But what if something is different? What if everything isn't ok? What if the response to 'How are you?' returns "Ok today. Paid the landlord half of the rent that's due for this month, and paid about half on the rest of the bills. That only leaves us with about $100 and if I don't pick up some work soon I don't know what we will do when that runs out. Put in some more applications last week so hopefully will hear back on a job soon!"
What becomes your response then? Do you question further? Do you offer to help? Or do you tell all about your promotion at work and your latest ski trip?
I must admit to being on both sides of that conversation today. Connecting with people that I haven't talked to in a while and not wanting to go into the details of my year or even my current situation; and talking to people who know the situation and tell me to cut the crap when I say everything's fine.
We all have struggles. When we do it's not unusual I don't think to not want to burden others with them. But, as I have been reminded, burdens are lessened when shared.
Back in July I posted to this blog and a little piece of it was:
"The end of March I had to stop taking medication that helped control my bi-polar episodes (a story for a grey winters day) and experience what stopping a narcotic cold turkey is really like, and then learn to manage life without the drugs (an ongoing process). By the end of April I was in the midst of a divorce and trying to manage major changes at home and maintain some sense of stability for the 13 year old that looks to me for it. I allowed these struggles to divert me from my schedule; planting that should have been done in March and April didn't happen until May and June. I managed to make bills (through gifts and grace and savings) for 3 months while I played catch up, working long days to try to get everything back on track. According to my business plan I won't be pulling a wage, even if I had done everything according to plan, for another year at least. I can break even - I can pay for feed and some general expenses, but that's not a living wage. That's not paying rent or keeping the lights on, the water running, all those little necessities. I can put food on the table - that doesn't worry me, but the rest? The rest I consider an epic fail."
That's a part, here's another way to look at it:
- Jan-Feb -- Off to a great start, farm and CSA prepped to go full scale, business class in process, son doing well with home-school Jr High.
- March - medication/illness struggle
- April - Divorce 'announced'; He moved out the beginning of May (His was the only income for the house)
- May, June, July, Aug - paid bills with tax return, inheritance, gifts & savings while looking for work, working the farm and CSA, and trying to figure out how to be a single parent. Divorce was final mid Aug at which point he announced his new girlfriend. May-July finished Jr high (on-line, home-school) with son; applied for high school.
- Sept, Oct, Nov - worked 2 part time minimum wage jobs (about 30 hrs a week between the two), worked the CSA through October, still keeping up the farm animals, still looking for work. Income doesn't equal expenses. October saw some child support, but he quit his job and moved to Oregon with his girlfriend the first of November. Did I mention the pre-teen in the house started high school in September too?
- Dec - laid off from one job; the other is farm work so not much can be done there, very weather dependent. Basically no income this month at all.
In all honesty though that is just the events; that doesn't even begin to describe the long hours of work trying to run a business and take care of animals on top of everything else, the emotional stress, dealing with a pre-teen in turmoil, etc etc.
That's my year. How was yours?
I'll be back later with the flip side! Remember: 'It's all good!'