Now comfortably at the in-laws place in Lafayette, Indiana, my wife and I have finally found a bit of time to go over our bills and try to find ways to cut our already thin budget. Without going into the ugly (and boring) details, the grim economy is starting to hit us (like everyone) pretty hard, with delayed paychecks, a lost client and persistently higher necessity costs (health care, heating, etc).
Ahhh, the oh-so-glam life of a progressive writer and a social work student. But then, this was the economically destabilizing decision I made for myself when I opted to leave the safer confines of D.C. and become a writer, and my wife made when she decided to make her life social work. We made these decisions with open eyes, and I for one wouldn't take them back (he says, with a stiff upper lip, mostly certain of his declaration).
Things are tough out there right now, and I am thankful they aren't tougher for us. We still have health care and a roof over our head. That's more than a lot of people can say. But for the first time in my adult life, my biggest fears - losing health care and losing my home - suddenly feel a whole lot more real. I'm not saying I'm at Defcon 1 (ie. no health care and foreclosure), but I think my economic situation has moved from Defcon 5 (not really worried) down to Defcon 3 (fairly worried). It's scary, and if I'm not around here as much in the next few weeks, it's only because I am trying to do some extra work to make ends meet.
Lots of people have misconceptions about the situations of others. Lots of commenters, for instance, make comments that subtly imply that because I'm in the media every now and again, I'm living in a mansion with my own chef, sleeping in silk pajamas on a fancy temperpedic bed. I have a good life, no doubt - good in that I have a great family and a dog and my health. But during these economic times, we should all remember not to make hasty judgment about the situation of others, whether me or anyone else.
As I said, it's tough out there. Be thankful for what you have - because these days, you may not have it tomorrow.
UPDATE: I didn't think to add this in, because I didn't write this post as a lamentation or a fundraising appeal - I wrote it as something of a Thanksgiving meditation on how we should all appreciate what we have. That said, if you want to support the kind of work I do (as opposed to me personally), consider subscribing or donating to In These Times. I always have to remind myself there's no shame in promoting good progressive institutions (I should know that reflexively - I started out in politics as a fundraiser for a Democratic congressional candidate!).