depression / Home/Family Life / Love and Heartbreak / Work

The Curse of Being Broke

There’s a curse that this particular Jennings girl suffers.

Because my sisters are wealthy (and I’ll explain what I mean by that in a bit), the curse hasn’t affected them much as of late. People keep vanishing from my life, and it’s not necessarily within my control. Old loves, new friends and acquaintances, that sort of thing. I’m wary of making more friends these days because I think inevitably they’ll disappear, give me the cold shoulder, leave me, that sort of thing. I went into detail once before that I don’t want to be alone anymore, but it may be just how it is with me. The more alone I am, however, the more introverted I become, and that only makes things worse. That curse, it’s how it is.

That curse, it’s preventing me from living a wealthy life.

That sort of wealth — the accumulation of currency — has nothing to do with dough, bread, cash, green, bucks, moolah, none of that paper stuff. Cash is frequently in my hand one day, then gone the next. Paper currency just isn’t all that valuable to me. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s certainly nice to have when I need it (the more adulting I do, the more often those needs must be met in a timely manner too) . However, it isn’t the type of currency that impacts my livelihood now the most. There are three types that do: Informational Currency, Emotional Currency, and Chronological Currency.

Informational Currency (may also be known as Reputational Currency)

There’s always a strange sense of…I don’t know… competition happening at my workplace among my peers. It’s a contest I never wanted to play to begin with. Frankly, it makes me awfully uncomfortable whenever I am forced to join in.

And I always lose.

Ever know that one person who has to one-up you in a conversation? Take that and apply that to a work environment. That’s what I mean. In my workplace, it can be illustrated best as follows:

Prof A: Well, I’m on the XYZ committee this year, so I’ll have so much to do while I try to get all my planning and grading done and take care of the kids at home.

Prof B: Oh, I know! I have all this grading to do, I’m chair for the ABC committee this year, and I’m the Coordinator for the (Fill in the Blank with Appropriate Schoolwide Event). Not only that, I have a new project involving (Fill in the Blank with Appropriate Assigned Task That May or May Not Contribute to the School’s Readiness Plan).

Prof C: Yeah, I’m on the XYZAB committee, the ABCDE committee, and the ABCDEF standing committee. Plus, I’m behind on all 8 of my classes, and I still have to go home and do all the things, all the bills, all the mundane tasks at home.

I suppose it shouldn’t matter, but the end result is always the same — looks of sympathy and pity. Woe to us for choosing our jobs. Whatever.

The Informational Currency comes into play when names and their respective fancy titles are dropped. The more names you know of people-in-charge, the wealthier you are, and the competition grows cold for me at this point. The other day, two of my friends from work were chatting around me about visiting an in-charges’ house, reminding me of the fact I was so obviously lacking in that sort of…well…currency. It’s good to know who to turn to in times of work-related need, I realize, but the Informational Currency one has should be used ONLY when necessary. There are always those who abuse their privileges and get on others’ shit lists.

Emotional Currency

Ever So Slightly Bitter Rant: Exactly how many times do I need to be reminded that I don’t have a husband or kids, or I don’t have a boyfriend or fiance or partner or lover or whateverthefuck? (OR even a best friend?!) Emotional currency, we’re told in so many words, is the penultimate key to happiness and longevity. If you have such love in your life, you are wealthy beyond measure.

Yesterday, I saw something that seriously scorched my insides, leaving me with that reminder that I lack in such currency. It was almost as bad as the time I learned my mega-ex-heartbreak was married with children. Anyway, I never told anyone this, but I’d always had this silly fantasy, like something out of a scene in one of those forgettable romantic movies, of riding along the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible, its top down, with my partner in crime, so to speak. I’d always wanted to see the sights there with someone I adored. That fantasy is now, officially, no longer. It was promptly destroyed when I saw pics of my ex-husband and his girlfriend doing that exact thing, like a sickening romantic movie montage.

I don’t know what was worse though, the fact he was living out my fantasy right there or the fact he had someone, and, yet again, I didn’t. I don’t.

Must be nice to be that rich and shameless. Is it all that toxic of me to wish for an earthquake right now?

Chronological Currency

This is a form of currency that just is and cannot be changed. If only though. It hit hard, my lack of it, when I saw two of my nephews last week during spring break, especially when I saw the older of the two. He’s thirteen now, and his appearance startled me. He’s filled out a bit, grown assured, and is unnervingly polite, so on the verge of adulthood. He still goofs around (13 year olds are still 13 year olds), but I can already see where he’ll be, what he’ll be, how he’ll be in five more years.

Then while at my father’s house, my father brought up the gift we’re giving him for his 70th this year. It’s going to be a ring melded from his and my mother’s wedding rings. It’s what he wants.

And it only serves to remind me of that type of currency that is slowly sliding away.

I’m 45 now, and that time, it’s probably more valuable now than ever. Even if I’m lacking in Informational Currency, which I couldn’t care less about (it’s just a job), I hope, at the very least, to gain back the Emotional Currency I’ve had and lost again and again, spent merely on experiences and massive regrets, resulting in tears every damned night.

In all seriousness, who the hell wants to leave a legacy of being perpetually broke?

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “The Curse of Being Broke

  1. As a childless and recently single 40-something, I resonate with the sad reality of feeling abandoned by others or friends as I’ve gitten older. I’m trying to reframe such thoughts in my mind and simply try and be my own best friend, while also taking responsibility for any of the losses that I have accumulated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you, especially the bit about being one’s own best friend and taking some sense of responsibility about the losses (it’s quite often two-sided, with some exceptions). In my loneliness, I have grown much more introspective than I ever was, and I’ve been seeing things about myself, old patterns especially, that I don’t like and want to change.

      Like

  2. I can definitely relate too. Maybe it’s because I recently turned 40 and it’s supposed to be this big milestone or whatever (not that I feel more or less *anything* than I did at 39).
    As far as ‘informational currency’ goes, I try not to focus too much on it. I grew up surrounded by rich kids with ‘connections’ so I already felt at a disadvantage before I even got a job, let alone later on, when they all took over daddy’s business while I had to try and score a single interview. These days most of us here are lucky to even get a job (don’t get me started on decent wages – actual currency is much more of an issue for most Greeks) so ‘competing’ with colleagues is just not as important as it used to be/should be.

    Chronological currency is, like you said, the one thing that can’t be changed. If I dwell too much on it, it will just spiral out of control into a state of depression and/or regret, so I make a conscious effort to remind myself that age is just a number. The part that does get me is the fact that my parents are getting older, but again, nothing I can do about that :/

    Emotional currency… that one’s the tricky bit. I do get bitter and angry and sad (and, most of the time, all of the above), but what good does that do me? Yes, I’m single and 40 and all my friends are either in relationships or already married with kids, but I’m pretty sure they miss the freedom single life offers just as often as I wish I had a significant other by my side. And while a few of my former fantasies are no more, I refuse to give up on all of them. Why can’t you be the one in a convertible driving down the PCH at some point, with someone who loves and appreciates you a hell of a lot more than your ex did? People find love at all ages, and more importantly, it usually comes when we least expect it, as long as we don’t close ourselves off to that possibility. Does this make me a hopeless romantic, even though it’s been years since I last met someone even remotely fitting my fantasy guy description? Possibly, but I guess it makes me less miserable, lol.

    As for best friends… I dunno. The person I thought of as my best friend for 15 years suddenly decided to cut me out of his life completely (along a couple of other friends in our group), without even an explanation. It stung, but at the end of the day, if he thought so little of our so-called friendship, it wasn’t such a big loss, you know? I find that the people I feel closest to aren’t necessarily those I see all the time, but whenever we do talk or meet up, we can just pick where we left off. But I guess what makes it infinitely better is learning to just be alone. Not in the sense of accepting your current situation, but feeling comfortable in your own skin and enjoying your own company, so that you don’t *need* others (although they’re definitely nice to have around).

    Sorry about the long-winded response. *big hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, you! I’m so glad to see you’re also still around! I’ve missed you! Happy late 40th, btw. You’re now in the “glamour club” as I’d noted to my sister last year on her 40th. (All the hip women are in the 40-and-up club)

      Regarding the whole informational currency thing, your situation there sounds much like how it is in my particular county. Reputation and nepotism go hand-in-hand on the business front around here. At school, it’s all about the titles, admin. assigned special tasks, and “community involvement” (this, when it ought to focus more on…oh, I don’t know…teaching, learning, and problem-solving since that’s why schools like mine exist to begin with). I couldn’t imagine what the issue of money/actual currency is like there where you are though. What’s the cost of living there like now? Florida’s not a bad place for wages and cost of living in certain areas of the state, but my county’s hurting a bit, and it’s expensive to live on the average salary here. Businesses come and go so quickly around here that I can’t give anyone accurate directions using old landmarks anymore like I used to.

      And the emotional currency, damn straight on the whole not giving up on fantasies! Shallow me was just pissed that THAT guy stole my fantasy. He doesn’t deserve that beauty. No matter though. Like you, I’m not ready to give up on true love. A good love, nice and neat(ish), minimal to no scarring (metaphorically speaking of course).

      About best friends, I really hate the ghosting that adults do (even if it’s what the kids are calling it these days). That said, you’re right in that if the friend thought so little of the friendship to begin with, it really just wasn’t meant to be in the end. In all honesty, I’ve discovered that true friends are the ones who end up being there after a tragedy has happened (there’s truth to the saying “A friend in need is a friend indeed”). Anyone else, well, they were never decent friends to begin with. (I just hate that THAT’S what it took to learn who my friends actually are).

      *Hugs back, my friend*

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Kenzie! Thanks for the birthday wishes – I still haven’t realized I’m actually in the ‘glamour club’ now – I’m definitely in good company though 😉

        If it’s any consolation, uni professors, along with judges, are the two professions where nepotism is most prevalent. There are people with a handful of PhDs who can’t even get through the door, and most of the time it’s all about political connections, which is even more infuriating.
        What’s been happening here in the last 8 years is ridiculous, really: salaries and pensions have gotten the ax while the cost of living keeps rising, mainly due to taxes (both direct and indirect) because that’s the only way the government, the EU and IMF could come up with to straighten out our miserable fiscal situation. Minimum wage is about 400 bucks/month; 60% of young people are unemployed. Those of us with qualifications and a good 10-15 years under our belt are lucky to get 1,000 bucks/month. The only thing that’s gone down in price is real estate, which means rent isn’t as high any more, but that’s also a problem because most people own their homes and now have to pay insane property taxes. VAT is 24%, supermarket prices are about the same as in the wealthy EU countries (where salaries are 4-5 times higher than ours), it’s just a big mess.

        HELL YEAH we’re not giving up on true love! I guess we just have to make some more allowances now, mostly because at this age we all come with a certain amount of baggage… unless you go for younger men, lol. Which I highly recommend, by the way 😉

        The fact that ghosting is a thing simply baffles me. I mean hell, we’re all adults here, if you decide you don’t want to hang out with me, for whatever reason, you have every right to do that. Just be a fucking man and have the balls to tell me to my face, you know? I totally agree re: finding out who your true friends are after a tragedy. It was a big wake up call for me after my accident and a handful of people weren’t there for me. It’s also true in the opposite situation though: if you’re not there to share in my joy, then what kind of a friend are you? On the bright side, some people will genuinely surprise you sometimes and go out of their way to be there for you, so I guess it balances things out a little bit.

        How’s the book coming along, by the way?

        *mwah*

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hiya, Lina my friend! Oh, yeah. Professorships are difficult to obtain here as well, not due to a lack of connections or admin. relatives necessarily (although, they don’t hurt), but because of the other issue that you’ve indicated: We’re saturated with overqualified applicants, and frankly, there just aren’t that many positions available anywhere that would feasibly suit. Funny that we’re discussing this now — I am currently on a faculty search/hiring committee for my school, and we’re in the process of going over applicant packets of candidates who meet the minimum requirements. I can’t go into detail on the specifics, obviously, but I think it’s…okay… for me to say that we’ve a ton of applicants for this one position, and many of them (plus the ones whose CVs I’ve seen throughout the years I’ve done this) are so overqualified, if they were to teach for us, we wouldn’t be able to offer them a decent salary (per their credentials) and any solid research time that they all seem primed to expect (their publication and presentation lists show this sort of thing). Our hire will have nothing but basic freshman and sophomore general ed. courses to teach, and anything extra (such as courses in their areas of specialization) is dependent upon enrollment numbers and considered “extra”/frivolous by our advisors, so that sort of thing is rare. We have a pretty great bunch of people in my dept. though, so I hope we can find someone who can genuinely help out where we need it most around here, all around a 5/5 teaching load (5 courses per term), college service work, student service work, etc.

        That salary is insane there. What’s the general cost of living like, like rent and utilities? It always seems like the only solutions are to raise some vital costs of living up (paid in taxes of some sort) and cut pensions and salaries, never mind social security. How is your new job right now? What are you doing?

        Younger men sound like they’d be…fun. And probably noncommittal, which may be what I REALLY need right now, I don’t know. Who can say? Whatever may be may be. I take it you have had experience though…? Lol. No, seriously…Go on.

        I just realized, btw…while on the topic of ghosting…Ghosting “friends” (well, male ones anyway) have invisible balls because…well, they’re ghosts. That said, they wouldn’t have had the balls to tell you what’s wrong to begin with, right? Haha. Those cowardly bastards.

        The book is coming along SO slowly now. I have a somewhat free weekend coming up just before the research paper chaos, so I hope I can bang out the second to the last chapter at least. You will be among the first to know when it’s ready! XXX

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hiya, Lina my friend! Oh, yeah. Professorships are difficult to obtain here as well, not due to a lack of connections or admin. relatives necessarily (although, they don’t hurt), but because of the other issue that you’ve indicated: We’re saturated with overqualified applicants, and frankly, there just aren’t that many positions available anywhere that would feasibly suit. Funny that we’re discussing this now — I am currently on a faculty search/hiring committee for my school, and we’re in the process of going over applicant packets of candidates who meet the minimum requirements. I can’t go into detail on the specifics, obviously, but I think it’s…okay… for me to say that we’ve a ton of applicants for this one position, and many of them (plus the ones whose CVs I’ve seen throughout the years I’ve done this) are so overqualified, if they were to teach for us, we wouldn’t be able to offer them a decent salary (per their credentials) and any solid research time that they all seem primed to expect (their publication and presentation lists show this sort of thing). Our hire will have nothing but basic freshman and sophomore general ed. courses to teach, and anything extra (such as courses in their areas of specialization) is dependent upon enrollment numbers and considered “extra”/frivolous by our advisors, so that sort of thing is rare. We have a pretty great bunch of people in my dept. though, so I hope we can find someone who can genuinely help out where we need it most around here, all around a 5/5 teaching load (5 courses per term), college service work, student service work, etc.

        Hey Kenzie! I hope you find the right applicant for your department. It does sound like there’s at least some degree of meritocracy in the process, which frankly sounds so refreshing, compared with what we have to deal with around here. We don’t have private universities/colleges in Greece, so basically professors are civil servants, and their salaries have taken a nosedive along with everyone else’s. You also can’t teach unless you have a PhD, so pretty much everyone is underpaid considering their qualifications.

        Re: cost of living, it’s a bizarre situation. Rent is pretty cheap these days, you could find a two bedroom apartment for 500 bucks a month (whereas before the crisis it was at least double), but the problem is that most people own their own homes, and a vast majority owns a second/summer home too, and while real estate prices have gone down in recent years, they’re still super high. A 1,000 sq. foot apartment costs upwards of $200,000 and an actual house (with very limited yard space – we live in a city of 5 million that was originally designed for 50,000) costs upwards of half a million, depending on the area. So basically we all have to pay insane property taxes for our homes and if we did rent them out we’d only get a pittance that wouldn’t even cover the taxes due. Utilitiy bills are also insane, considering how low the median salary is: about $200 a month for electricity, plus an extra $100 or so for gas during the winter. A cup of coffee at any cafe is usually $4-5, a cocktail about $10. Groceries are about on par with US prices. I just went to my summer home for Easter, and a one-way ferry ticket is $40, plus $65 if you want to bring your car. Speaking of which, don’t get me started: cars are much more expensive because we import them, which really jacks prices up. The yearly license fee is anywhere from $800-1500, insurance is about $600/year, and a liter of gas costs the same as a gallon costs in the US. If you travel in the mainland, a distance of about 150 miles will cost you over $20 in toll fees alone.

        My new job is actually going great! I’m in political communication, right now I work for a member of parliament as his “scientific advisor”. Aside from the usual communication stuff (press releases, media relations, social media etc), it’s basically a lot of law-related research on every proposed bill and a hell of a lot of writing. My boss and colleagues are great, and I have plenty of experience in similar positions so for the first time in a long, long time, I’m actually happy at work 🙂

        Re: younger men: I don’t have that much experience (except for a couple of summer flings here and there), but you’re definitely right on both counts: they’re fun and noncommital. But I generally prefer slightly younger men or guys my age – I don’t think I’ve dated anyone older in the last 20 years.

        ahahaha @ invisible balls! I honestly don’t get the whole ghosting thing. In the case of the (former) friend I’m talking about, I’m actually glad things turned out this way. He was becoming intolerable and if he hadn’t been a cowardly bastard, I would have been forced to let him know he’s a jackass… either way, the result would have been the same, so…

        Did you manage to find the time to work on your book at all? Hopefully it’s smooth sailing from here on out!
        xxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I relate to this too. I’m at a weird place professionally – frankly I’ve sort of given up on my career. And really the only relationship I have that’s lasted a long time is my marriage. I don’t feel close to any of the friends we share as a couple. I wish I had answers or something positive to contribute but perhaps just understanding the feelings you8’re experiencing is all I can offer. Sorry M. (Love the other M Jennings [formerly]) 💙

    Liked by 1 person

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