After all these months of fighting to stay in my apartment, pay my bills, and keep my car; all the things that come with being an adult living on your own, I have lost the battle. I have managed to stay put with help of friends, and a little luck here and there.
But now, the house of cards has fallen in and I have no way to continue as I have been.
My paychecks will come too late. They won’t cover the bills I have coming due. Even if I end up having enough, the rent will be late, and late fees will be charged. I will be perpetually behind, racking up late fees as I go, getting further and further behind.
Understand, I am not ‘living large’. I have rent, cheap internet, a car payment, a cell phone and one credit card with a low balance due and that is not used. Beyond that is food for me and my remaining dog (I lost my older dog to kidney failure last week).
I shop carefully. I rarely buy extras or rent movies. I don’t have cable.
I have the next two days off. They will be spent packing, sorting and looking for a storage unit for the few things I will keep. I will also have to draft a letter to my landlord explaining the situation and hope he is willing to not charge me the late fee, and, perhaps be a little understanding. I have no intention of stiffing him, but the money will be late.
I will sell almost all of my furniture, and anything else I don’t need and that can be replaced at a later date. Some things I will donate to the mission or food pantry (they also have household items to offer). The rest will be packed up and stored. A few things will go in my car for the trip north.
I have a friend who is willing to share what little she has with me. I won’t have to live in my car. I won’t have to be alone. I won’t have to struggle every minuet of every day wondering how to survive. I will homeless, but sheltered. I will be one of the lucky ones.
I will also become a statistic. I will be one of thousands of older women who is homeless. I will be one of thousands who are employed and are yet homeless.
I am not eligible for social security for 12 years.
So for the next 12 years, and most likely beyond, I must find a way to survive in a country with housing costs that do not match the current wages. I must work to find employment in a world that seems to believe anyone over 50 can not do a job as well as someone younger. I see more and more older people working at fast food restaurants and Wal Mart type stores. Why? Because we are ‘over qualified’ to do clerical work. Because employers want a ‘long term’ employee, even though employees stays at any given job for an average of just 4 years. Because the economy forced too many people back into the workforce to make ends meet.
I will do what I must, and hope things will improve. I will have friendship and sharing. We will both learn to live in small quarters and look out for each other.
Two older women learning anew how to live in a throw away world.