My mom called me yesterday. She was a bit teary, which isn't like her. She has finally come to the realization that she hasn't handled her money well and she is afraid that she will run out. I have tried to talk to her for several years about this, but in her usual stubborn way she refused to discuss it. Now she wants my help. So this week I will be going over to help her find an elder attorney and to assist her in getting money from the VA. It seems I am the only one of my siblings she feels will help her with this.
My mom has lived life on her own terms. She has spent money where she wanted. She has done exactly as she wanted, for better or worse. She was able to do that because she was left well provided for. Now that her money is running out she is eligible to apply for a monthly payment for widows of war veterans. I am so relieved that she has this cushion, but I think about my options and the options of many other women of my generation.
I am a woman of the baby boomer generation. Like my mother, I spent much of my adult life raising my children. Unlike my mother I don't have the cushions she has. I was left alone when my husband became seriously mentally ill. I went back to school and did work for a period of time, but it was not enough to leave me with an adequate amount of social security. I know that I have to work to support myself and will probably have to work for the rest of my life.
Jobs are scarce for everyone and especially so for those who are my age. It is against the law to discriminate due to age, but it is rampant and there is no way to prove it. So after sending out hundreds of resumes with no response, I started to sell vintage and antiques. It provides me with a small amount of extra income, but still not enough to support myself.
Because of my severe degenerative arthritis and peripheral neuropathy an agency applied for disability for me during my last surgery. I was turned down because of my education. I was told that I could sit long enough to be a counselor. That is wonderful I said, but no one will hire me and I am not licensed. Not their problem I was told. They don't care about that. They are reconsidering, but it is doubtful it will be approved.
How I envisioned my life would be at this point is not how it has turned out. I feel like I have lost control of it. I am not living life on my own terms. In reality I am living life on everyone else's terms.
So how do I change this? How do I get to the point that I am living a simple life, a life that I choose, a life that isn't dictated by others, a life on my own terms. My goals are to be self supporting, to live in my own place, to take care of myself. That is what I am working on.
I didn't insert a lot of pretty photos in this post, because it is a post about the realities of life. The realities that many of us face, and unfortunately it is not always a pretty picture.
I am a fairly positive person. I get up each morning and thank the universe that I am still here. I am grateful to have a place to live, while there are so many others who don't. Yes, I am filled with gratitude for the things I do have, but I will still strive to live life on my own terms.