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Too broke for Christmas

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Jack Burton, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. Jack Burton

    Jack Burton New Member

    The past few years, as money got tighter because I kept blowing more on stupid shit like hospital bills and medicine, my family and I did the roundabout discussion of "oh, don't spend money on me for presents if money is tight, I understand." Of course, every year, we always did presents anyway. Usually, each year the presents got smaller and cheaper, then became present -- singular.

    Even so, I started asking them to put money toward presents for my brother's kids. They're still well into Santa-believing age, so Christmas means more to them than it does to me these days. (We're not very religious, so Christmas was a secular thing growing up.)

    This year, I'm not screwing around. We're out of money. We've literally got $5 in the bank and no credit. My wife's pay covers our bills, but with my health putting me out of work, there's nothing left over. There goes Christmas. I called my family to tell them: honest to God, this year I'm broke. Don't expect anything.

    Still, they'll send me presents, and I'll feel bad that I can't spare money on them right now. I get depressed, I refuse to put up decorations, I sulk in my house. Same thing happened last year. This year, I'm not decorating because I've got to start packing to move somewhere cheaper.

    I just needed somewhere to vent.
  2. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Happy Thanksgiving!
  3. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I can understand feeling down, and even the sulking.

    But, as you said, your wife's pay is covering the bills. If you have food on the table and the people around you are healthy. ... well, in between feeling down, I hope you don't forget to feel good about the things worth feeling good about, too.

    In the grand scheme of things (and I'm not just saying this to make you feel better), nobody who cares about you is going to be judging you by a present you can or can't afford to buy -- especially if you have been in poor health and are out of work. It's relatively meaningless when you measure things.

    You're born, you live, you die. The game, I think, is to make the "you live" part as relatively happy for yourself as you can. That's the part you can control. Sometimes, you can't control getting sick or hitting a bad stretch financially, but to a greater degree than we all sometimes feel. ... you can control how happy you allow yourself to be.

    When you go, it's the "you lived" part that will determine how good you made your life. Not how good the presents you got people were or how much money you had in your bank account at any given time in your life.

    I hope you have a better Thanksgiving than you the 11:34:09 PM you were having.
  4. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    Always look on the bright side of life... (whistle whistle...)

    I am hitting a flat spot too lately - some money issues, some work issues, but overall, I hope things will work out better in the near future.

    Hang in there brother!
  5. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    Wonderful words, Ragu... (thank you)
  6. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Wow. That makes everyone feel better. Can you be more condescending?

    Too bad Jack has to spend money on "stupid shit like hospital bills and medicine"

    Too bad he's not a Canadian
  7. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    I agree.
    You can't just plow through being indigent.
    Can't put a happy face on not being able to foot the power bill when it's 25 degrees out.
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    If you took "plow through being indigent" from what I wrote, then either I wasn't clear or you weren't reading. Thankfully the OP wrote that he wasn't indigent, by the way, which was the first thing I took note of before posting.

    Everyone has rough patches in life. The one thing you can try to control is how you mentally deal with whatever gets thrown at you.

    Financial problems at Christmas make people feel down. In my experience, those are the moments that it is particularly important to take a step back and try to reign in the ONE thing you can control -- your outlook. That is not a trite "think positively." We all know that is really hard to do, so I would never post that and just leave it at that.

    But to some degree (actually a fairly great degree for most people, I believe), it really is true that you are as happy as you allow yourself to be. And that is the trick in life as I see it. It's why you find miserable-as-shit people whose bank accounts are flush, for example, and people who don't have a pot to piss in who walk around without a care in the world.

    If you have been sick and you are out of work and money is tight. ... my post wasn't the trite, "put a happy face in it," you apparently got from it. You can acknowledge a reality that is difficult. ... but not let yourself spiral mentally because you are feeling down (what I was trying for).

    I am certain JR will find that suggestion condescending, but there isn't an ounce of patronizing or superior in me typing that. I live it, just as everyone else does. It's my realization that two people with equally as shitty circumstances (or conversely, what look like equally as as charmed lives) will often have different outlooks toward their fortunes. One will seem happy. One will be miserable and negative all the time.

    I've worked hard at keeping perspective in my life, as have others on here I am sure. When I am in negative mode, I try to step back and remind myself that things are not as bad as they seem (again, not trite, because it really is true), and I remind myself that the good times really were never as great as you make them out to be when you are feeling down.

    If you can be successful at keeping your mental outlook at an even keel, it can be the difference between spiraling into depression. ... or allowing yourself to enjoy life as much as possible regardless of what gets thrown at you. And that is the game, as far as I am concerned.

    It's my tailored version of what a buddhist might tell you is the objective reality we are all living regardless of what is swimming around in our heads. ... and how to try to free yourself of suffering (what I believe the buddhist would call it).
  9. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    Well said, Ragu. I find your comments helpful.
  10. HC

    HC Well-Known Member

    Ragu - I think that's a great message. I've spent most of my life pretty broke (being in the arts and all) and my family stopped expecting Christmas (or birthday) gifts from me long ago.

    Jack, the best gift you can give your family is to let THEM be good to YOU. And I mean that sincerely.
  11. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    If you're too broke for Christmas, you're taking Christ out of Christmas.
  12. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    I think having five bucks to your name at any given time is indigence. That is pretty severe.
    Fart has been there before and it is not pleasant.
    It does make your financial restoration all the more gratifying, needless to say.
    Because I was like the original poster, I am ever guarded of the resources I pieced together.
    No amount of stick-to-it-iveness pulls you through his shitstorm other than a break falling your way.
    Asrael was right - the bootstraps notion is contemptible horseshit.
    I am sorry if I read that where it didn't exist.
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