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Get up and dust off

sun beams

Everyday is a new day, a part of my inner head says to me in the morning as I reach for my coffee, desperately attempting to wake up. At times I swat that thought away, but there are other times I take comfort in it.

After writing my previous post, I felt relieved. I had been holding that in for a while and it had bubbled up to the surface. I felt like I was going to burst. Writing is therapeutic, but I’m the type of person who has to sometimes throw it out into the world (so please forgive me if what I wrote was too heavy).

I also think that so many of us are in this particular financial situation. At least people from my generation. I usually describe us as “middle class poor.” Meaning we tend to live paycheck to paycheck and just barely get by. Sometimes we may even be able to save, if we’re lucky.

The up and coming generation isn’t so lucky. I have met several young adults in their early to mid-20s who still live with family because they can’t afford a place on their own (and really I see no problem with that). They are usually embarrassed, but I tell them not to be. I say they are lucky to have those people in their lives who are willing to help them.

There is a very serious economic situation not only in the US, but around the world. We do live in a world where the rich have gotten quite plump in the bank and would like to suck us dry, even more. The poor are in such a desperate situation that they are usually unable to get out of their own economic crisis (and this is sadly passed on to their children).

I’ve always believed – and still strongly do – that we have to help each other out. We need to help those who are less fortunate than us. As the saying goes, it takes a village.

That village, though, is something people have lost along the way somehow. Not all, but many. In some places we’ve lost that sense of community. I’m not necessarily only talking about giving money to charities or volunteering. I’m talking more about helping those who are close to us – neighbors, friends, family.

While at times we can get up and dust ourselves off, sometimes we need to lend a hand to those who can’t do it by themselves. And sometimes, we’ll need others to reach out to us and help us get back up again.

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Glad it helped to write that last post. Sometimes just saying stuff out loud helps a lot. I wish you luck on making that plan.

    While we have many blessings to be thankful for, we also wish that we weren’t living paycheck to paycheck. Again, lots of people living paycheck to paycheck are far worse than we are. Some people don’t even have the luxury of a paycheck. Nevertheless, we do need to support one another. The economy isn’t just made up of one person or one social-economic class, though I’m sure the most of the 1% couldn’t care less about us 99%.

    March 16, 2015
    • Marie #

      I’m guessing most of that 1% probably doesn’t. As you said, the economy isn’t just made of one person/socio-economic class, but so so many. Thanks Lisa!

      March 16, 2015
  2. San #

    I am also glad you wrote this last post, Marie. I love it when someone is so brutally raw and honest. We can all learn from that.
    And yes, community…. that sense has been lost for a lot of people (especially in this country! When I hear one more time that people don’t want to pay into a universal healthcare system because somebody might benefit from the contributions that they have put in while they might not need the system at all, I am going to punch someone! What about the sense of security and relief that you’ll always be taken care of, NO MATTER WHAT? Is that worth nothing anymore??? I don’t get it.)

    “Middle class poor” is a very good phrase. I mean, it’s so true. What’s considered middle class these days, definitely can’t afford the things that they middle class could a couple of decades ago. To see the rich get richer (usually by not even moving their pinky finger), while accusing the less fortunate of being lazy makes me so mad!!!

    March 16, 2015
    • Marie #

      Ugh! I know. It’s pretty terrible. I think we need to rebuild that sense of community again.

      March 16, 2015
  3. In so many ways, yes yes yes, I agree.

    BUT, I think there is a context issue that is missing here. My parents grew up in the Washington DC suburbs (born in the mid-to-late 1940s, so their childhoods were squarely in the 1950s and 60s). They described their childhoods as solidly middle class. My dad said it was a huge deal when his parents were able to buy the family a house, buy a car and, oh my goodness, buy their very first color TV – that was a HUGE deal. My mom’s parents were also middle class and NEVER bought a home; they always lived in apartments. For both families, taking a vacation somewhere more than a couple hours drive was a luxury. I don’t know what my grandparents’ savings situations were like, but I know they didn’t pass down an enormous inheritance when they passed. They lived comfortably, on modest means with modest expectations.

    The middle class today? I dunno. I think we expect so much more than the middle class of 50 years ago. We expect to be able to buy homes and cars. We expect to be able to buy all the modern technologies. Many of us expect to be able to take vacations to far away places, certainly more than once a lifetime. And maybe “expect” is a strong word, but society certainly puts those expectations on us – to be normal, to maintain normal relationships with our peers, we need to spend a certain baseline (without a cell phone, how does one text friends? without a computer or smart phone, how does one email? etc.). So, I don’t know – I wonder if calling us the “middle class poor” is the right terminology vs. just saying that the middle class of today faces a very different set of circumstances than the middle class of a half century ago?

    In any case, YOU, my dear, are very brave for discussing something that hits so close to home in such a public forum. I adore you for it. And I wish more people believed in the concept of the village. I mean, I think most people do believe in such a concept. Just, some people would say their village = their family, whereas other people would push the boundaries of the definition way beyond one’s bloodline.

    March 16, 2015
    • Marie #

      I completely agree with you. We do have some pretty high expectations compared to our parents and grandparents (and before that). We want everything now and immediately (which always reminds me of the Louis CK bit where he talks about looking up something on a smartphone but not getting the information immediately and how we get annoyed by stuff like that).

      At the same time though, there are things which have become exorbitant like education for example, which puts us (or some of us) in a lot of debt that either takes a long time to get out of or sometimes people are just unable to get out of it. There’s also things we take for granted like an internet connection, which people need to get a job, fill out forms, etc. Cable bills keep climbing every year and that impacts people (for example, we actually cut our tv cable long ago but kept internet and it’s still pricey). Another example, and this is very specific to our area as I cannot speak to other parts of the US, where we live, it’s actually cheaper to buy a place than to rent over the long run (if you can put down the money). The reason is rent increases at a ridiculous rate annually which leads to people moving every 1-2 years because at a certain point they can’t afford it. (Don’t get me started on gentrification in the DC metro area.)

      I can see what your parents are talking about in regards to growing up in the DC suburbs during the 50s and 60s. However, it was very, very, very different back then to what it is now. I know people who were born here and grew up here and for one, you did need a car (still do) in the suburbs because metro didn’t come along (out in VA and MD) until the 60s and 70s. Plus it was nowhere near as developed as it is now (including roads). Also some technology is actually more affordable now because there is more of it (that’s more of the market at work). So while a VCR or betamax was pricey back then, you can get a more affordable DVD/blue ray player if you wanted to now for a pretty decent price. (Granted, you don’t have to.)

      As for us, Matt and I haven’t taken a vacation out of the state of Virginia together (as in traveled somewhere on a plane) since 2011. And that was probably the only time we did so in our relationship. We didn’t even go anywhere on a honeymoon nor did I ever insist on an engagement ring when we got engaged because I thought that was a waste of money. We don’t care to travel that much and know that it’s a luxury. We take more affordable day trips here and there or stay overnight somewhere that we can drive to, but that’s about it.

      It comes down to (for us) can we pay our bills (electric, gas, phone – no landline, mortgage, student loans, car, taxes) and still be able to buy food? That’s where comfort lies. And all of that nowadays? Is definitely a luxury to many.

      March 17, 2015
  4. It takes a village, indeed. But what constitutes said “village”? I’m not sure who my village would be.

    March 17, 2015
    • Marie #

      I’d think it would be made up of family, friends, possibly people in a community. It can vary so much. I’m not entirely sure who it would be for me to be honest.

      March 17, 2015
  5. I’ve been searching for my village too. The problem is that I’m too damn busy to build it, let alone sustain it! 😦

    PS. Loved your honesty. It is good to vent and also realize you are not alone!

    March 18, 2015
    • Marie #

      Thanks lady. I wonder also if the sense of “village” may not necessarily be the one that is physically around us, but one that we can build over thousands of miles via the internet. I’ve seen so many instances when people rally from all over if someone is need of support (not necessarily financial).

      March 18, 2015

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