Friday, October 29, 2010

Grateful for my Poverty.

Today was a time to be grateful for what little I do have.

My childhood friend called today just to have some one to listen to her and hear her woes. We have talked many times in the last few months since we got reconnected and it has been great getting to know her again, but something in me is off. I feel a great sadness for what all she has been through and what these things have lead her life to. I guess I thought that with age comes wisdom, but for some reason this doesn't seem to be the case. Maybe I said that wrong, it's not that she hasn't learnt wisdom from her experiences, but it doesn't seem to have gotten her to change the path her life has been on for all of her life.

When I first met her she was just as poverty stricken as we were. Only difference was we were a family of 6 and they were just her and her mom. My dad worked his scrawny butt off to provide for his large family and they got a monthly check from the VA. I remember a time when she and I was talking and I learned that the check they got was for a thousand dollars a month. I was in jaw dropping awe! I couldn't understand how come they couldn't make it, when their money was 200 more than dads money. To tell ya the truth I still don't get it.

They rented just like us. They didn't have a car just like us. They struggled for food just like us. And so on and so on. Our lives were nearly exact, except for the size. They moved nearly as much as we did, but for different reasons. Our reason was crappy landlords that didn't want to fix the places up. They moved in the search for something better. At least I think that is why they moved all the time. I can't be positive, it may be something deeper that I never knew about. I do know of a few times it was to get away from all the drama in their lives or to just leave it all behind them and start fresh in a new place. I understand that to a degree, I did the same thing when I moved away from that town and came here.

Any way what I was trying to get at is that for some reason her life hasn't changed at all. They are still in the extreme struggling mode every month. They still move from one place to the next, it is almost as if they get restless after a few years and have to start over in order to keep things in chaos. Her life is chaos to me and for that feeling, I am upset with myself. It was a long time ago that I was in the same situation, but surely I didn't forget. I have become comfortable with my life, stable hubby, stable house, stable income (Most of the time, except for in the winter).

I guess in my mind all them years we were apart, I figured her life to have become like mine. Settled, fixed, stable. I was expecting to hear about her long lasting relationship and the wonderful hubby, the place she has been working, the house they finally found after searching for so long and the kids all doing well in school (even collage perhaps), blah blah blah. Basically I figured her life to actually have turned out better than mine. Reality check, this did not happen for her. None of it actually, except for the good boyfriend for the last 2 years and one child who left home at a young age and got an opportunity for himself and is currently in college. Well at least there is that, right?

For me all the moving around as a child lead me to NEVER want to move! The chaos of boyfriend after boyfriend lead me to hold on tight to the best man I stumbled across. Just kidding but you know what I mean, right?

The finances of poverty lead me to sacrifice all niceties just to make sure the bills were paid and food on the table, for me that comes first above all else! I will wash my hair with dish soap, if that is all I can afford to do. I will not drive my truck more than absolutely necessary (like 8 miles a week, most weeks). I will not eat out, when it is soo much cheaper to eat at home. I will not buy those jeans or tennies I need, if it means not paying something. This is something I have learned (Through our phone convos)that she still hasn't learned.

Like she was just today, returning a wanted item just so she could get some needed items.

My life is not all that it could be, but at least I don't have to worry about paying the bills or having at least some food on the tv tray. Even if we do eat chili or spaghetti three nights in a row or a brisket for a week, at least we have food.

I just never thought our lives would be soo different. I know I have changed and some would say "Hey what happened to that wild and crazy girl?", But I say (after learning what happens if you stay that way) "Thank goodness she got lost somewhere along the way!" I can NOW imagine just how my life would be, if I hadn't had changed my life and mindset around. I would be right there along side her struggling for every morsel, every roof and in as much emotional pain.

Maybe our losing each other way back when was an unforeseen blessing. Is it wrong that I am having a difficult time with all of this? I am finding myself pulling away from talking to her as much and I feel awful about it. Like I am betraying our friendship over something that she has no control over. She is who she is and I feel like I need to step down off my short pedestal and be there for her, but I am finding that difficult without getting angry at her for not trying to change her situation (even just a smidgen). It's like I knew her, but I'm not understanding the woman that she has become. I don't know how to get past this ugly feeling of disappointment.


Well anyway, this has all made just a little more aware of just how grateful I am of how my life is/has turned out and appreciate all the more of what little I do have. It could definitely be worse, as I am slowly remembering (I guess I did kinda forget) and learning.



SuziCate said... [Reply to comment]

You are a person has has learned much in life and are appreciative of those lessons and live your life accordingly...I guess your friend has not. Sometimes, we reconnect with people from our past, and the resulting relationshipe is usually determined by how much you have in common currently. Sometimes, people don't change in the same way and sometimes the changes are so different that even though you care for them, you know the relationship will never resurrect to the same status as before. You are a good person, and there is no harm in feeling disappointed in your friends. You are a good person, Heather.

kendrasue said... [Reply to comment]

I understand the growing out of buying things I want and using that money on things we NEED. That is the hardest part for some people. Working at a bank I see that everyday when people come in complaining about overdrafts but when we look for them what it was that set them off it was for something silly like fast food or liquor stores.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I think the problem is that you matured and she didn't. You should not in any way feel bad. I had a similar situation recently reconnecting with an old school friend I hadn't seen since high school and she still has all this drama in her life and turns out she is really NOT the nice person that I THOUGHT I remembered her to be. We have disconnected our reconnection and I think that is probably a good thing.

You should NOT feel bad. You are a great person and don't let anyone make you think you aren't.

Paula said... [Reply to comment]

I know where you are coming from. A few years ago I reconnected with a classmate. She kept telling me how hard she was having it so I sent her $50.00 thinking for groceries. She wrote back and told me she had her nails done with the money. I don't even have my own nails done. No more money coming from me.

Lucy said... [Reply to comment]

I say "don't feel guilt". You are not going to change her no matter how much you talk. Many would rather live that way and it sound like she does.

rockygrace said... [Reply to comment]

What everybody else said ... we all make our own choices, and she chose a different path from yours. Don't feel guilty about it - be glad for the choices you made!

Carol said... [Reply to comment]

It sounds like the main difference is that you grew up, she did not. Sometimes "going back" just doesn't work out, and then the decision as to whether to continue the relationship has to be made. If you get pleasure from it, continue. If you feel the relationship is helping your friend, continue it for as long as you're comfortable with it. If you think the relationship is enabling your friend, maybe not such a good idea to continue. Or if it's draining you, maybe not such a good idea.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

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Jimmy said... [Reply to comment]

To help someone as you know they must want to change and some people never do, I am snot sure if they just think this is the way it is and don't want to get out and others like us know there is a better way and strive to rise above out hardships by paying our bills on time rather than blowing the money on wants.

As you said there is a big difference in wants and needs and to live a happy life I think if you take care of the needs then a want once in a while is that much more special.

It's hard to not fret about someone like this, friend or family you cant worry about them if they have no desire in changing their ways for the better.

Be proud of yourself because you my Friend know how to live.

Jen said... [Reply to comment]

That's so sad. I've always tried to live beneath my means and save for a rainy day...and I'm so glad I did. It's been raining for a year and a half now...