I didn't know how good I had it. Two months ago, I lived in a fairly nice apartment, I had enough money to send some home every month, my rent was about 150 dollars (yes, really!) and I had a Japanese car that I bought when I arrived for about 5,000 yen (around 500 US dollars.) Then I moved home. Suddenly, I feel like I'm paying to breathe, let alone move. The times, they a'changed while I was gone. Everyone knows that the recession is over (no, really it is!) But hard times are still around- it's just that those of us who maybe hadn't suffered before, now are- and we aren't doing it in silence. Forget the vast majority who has always had it hard. This is about us. (Please God, don't let someone completely ignore the obvious sarcasm and take this quote out of context. Then again, mid-term elections are coming and politicians are everywhere. It's their job to take things out of context.) At any rate, I'm incredibly fortunate that I came home to a family who were willing to house and feed me with no qualms while I try to find my place in the new America. On the other hand, when I left, I had my own house, car, no student loans, and a job that gave me a structured life and enabled me to hold conversations with other adults. Despite the love, I kinda feel sometimes like I'm on house arrest. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers. And I am currently a beggar. It's amazing how I got used to not having cable, walking everywhere and not buying clothes, books, Starbucks coffee (but I did live for weekends in Nagasaki City, which had the closest Starbucks to my island...and a mall! So it took a two hour ferry ride to get there- it was a mall!) Now I'm home with, still, no job, although there are finally some prospects (wish me luck!). This morning I lived the definition of irony... or is it paradox? While looking online for coupons to go shopping, I was simultaneously checking my stocks. I own a part of a company, and I'm still looking for coupons for Gain laundry detergent, because every penny counts. BTW, those stocks? Worth about 400 bucks- maybe more if Microsoft's new phone lifts the company's sales out of the doldrums. Yeah, I own Microsoft, baby. At least a couple of shares. It's incredible that that things that were once worth so much are now not even worth the paper they're printed on. My house, which I bought as a young teacher, is and will be worth only as much as the market downturn. It seems to be stable now but ... My 401k- let's not go there. It depresses me. My bank account? Enough for now, thanks to a southern coogking mom who always happens to have "a little too much." But it certainly feels like I'm not where I wanted to be at this point in my life. I'm 33 years old and living at home, hoping like millions of other Americans that this interview or the next will be the one. I'm hoping that the next stage in my life is going to be what I've been looking for- productive, creative, and satisfying, filled with love and a little more certainty about what "it'" is all about. I want to feel like an adult again, fulfilling my goals and (love you Mom!) living in my own space again! I'm so fortunate that I don't have the burdens that so many others are bravely carrying. But Lord, what I wouldn't give to be able to walk in my own home in my undies again. (sorry, TMI) To have my own car, a job I love, time to spend with friends, money to spend on foolishness, and to save. It's all coming, I know. And I can wait. I'm blessed. To all those who are working to the same goal, I wish you good fortune and good (job) hunting. After living in another country, I still truly believe that America is one of the greatest nations in the world. And we will lift ourselves out of our troubles again by depending on each other and working as we've always worked, for a brighter future for all. We, (I) will rely on the great inner strength that we all have, and while I can't guarantee a chicken in every pot, I can guarantee that those who work to the best of their ability will always get it (what they want, not a chicken) in the end.
It is not wealth one asks for,
but just enough to preserve one's dignity,
to work unhampered, to be generous,
frank and independent.*
W. Somerset Maugham
*Actually, I want the wealth too, but this will do. Does that make me a bad person? :>