Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why I Need to Get Unglued..

Seriously, I need to get unglued because I am stuck.

Somewhere in the bowels of this blog are my guidelines to bouncing back from bankruptcy. Somewhere in the bowels of this blog I describe the events that led me to the bankruptcy. One thing that did not help my situation and in fact was a big contributor to the bankruptcy was, a series of unfortunate events (with apologies to Lemony Snickets).

To put it in the simplest of terms. I had a god awful streak of bad luck. It seemed that for about two years every time I turned around I had bad things happen to me. Even with good advice and careful research, if a rotten fiscal thing could happen to me, it did. House repairs costing multiple hundreds and occasionally thousands of dollars, car repairs, medical bills, investments gone bad. No matter what I did to try and stop the bad ju ju, it just continued on and drained my bank account. That plus some other life altering events left me more than a little gun shy.

And left me feeling stuck in a rut. Sigh. A rut I am struggling to get out of so I can move onward and upward. This is the part of the bouncing back that I am not having a lot of success at. The moving forward. I feel like I'm stuck in a pot of goo. Able to move oh so slightly forward, but just not able to pick up my feet and jump out of the pot.

To say my self esteem took a hit when I had that streak of bad luck is an understatement. I used to pride myself on my work ethic, my sensible decisions, my ability to somehow end up on my feet with a bouquet of flowers, the pride I had in a successful outcome to my hard work and diligence in projects and tasks.

Even though I am 18 months post discharge, I feel like I should be accomplishing more with my life now that I'm not in total fiscal hell. Yet, I freak out when make my spending plan. I hoard my money, then go on spending binges, not for extravagant items, but for things like groceries, socks and underwear and my hobby expenses. It pains me to write out the checks for my bills, even though there is cash in my account. I fret over my up and down emergency fund. I am disgusted with myself for allowing me to use the E-fund to cover the shortages in my checking account because I failed to adjust my spending plan or take into account I failed to
sign my time sheet for my weekend work.

Being in the goo to a certain degree is comforting. At this point the glued feeling is numbingly comforting. It is also not letting me grow as a person post BK nor is it allowing me to be aggressive in pursuing new fiscal goals. I want to be able to pump up my E-fund, I want to feel confident enough to pursue self employment, I want to be able to have enough salary so I can qualify for a mortgage for a new and larger home.

I have acknowledged the mistakes I made with my money that contributed to the bankruptcy. I acknowledged the decisions I made with my finances that were not fiscally sound or prudent. I acknowledged the fact that some events that happened to me were really out of my control. Now I have to be able to take these acknowledgments and move on. It will mean moving out of my comfort
zone and finding a way to come unglued so I can grow again as a person.


veronica said...

I totally understand what you mean be feeling stuck in a rut. I feel that way so often. It's this restlessness. But because of my past bad judgment, there's also this fear to proceed in any particular direction for fear I'm about to make another wrong decision. I feel like at my age, I should be farther along. But here I am, putt-putting along.

I'm also concerned that because of my debt, I've become cheap. I don't want to be that person -- the cheap friend. But that's what I'm slowly becoming.

I say all this so that you won't feel so alone in what you're going through. You're not. And the important thing that we both have to remember is that despite everything that's already happened, we've made it through and are a lot more ahead than we were even six months ago. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Hang in there.

Kari said...

One thing that helped me, and I need to get back into it I only did it for a short bit, is blogging what I spent each day and on what. It kind of leaves you wide open but it also makes you think more about what you are going to spend. It keeps you accountable. If I had been doing that still I might not have spent almost $90 on a flat iron for my hair a few weeks ago... yes my dirty little secret is I allowed myself to be suckered at the mall.

Then I also feel the stuck in a rut feeling. The fear of being where I was and the fear as I pay off the lawyer so I can file for BK and going "all that money" down the drain... all of it just so I can start over. What's changed? I have to remind myself I have. In the past it would have been a $90 flat iron, nails, hair, pedi, lunch blah blah blah totaling my entire paycheck because I would just splurge when there wasn't enough money for the bills. I remind myself the bills are paid, I am allowed to make mistakes with my money still (hopefully none that are collosal) its how I return from those mistakes that is entirely different. We learn and we fix and we move on.

Revanche said...

I totally know where you're coming from, though I never had a single defining moment to slog back from like bankruptcy, my parents did and that most definitely dumped the rest of the financial burden on me.

And a slog it is, it's messy, it's slow-going, and it takes time. Maybe for some people it's more of a marathon, there were many times I just felt stuck in a morass, a swamp of financial difficulty, compromises and anxiety. The only thing that works is to keep going. Keep showing up because if nothing else, you showed up to work today. You showed up to face your responsibilities and you HAVE made progress. Not everyone can make the same bounding leaps as some of the financial stars we read, but we can all make some progress.

You can do this.

Dawn said...

I, like the other folks here, really related to this, particularly this phrase, "my ability to somehow end up on my feet with a bouquet of flowers"

I feel the same way post-divorce. Prior to getting married I always felt that I could turn lemons into lemonade with one hand and have those flowers in another. Now I second guess myself... a lot. I guess the silver lining is that now i take better care of myself and realize the danger of the cliff, but I do have to admit I miss being able to walk on the edge.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry i dont want to be rude but buying a new car with very high interest was a mistake.Now you say on the last part you want to move a bigger house. why? you are living by yourself and you know even keeping uo your current place is challenging at times. why arent you just staying where you are?

Bouncing Back said...

Anonymous-no you are not being rude. My 10 year old car with over 230,000 miles on it died a very painful death. Not having good luck with beater cars, I opted for a slighty used car, not a new car. Loans for people post BK are high-that's the price you pay for the BK. Not living in an area with any public transportation, a car is a neccessity, not a luxury.

My house is also very small, 450 sf, I'm out growing it and it needs work. My "home office" is a very small desk and I would like to have a little more elbow room. I also don't think I'd get the return on investment to upgrade the house and I can't increase the footprint of the house either. I would be better off to make the basic repairs and cosmetic fixes, sell and move to a slightly larger home without the issues the current home has and where renovations and upgrades will pay off. In general, a home will need basic repairs and renovations, it goes with being a home owner, some things you can put off, some things you can't.

Everyone else, thanks for the input. Yes, I have made progress and I can slog through this. I have to keep reminding myself it can be done and I can do it.

multimedia said...

So were you able to unglue yourself? Or do you feel like you're still stuck in this same place? Has your streak of bad luck ran out?