I'm broke, again ... and this makes me very anxious.
This is not the first time in my life I've reached financial ruin - I was completely broke, and went bankrupt, after I left the U.S. Army in 1999. I didn't really acquire any real credit card debt, individually, between that time and my divorce in 2013. I paid off that debt, the debt from the year after my divorce, in 2015, and then started saving.
2016 was a disaster, 2017 was really no improvement, and now, at almost 50 years of age, I'm broke, again.
I'm not blaming anyone - this is due to my own misjudgment. In the current case, this was due to trusting a whole bunch of people I should NEVER have trusted. So now, I'm not simply financially crippled, I'm also socially traumatized, and I simply don't know if I'll get over the "trust deficit" I now have.
There is this general anxiety about being financially insolvent, on a personal basis, when you are at mid-age. I was supposed to have kids in college, a home paid off, and tons of money saved for retirement (I have a story about this): Retirement ...
I was supposed to have my life together, by now ... to be "totally in the zone" and have mastered my domain and crap.
But none of this happened, and this is not the fault of anyone but myself. Sure, reality hasn't exactly been "helpful" to the white-hetero-male, but reality hasn't been helpful to lots of people. I was supposed to work in Seattle, make my 90K/year, buy a duplex for rental income purposes, have 1.5 kids and 1.03 dogs (0.0005 cats). This was what should have happened - but it didn't (so very sad).
Truly, I feel this anxiety of "being broke", because by Seattle standards (or the standards of most dwindling middle-class enclaves in America) I am a failure - pure, simple, unadulterated, failure.
I know I need to get over this - I will blow every interview I have if I don't ... but it's hard, for me, personally. I never really had much self-esteem, and I never developed a healthy way of looking at "pride in oneself".
Optimism doesn't really work for me either. I have a hard time saying "well, at least I'm alive" - because then comes the question "for what purpose?". Am I alive simply for the purpose of earning enough money to "stay alive"? If that's the case, life really is a nonsensical Camus-like wheel of nothing (meh).
Any who - I know I'm not alone in being 48 years old, and financially a mess. I know there are others, and several of them have kids, and are dealing with financial ruin. Lots of sad, angry, miserable people out there, these days ... (not to mention the homeless people). So, yes - my situation could be far worse and yet, I feel this anxiety, a sense that I am a leper by the standards of my community.
So here I am ...
In Seattle ...
A burnout middle-age'd software engineer ...
Not yet defeated or completely degraded ...
But I do feel like a leper - a gross reminder of how near financial calamity might be, no matter how perfect you are or how flawed. Nobody wants to see this, if their own "financial ship" is still above water, not leaking or listing.
(and nobody really likes lepers)