I got paid today.
Should be good news, right? So why is my mood in a tailspin?
Over the past nine months, I think I've done a pretty good job at keeping my chin up, but today I'm in a funk. A deep, deep funk. The paycheck I received today will likely be the highest I'll receive in my current situation. They're very watchful of their part-timers' hours over at the new place. Anyway, looking at the latest check, and putting it up against typical bills and expenses it means that I'm now living in the majority.
I'm now living paycheck to paycheck.
I don't expect sympathy from anyone reading this, nor do I want any. I've been able to put away some money through the years, but I didn't plan to tap into it at 42. Kind of like the strategic petroleum reserve. It's there, but the last thing you want to do is use it. I look at the money in my checking account as the only money I have, and it's figuratively circling the drain. What put me over the edge about this? I need my rear brakes replaced. Nine months of convincing myself things were good, and one car repair pushed my fragile psyche over the brink.
I haven't taken the car in for an estimate yet, but after doing so well the past couple of months, all it takes is one brake job to wipe it all away. Between the cost of the brake job and rent, the entire paycheck I received today has been wiped out. By the time I get paid again, that check (which will be smaller than today's) will go toward groceries, electricity, phone, gas, water, and maybe the occasional sandwich at Quizno's. Then the cycle repeats itself.
Repeating: I don't expect/want sympathy. What depresses me the most is that as you get older, you're suppose to be moving away from the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. I'm going backwards. I saved when I was younger, and am barely staying afloat into middle age. That's not how they draw it up. I saw a feature on Channel 8 about how Nevada Job Connect is figuratively (I know I just used that word earlier, but indulge me. I'm hurting) bursting at the seams with people looking for work. I've never identified more with those people as I did this morning, not even when I was unemployed. My paychecks aren't much, but I do have a job and it's a job that I like. I guess in that way, I'm ahead. Ok, starting to feel a little better.
At least until I get the estimate on the brakes.