This is how my life has been lately… I started to write this about a week ago “I haven’t written for a while I know and” when there was a computer problem and I had to stop.
The next night I tried writing in bed and wrote “I begin this before bed when” and my pen ran out of ink.
That about sums it up lately. Since then, life took over until now. I feel like I’m writing on borrowed time but lately that’s all I got.
So I had planned to write about why it has taken me month to post anything new, basically my last new post was after the wedding, but I won’t bore you with the chronology. Suffice to say that life has its inevitable cycles, its ups and downs. When we first moved to Miami it was rough for a while and then things turned around, about eight months after we moved. Money was good for a while and we paid off debt, saved for a house and planned the wedding. But, the boom was not to last and just when wedding planning was in full swing I lost one steady contract and a month later I lost another.
Everyone is affected by life’s cycles but being self-employed I tend to feel them sooner. Instead of losing a full-time job that I had come to depend on for my entire livelihood, I lose a steady contract. Although I depended on that income as much as any full-time employee, by the very nature of being self-employed you come to know the temporary nature of success and don’t waste time on grieving your losses, instead just seek new gains.
Sometimes life’s cycles feel like a dip in the road, a speed bump as it were, and other times it feels like you have lost control of your car, it has entered the other lane and you are now playing chicken with the opposing traffic. We experienced the latter.
I’m happy to say we swerved back into our lane just in time and are currently regaining driving control but we came close, far to close for comfort. Our savings are near exhausted, the prospect of buying a home is now way out of reach, and our debt is climbing. One client owes enough to cancel our debt and restore most of our savings but the prospect of him paying me is slim. I have learned not to waste my time licking my wounds when I could be moving forward.
Anyone who knows me or has been reading this blog knows that I believe that things happen for a reason so instead of bemoaning, I try to glean the lesson from my experiences. In this case, life became so challenging, money so tight that we didn’t know what to do, we were in crisis. What made it that much more challenging was that I am a hard worker and economize more than most Americans. We don’t eat out, have cable tv or go to Starbucks, all big money drains for most families. I am an experienced professional who, depending on the project, can earn over $100 an hour. So, why, with all that going for us, were we literally at the brink of financial destitution?
Sure we spent money on thing we we didn’t need to but not much. No, the reason this happened to us is because of the incredible imbalance in our country today between earning power and expenses. I’m not getting political here but it’s no secret that the middle class is disappearing. A generation before, our same situation would have been difficult but not desperate. That is because the earning power was that much greater.
This disparity is exacerbated by living in a big city. Our expenses here in Miami are nearly triple what they were in North Florida. Most of our income is spent on housing and utilities which are all higher. So what this experience of financial drought taught me is that in this day and age, you need to do all you can to make your money go farther because the deck is stacked against you.
Big cities like Miami, New York, and San Francisco are squeezing out the middle class and leaving the poor who can’t afford to move and the rich who buy up all the property. I enjoy Miami but we know now this will not be where we settle and buy a home. I am grateful I can start paying bills again but our future goal will be to take our earning power somewhere it will stretch farther because no matter who the next president is, it will be a long time before, if ever, the middle class gets a fair shake. The world is changing and I plan to be one step ahead.