I try to be lighthearted and post about fun and "fluff" but I just don't have it in me today.
Lately I have been feeling like Alice, plunging swiftly down the rabbit hole into a world I hardly recognize.
When we had children, my husband and I made the decision that I would stay home to raise them. We lived comfortably on a single income by living frugally. My husband worked long hours and traveled extensively while I cared for our son and daughter. Because he invested carefully
we were able to purchase some acreage by paying cash, a long time dream for my hubs. A few years later, again, because of his diligent saving, we built a home there. It wasn't a McMansion, just a comfortable family home. We sent our children through Catholic elementary and high school and managed the tuition because we were careful with spending. We didn't buy new cars, we became avid do it yourselfers, we didn't travel extensively and we saved. When the kids started school I drove the 50 minute round trip twice a day to take them and pick them up. I worked part time as a decorative painter and muralist so I could be home when they were home and still bring in a bit of extra income.
We enjoyed a few memorable family vacations, raised a multitude of pets, had more sleep overs and birthday parties and family get togethers than I can count. In other words, a normal happy and loving family.
Because we were thrifty, we were able to help pay for college as well. Then, last May, after 30 years of hard and diligent work in the same industry, my husband's company was bought out and he was "downsized". It was interesting that all the people the company decided to let go were over 50, but that is a story for another time. Again, because he saved so well for so many years, we were able to keep our home while he began to look for another position. His company did provide him with a a severence package including insurance, for 6 months. When the insurance ended in December, we were switched to COBRA which is the Department of Labor insurance plan. Because the company was finalizing their take over deal and the buyer had a different insurer handling the COBRA benefits, we got caught in the glitch. We paid what we were told from December through last month and apparently out of the thousands we paid in that period, we were seven dollars short. So they dropped us. We appealed and the answer was basically, too bad.
Back to Alice. I feel like I have landed at the bottom of the rabbit hole where my reality has been altered beyond recognition. This is a new world where loyalty and years of work mean nothing and large companies are gobbled up by even larger ones and doing the "right" thing seems to be wrong. Where a voice on the phone or at a computer keyboard has the power to say"off with their heads" without regard to the very real consequence it may have on a family. A frightening world in which all the plans and dreams of a lifetime can be changed in an instant. Where friends who have worked and saved just like we did, all find themselves falling down the rabbit hole as well.
I know we will find our way in this new and altered world but at the moment it isn't a very pretty world in which to live. My husband has always done whatever he could to insure that I and our children were happy and well cared for. That has always been his first priority. Because of him we will weather this change in circumstance and climb out of the rabbit hole into the light of a new day.
Still, I am frightened by this new world. I see so many out of work. I see our son within a few credit hours of graduation with a triple major in Neuro Science, Biology and Chemistry yet he hasn't been able to find a job so he will remain in school and begin Graduate studies with hopes that things will be better in a year or two. I see friends still raising children and depending on two incomes, losing both in a matter of months. I see all the hype about frugal living as if it is some great new idea. What about all the people out there who have always lived this way? I understand that some have lived beyond their means and for them the rabbit hole is a very dark place indeed, but most of us have tried to live good, healthy and happy lives, working and giving and serving in our communities, without spending every penny as soon as it hit our pockets. Saving for the days ahead when we could relax and maybe use those savings to fulfill a dream or two. Now it seems that world no longer exists. I am sad to see it go. We will adjust, however I can't help but feel we have lost something of value, some virtue, in that adjustment.
I try not to be discouraged but I just had to get this off my chest. We will be fine.
My husband has started his own business after realizing there just aren't any jobs out there comparable to his old one, for a man of his age. He would probably never have taken the plunge if this hadn't happened. Now instead of working to make money for a global company that exists only for profit he is working to help small businesses save some money, turn a better profit and stay in business. He is working for himself, for us and for clients that he gets to know personally. No more running around like the March Hare, yelling "I'm late". He is happy. He will be successful. I hope it works out as well for all the others out there struggling with the same situation.
There is light at the top of the rabbit hole, slightly altered light, but still bright.
This blogging community has been such a source of strength and encouragement. Thanks for being there.
How is life in your world?
Have a marvelous Memorial Day weekend, P.
2 hours ago