Why I Do What I Do

As I drove out of the library parking lot yesterday, I saw a woman in a pretty VW Bug out of the corner of my eye. When I drove past, I could she her blond hair, tied up in a wild bun. Every nook and cranny of her car was filled to the brim.

You have to know that this area is a common resting spot for homeless people. The library, community center with an attached park, and a church are on a short cul-de-sac. Behind the library and opposite the church is a large open space—probably over 10 acres. The disenfranchised sleep and congregate in this somewhat ‘hidden’ area. There is plenty of parking space, particularly after hours. During the beginning months of the coronavirus, the county placed hand washing stations and toilets in the library parking lot for the homeless. I live in a small town and the number of homeless is not excessive or out of control. The issue is a constant topic but is more often approached from a genuine place of concern for these individuals than real worry for community safety.

No matter where you stand on the topic–one thing is clear: the coronavirus has exacerbated the homeless situation.

The woman in the car could be any of us.

Later in the day, I listened to professor Amna Akbar speaking about the ‘Cancel Rent Movement’ on NPR. According to Wikipedia, ”This movement advocates for the cancellation of rental payments and suspension of mortgage payments during the coronavirus pandemic.”

As someone who owns rental property, I was immediately alarmed. The rental income we make is a good and steady portion of our yearly income—success of a movement like this would affect my own finances. Yet, I’m torn—I understand that many people are struggling—and of course, I worry for the increasing number of homeless as this pandemic continues.

How do I sort this out?

Again, no matter your opinion on any of these subjects, the answer was loud and clear to me. We must assert ourselves into our own lives. We cannot stand around and wait for the next payment from the government. We must look ahead and plan.

I’ve been missing from this blog, hijacked by the news as it spins out of control, seeping into every dark corner of our current society. I don’t know what to make of it all—I’m pretty even and in the middle. I know that my individual life is vastly different from someone else’s experience. I’m just trying to find the truth somewhere. I listen to both sides of the political spectrum and both sides of often make sense to me. Then I catch what I would call ‘errors.’ Most incorrectness seems to come from ‘clickbait’ titles and a desire to push an agenda, or sweeping generalizations.

As the dust settles I am beginning to see clearly my own ”why.”

I’ve recaptured my goal.

I see it now. Without a vision of what we want to achieve, we tend to flounder. At the most extreme, we procrastinate and give up. A clear goal needs to be specific, but the before that, at the apex of your pyramid, so to speak, you need a clear reason behind your goal.

My reason is financial security. I don’t want a lot of money in the bank so that I can spend it on Prada or a new ‘Lambo’ (as my son calls it.) I’d like enough to pay for medical expenses if I need it. I want a healthy life in every way. All of this takes money. I’ve learned that it is hard to sleep at night if you are worried about money. There is a terror that comes with a low bank account that never seems to get higher—particularly if you are not employed in a regular, salaried job, particularly as your get older, particularly now, during an economic shutdown.

This new pandemic has changed the rules. We are now in the spin cycle and what was once a good career choice—dentist comes to mind—-may not be favorable at the moment. We can ask from our government, but we must also branch out and fend for ourselves. I visualize a tree with branches in all directions, reaching out to bring in nourishment.

I drove past that woman in her shiny, periwinkle-colored VW. Her hair, blond and highlighted—the kind that a salon had dipped their hands into and all of her things, crammed into every square inch of her car. She was young, younger than me. She could be anyone.

My reason is cemented: we must be prepared.

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