After reading a few of the stories on here, I sympathize with everybody's plights and pray for them. I too am going thru my own bout of challenges in life.
I am a single white male, 41 years old, married once, but got out of the marriage because I felt it would never work. I been single for the last 10 years. I do not have dog, but a nice parakeet. I have a caring roommate and family that tries to help out as much as possible.
So basically this site is about people's misfortunes, so I figure I would start with the negatives and work my way into the positives. Basically, my life has been challenging thru most of my 41 years, born in 1970. Used to get bullied, had a car accident that nearly took my life in '79. Moved around 5 or 6 times from town to town, state to state. Went thru one career possibility after the next. Same goes with relationships and a few friendships. When I hit my 24th birthday I started playing with student loans, then progressed into Credit card debt, and then a car loan. Then I lost my job back in 1999 and a couple years later, not only did I went bankrupt, but also had my car repossed by the bank that gave me the loan.
I got a case of infidelity during my separation, but remained strong and managed to get out with my skin. I used up my federal student loan money for bills, and so at this point I am close to my Associates Degree at the school I attended, but cannot go any further. When good times came, I squandered those away with my old spending habits, and sat on my butt sometimes and made every excuse in the book to not take advantage of opportunities that came my way.
This was going on from 1988-2005. My real troubles came along when I racked up a few traffic fines, never stayed on top of the maintenance on my 12 year old then Honda Civic. The money I saved up and compiled I had to use for bills. When I lost one good paying job and eventually some other apprenticeships came along, I never bothered to jump on it, because with good times, I figure I could try my thing with banking and so forth. Meanwhile, I would complain and just worry about what other people have and not what I would have. Everything from money on down to women. Once my income started declining, and I started having more bad luck than good luck, then I was beginning to fall into a cycle of bad luck. I took the smaller problems and made them into bigger ones. 2005-07 were small problems that I turned into bigger problems. I made a mountain of small problems that was a mole hill, into a mountain of huge debt and problems. Summer of 2007 was probally where I sunk to my lowest point in my life at age 36. Single, no girlfriend, old car needed lots of work. I not only lost my good paying manufacturing job, but I left Walmart of 3 years for Target, only to find out 2 weeks later, that because of my attendance of tardiness, I ended up losing my job. So I owed on two credit cards, and then a month into my new job on the way to the bank, I got another ticket and fine and had to hire a lawyer to get me out of the bind.
Eventually once I got the situation settled and the charges dropped because of technicality and no fault on my own, I had to sit down and take a long hard look in the mirror at my own life.
First thing I had to do was what was the cause of my problems. It was mainly my attitude. Being off my prescription, cause I am ADD, I also had no insurance at the time. I was really learning my way around and getting therapy which I started going to in 2005 when I lost my good paying job. I started the long winding process of climbing back from the ashes and learning patience and a better attitude of being appreciative of things. Things since 2007, have been uphill, then flatlines out, then goes down a bit and then back up more. Then once 2008 came, the great recession hit and because I was dealing with a very difficult boss, I ended up quitting. I lost my benefits, except for my medicaid. I had to sell my car because I could not afford to keep it. Eventually from Spring of 2009 to October 2009, I was unemployed and could not find a job. Then I found a warehousing job. It brought me back from the ashes. I then got very confident in myself and started spending money a bit like I used to and fell back into taking things for granted a bit, but not like I used to. Eventually I got enrolled in a program for people with disabilities, VESID here in NY. I tried for CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). After 3 attempts, on my third try just before my 40th birthday, I passed the test and was certified. Then I fell in love once again to a nice filipina girl.
Things for a few months seemed to go good. But then 2011 came along and started off good, but then as I got into my field of work, and got out of my warehousing job, and put all my eggs in one basket with the CNA job, without a car, it was very difficult to ride a bike up hills every morning, but that was the only way I could get to work on time. i took a day off due to the fact I was not feeling well, my uncle was sick and dying of cancer, and felt I needed time to rethink what direction my life was going. I come back a day later, and the director of nursing pulls me out of my culinary class as this was a requirement for a shabazim, and told me that since I violated the attendance rule, and that they could not reschedule the class, I was going to be of no use to the green houses. I felt though that they did not do all they could to keep me there, and I felt like they were just trying to find any way to get rid of me. That hot sunny day in early August, I went home in humiliation and sadness. That same day, I lost service to my iphone, thanks to AT&T. They still charged me for a month of service I could never use. For a couple days I felt sorry for myself.
Then like usual, I picked myself up and dusted myself off and decided it was time for a new direction in my life and see what positives I possess that could make my life a difference. First thing I did was get rid of the AT&T contract, then switch over to a Trac Phone. Then I used Assurance Wireless so I would have phone service. My roommate has agreed to let me stay for free, till I get back on my feet. My parents and sister and other friends have been supportive. As for school, well I maxed out my federal loans, but when I finished out my last semester in 2007, I still have 3-4 courses remaining till I can graduate with an Associates Degree. I am not discouraged.
As for my love life, I felt since I had not met the girl yet in person and was in some ways paying for her room and board, I felt till I meet someone in person, and know them well enough, I felt it was really not a real relationship at all despite me talking to her on the phone, and falling in love with her. I took a leap of faith those months and felt I made a difference in making sure she did not go homeless. Were back to being friends, but I feel as time goes by and I remain unemployed for the time being thanks in part to the economy, she will find someone else, but I feel in my heart, that I did the right thing by breaking it off, and if she truly loves me and wants me, she will have to have faith. Anyway, as for my uncle his cancer got so bad that he passed on a few weeks later and at least the benefit of being unemployed was I had a chance to spend time with family.
As for compensation, it is tough in New York because if you get fired, usually the unemployment agencies, and department of labor side with the companies and corporations and feel you were negligent, so I never wasted my time to appeal it. I just sucked it up and moved on. I feel that there had to be a good reason why this person who makes a good salary sitting on his/her behind would determine I was negligent for taking a day off to rest when I needed it for my health, to be there for my family. As far as I am concerned it is water underneath the bridge and time to look toward the future.
I even had a chance to participate in a protest because of the fact that even employers like Mcdonalds, and Burger King in my area, had Now Hiring signs up, the management was just sitting on their behinds and not giving you any answer into whether they would take a chance on you. The protesting part, at Occupy movements, came in when I applied for a job I was perfectly qualified for educationally, experience and so forth, and yet being a Veteran, and staying away from gangs, drugs, and so forth, I still felt the day I got a phone call from one of the temp agencies stating I was not a good fit, it enraged me and so I went out with a sign on my coat on a nice October Sunday, and protested. I just felt that the income gap and income inequality was so big in 2011 compared to 1981, that I felt my voice could no longer be silent, and for those nice long 4 hours, I just felt practicing my first amendment right that the fore fathers of the US granted in our constitution.
Constitution for people like me and everybody who is natural born it felt pretty damn good for the first time in my life to voice my opinion. Got a few boos of course with people in their $100,000 cars, but I just smiled and looked at them and said to myself that they were ignorant to the fact that unless it happens to them, they will never know what its like to have to struggle and be on food stamps and so forth.
So with this free time, I have my days where I am lonely and feel depressed and even contemplated suicide, but in reality would never go thru with it because I know god would judge me for taking away the greatest thing he gave me-life.
To sum it up in a nutshell, my situation is no different or unique than the next person's. I feel that if anything in order to grow, we need to sometimes be brought back down to reality and start anew again. This is the cycle of life. Sometimes life is cruel, but it is what we make of it, that determines the level of severity I think. I feel that with the free time, I have decided to look at what I have and be thankful and not worry about what I do not have. I think US society and the ones who run it, fail to realize this and society teaches us falsely that to be like everybody you have to spend money and make a lot of money and look handsome and have a degree at Harvard and be a doctor or lawyer or whatever. I feel how that perception thank god is being perceived finally is outdated and out of touch with the times. I have a sense of direction in my life and happy to say, I have no more credit card debt, no traffic fines, no big bills of any kind, my student loan debt under control, and once I get working, I can finally start saving for a car, and also going thru hard economic times the last 4-6 years, I feel it has made me a much better and smarter person. I am not out of the woods yet, but I can be thankful for my good health, and know that a good job will come my way, and that someday that nice beautiful filipina woman will be in my arms to give me love and me love to her.
God has a plan for me and all of us. I don't speak for everybody, but I just felt that I wanted to tell my bad experiences and what I made a good use out to help me grow in life. I find that failure and hard times can be your best tools or resources and teachers in helping you get ahead, the key thing for me is keep my attitude at home and in check, make work a priority, when I have a decent woman in my life, show appreciation for her company and efforts and appreciate her in my life. Like the James Quincy Song goes, "100 Ways". "If she wants to goto one more store, go all the way..." Like my old pastor would say, if we as men do not learn from history, were forced to repeat it. The key thing in my situation is to learn from it and not repeat it. Final word I leave off, Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on myself. God bless and have a great day all, and never give up hope. God bless and have a great holiday season and happy 2012!! :)