal. For so long at the radio station I had seen myself as nothing more than a slacker, a failure, someone who just had to take what was given to me with little argument to the contrary. While I still feel as though there are forces in my life which I have little control, for example when I will ever be given a job, I am no longer as burdened with despair and torment over my circumstances. I am now more easily taking matters in stride, working as best I can to change my situation for the better, but being more accepting of things as they are, rather than obsessing over how they are not as I would wish them to be, and allowing that obsession to take over my existence.
All in all, I am now more confident than ever that returning to college, and earning my B.A. in Psychology, was the right decision to make. While I do regret that a four-year college degree in a social science isn’t a blank check to a good job in the same way that a computer science, engineering, or applied science degree generally is, I am nonetheless proud of my accomplishment. I chose a path, and I successfully followed it through to its conclusion. I have not yet fully given up hope of one day returning to get a Ph.D., and becoming a professor. But, at least I know now that if I set an appropriate goal for myself, and try to find, or establish, clear markers for achieving that goal, I can have some positive control over my life in ways which I never fully realized before I graduated.
I have no way to guarantee that things in my life won’t get worse before they get better. But, I have the strength to keep going, to push ahead, and continue doing what I must do, until I can find my way to the other side of this dilemma. Though, honestly, I won’t be upset if I am given a new job in the next few days so that I can leave this exercise in character building in the past.
Keep living life…
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