I am getting older. I used to be able to work hard and give a lot of time and energy. Now even a smaller workload wears me out. At my last job in women’s retail clothing, I used to joke that I got paid so little that I might end up homeless, but at least I would be well-dressed.
Well, here I am. Homeless but well-dressed.Not yet a senior, I have fallen into the cracks somewhat. I was in so much pain that all I could do was go home after work and go to bed.I quit my job,with the intention of finding a new one. I managed to pay my rent with money from the insurance company pay-out when my car was damaged and written off. I used up savings, and an income tax return. The only trouble was the money didn’t quite come in at the right time and my rent checks bounced. Add NSF fees and the debts soon piled up.It doesn’t take long when you live paycheck to paycheck, infact things happen very quickly. Communication was poor, intentions were misinterpreted, and checks for assistance were held back because some small detail was missed..My rent was late three months in a row. I got evicted.
In retrospect, I went to the doctor after I quit my job, long after.Not a smart move. I did not know the language or how to advocate for my needs. I said I was in pain, that I hurt all over, not too specific.After running out of money,nagging the doctor,and taking a document from social services for a medical note, I started to make progress.It was decided “to look into things further.” I had to get a diagnosis in order to justify writing a medical note for sick benefits. Magic words.
I have moderate arthritis in both knees and one hip and mild arthritis in one knee.I am not severely handicapped but it limits me.I now have a reason for quitting my job, the pain, a diagnosis.But what a battle to get there! Due to seemingly endless red tape, trips back and forth to government workers,doctors and employers for missing records of employment,bad timing and decisions on my behalf, I ended up losing my apartment and all of my furniture.
I have lost all my furniture because there was neither anyone to help me move the larger items nor any place to store it.I worked hard to buy that furniture, and yes, worked hard to hang onto it the last move I made just nine months ago.I have lost my belongings at least three times in the last ten years and really didn’t feel like I had another move in me, let alone the energy to rebuild.I got lots of art materials that stand dormant because I don’t have the space to store it properly and use it.There is lots that I need to let go of, yet I would like some money for these items. I never seem to find time to sell stuff, what usually happens is I eventually get fed up and give it away.
My thing are packed. I have been staying on my friend’s couch the past week and am ready to go to the next place. I have applied for some jobs. I will be going to the doctor again to get a specific date for return to new work.. I have gone to the employment centre to clarify what documents they want in order to grant me sick benefits.I was told that Social Services would pay for my damage deposit but I didn’t find a place to live and now I am not on Social Assistance because Employment Insurance kicked in (3 months after I applied).
My wages have not gone up in relation to the cost of living. My last job in retail paid less than what I made 12 years ago. I can no longer work in home care or other service positions -my body just can’t keep up the pace.Apartments and rooms have gone up in price, with a bachelor starting anywhere from $850 to $1,000.a month and a one bedroom averaging from $1200 to over $2,000. Yes, you can find them a lot cheaper, but they are few and far between or often bug and mold-infested.I am not old enough to qualify for most senior’s accommodations.But there are some that I do qualify for and I will check them out.
So what is my point here? I am not making a plea for money,no not at all. I don’t want your pity,does me no good. Maybe I am venting to release my own self pity and anger-I have been SO angry and have at times hit the depths of despair.I am going to have to give up a lot and the struggle is not over yet. I still have hope, although feelings of fear and rage and faith have ebbed and flowed like waves on a stormy sea.
I may not be able to post my photo blogs as I will not have access to computers that allow me to upload photos.That’s tough.My creative juices feed my soul.
One step at a time, one day at a time, I will get through this.I am asking that people be compassionate toward those in trouble,because, as Oprah said many years ago,most of us are just one paycheck away from homelessness.We are not all lazy bums but we could get that way It is always tempting to give up.
I am older.It is harder.this is nothing new in our society and with the economy on a downward ebb,it is going to get worse for a while. If I haven’t lost you by now, here are some suggestions for readers to ponder , because we all know someone who is going through difficult times.:
Instead of just saying you’ll pray for someone or wish them good luck, DO something.Simply making a promise to pray for someone or to wish them good luck is so empty .
Share a couch with a friend for a week.
Help them look for a place.
Offer to help with a move
Help with packing and taking stuff to charity because they need to let go of stuff.
Take them out for a meal or coffee
Be with them.Talk. Listen.
Be realistic and clear about boundaries around what you are able to give or not give regarding expectations, time, food.
Thank you for listening.It helps.Hopefully this will help someone else that is going through the process of just trying to get some help changing their job.
My next post will be on the topic of gratitude.Hopefully I will get out in nature and take some photos. Till then.