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My Life As I Approach 50, pt. 2

December 11, 2011

As of this writing, I can’t say where my life is headed. There are too many uncertainties. I am at an age where I should have something going for me: a career, a marriage, a home of some type. The home that I now live in is the basement room of a friend who goes to the Self-Realization Fellowship meditation center. My other female friend, who also goes to the meditation center, helped me get this room. She paid the first months rent for me. I rent the bedroom and a common area that is shared by my roommate, Marty, who is a retired drunk guy, who spends almost all his time by himself. To save himself from being bored he talks to himself about things that anger him about society. He’ll talk and talk and then make some off-handed comment about how deceitful some people are, and then he will mock them, and then laugh at himself. He can’t seem to bring himself to discuss these issues with another person. It’s like he doesn’t trust anyone enough to just spend some time at the Dunk’n’Donuts down the street and talk with the other retired people I often see there nursing a coffee and enjoying a daily chocolate frosted donut. That Dunk’n’Donuts is one of my favorite places to read a book or write in my notepad. Marty could easily spend some time there or go down another mile to the senior center via a cab. He seems just as happy being alone, except for the fact he needs to get himself drunk with a dozen beers. Then, he gets so drunk he can’t even walk straight. He simply falls asleep on his bed until he wakes up the next morning.

I wish at this time I could be making income. I haven’t worked for over 2 months. The job I had at the Hearst Building ended and I haven’t been back to work since. At first, I thought I could just find something, but I normally would do that and wind up with some deadend job again. I am tired of deadend jobs. I know good jobs are hard to come by, but it just seems like I am in the right state-of-mind to start writing again. Starting this blog is the best thing I’ve done since moving to New York, two years ago. Making a living doing some writing would be a dream-come-true.  Right now, I’m only getting a couple of hundred dollars a week for unemployment benefits and $99 for foodstamps. The foodstamp amount comes out to about $3.00 a day for food. That is good for a sandwich, one of those salt-filled romin soups in a cup, and a piece of fruit. I think the foodstamp office got my information wrong. The lady I spoke to made that estimate based that amount on the assumption I was still working. I later told her that I was not working, but then she didn’t change the amount of foodstamps I was getting. A couple of years ago when I needed foodstamps, my monthly balance would be over $200.00 a month. That was more than enough to keep me fed for a month. Keeping me fed is not an easy task.

I am tempted to go down to the foodstamp office tomorrow, but I hate going to those places. I’ve been down to the public assistance office in Manhattan multiple times, and each time I go, I hate them more. They give me a number, which means I need to sit in a waiting area and wait for my name to be called. That means I need to wait a minimum of two hours as I am forced to watch tv monitors of CNN News. They can’t have on that “biased” Fox News on. It’s CNN all the time. I was just mailed a notification telling me they had sent all my information regarding foodstamps to a new office in Queens. So, I need to find the office in Queens. Will this place be any more efficient? I want to see if they can give me more foodstamps, so that I won’t need to be eating bolony sandwiches and salt-laden Romin soups anymore, or as often. I may be getting more foodstamps tomorrow, from after my last visit to the public assistance office, but I won’t know, and now I can’t view my balance online. I signed up to use a service where I can look up the balance online, but now the system won’t accept the log on information. All this stuff is a pain. I try to get information, I try to get assistance, but the more I try the more trouble I find. It’s like whatever someone tells me won’t be the case, and then someone else will tell me something else I need to do. Then, when I try to explain things to one of these government workers, it’s like they don’t hear me, or don’t want to hear me.

I’m doing my best to dig myself out of this hole, but the more I dig, the worse the outcome seems to be. Will I survive all this? I have no idea. The entire country seems to be in a bind. We just want to work, to have some kind of livelihood. It’s like we can have that. I can’t just have a basic functioning life. I just want to work, be able to feed myself, and have my own place. I don’t care about making lots of money, or having a lot of things. I probably wouldn’t own an iPad unless I specifically need one for work. They are nice toys to play with, but the idea of needing one is far from the truth. Give me books, give me some music–maybe I could have one of those small iPods to play my music, since cds are getting harder to find. Life is just extra difficult during these times. I need to keep reminding myself about this. I always seem to be among the people hit hardest when tough economic times strike. It happened back in the early 90, when the U. S. experienced a recession. I had wanted to get into drafting at the time. I had just finished a 6 month computer aided drafting program and ready to get working. The school promised a high employment rate for people who finished the school I went to. There wasn’t a job to be had anywhere. I had spent $4000 for nothing. There were no jobs in California, where I lived at the time. That was the story of my life.

My prospect can be worse this time. We may never see jobs come back for many years. So many other people and families need jobs. How will I compete? I just think people need to look at the situation differently than in times past. The economy still seems strong. The economy for the people who are working is still stable. I think people need to start rethinking the economy. They need to think in terms of entrepreneurship. There are many different niches for people to specialize in. New technologies are opening up new ways for people to make income. It won’t be easy. It will require people to develop new sets of skills. But the opportunities are there waiting for individuals to utilize their best efforts. I’m remaining hopeful.

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