Sometimes life creeps up on you - usually when you think you've finally gotten ahead and you're doing OK - and it reminds you that nothing is perfect, nothing lasts forever, and the real, every day grind of life will always be there in one form or another.
When that happens, I have a bad habit of letting it get to me in the worst way. I stress about it, I obsess about it, I cry. I become this frantic little being, scurrying around trying to keep everything from toppeling over. I'm a catastrophizer. In my mind these little, inconvenient things that everyone has to deal with, usually more than once in their life, scare the living hell out of me, because I am so deathly afraid of ever going back to being stuck.
I was stuck, in once sense of the word or another, for a long time.
Making too little money, or no money at all for a while there, two kids, too many expenses, and not enough options.
I've spent the last year trying to make everything stable again, and for the most part, I have. Financially we're doing OK. We don't live in the ghetto anymore. I make enough to support the kids on my own without constantly begging their dad's for money that they'll never give me.
Being in this stable, calmer place has been so good, and so foreign to me. It's something I never, ever had growing up, and something I am now terrified to ever lose.
Recently about 50 different things came up with my car though, and I feel like I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown. With each new development, there is a stream of panicked thoughts that follow.
Car needs new tires? I am going to be so broke for the next couple weeks.
Car won't pass emissions, needs new brakes and the A/C fixed? There goes all the money I had saved up.
Need a new car altogether? I never should have moved into this house that's so expensive, because now I can't afford a car payment and I am going to be stuck with this car forever, throwing money away to keep it running, and then when it officially dies for good, I won't be able to get to work, I'll lose my job, house, and ultimately sanity.
When it gets like this, I have to remind myself that I've survived worse. That once upon a time I didn't have a car to put new breaks on at all, and that was worse.
Once upon a time, we lived in a two bedroom condo in an awful part of town, where people got robbed and mugged so often that the pizza place right across the street wouldn't even deliver to my neighborhood. That was worse.
I used to not make enough money to pay all my bills every month, and I had to choose which ones to pay late or which ones to borrow moeny from someone in order to pay. That was worse.
I used to stress and cry and wonder what was going to happen every single day. I used to stay up at night, pacing and worrying and trying to find a way out.
That was worse.
Now we have a nice house and our bills are paid and we're doing alright, and even though the car needs work it's running right now, and probably will keep running at least another year, so I'm just going to have to work my ass off to be able to buy a new car then. But still I have a year, and that's not bad.
Sometimes I wish my life was different. Better, easier, smoother.
But then I remember how it used to be, and how far we've come, and how much it actually has improved over the last couple years, and I remember that the life I have now was once something I only dreamed about having someday, and I know that we'll be ok.
Still, I wouldn't say no to some wine and a million dollars.
Just in case you were going to offer.