I am 60+ and the worst thing about poverty at my age is that I’ve finally run out of time to climb out of it. Raised in it, married to it, dealt with a lifetime of events that ensured I stay in it. I accept it. I don’t have anyone dependent on me and that makes it easier. But not OK. Yes, I lived in my beater car for a while, then on a couple of couches when the car finally died…I managed to stay one step away from homelesss and it was a wolf howling at the door for a very long time. Now, I live on a social security check that I EARNED with all my crap jobs, and can finally breathe a little. If I watch every penny, and I mean that literally, I can live on that. I live cheap, obviously, but I live in the mountains. It’s beautiful and I can enjoy that for free. I close off as much as I can in the winter and one tank of gas lasts all season. It’s not a big house. I don’t travel except online. Yes, that’s my one big luxury, $40 a month for internet.
I have seen, and lived with, terrible poverty my entire life. It has never made much difference who was in The Big House. I can look back and identify choices I thought were good choices, given the information I had, but ultimately weren’t what I should have done to gain a better financial position. I did not have children, and it was a choice, because I was poor. That’s the only decision I ever made that was ultimately a good one. Looking back, I can see what I SHOULD have done. It’s been a long journey, and although my knowledge won’t do me any good now, I wish there were someone out there I could help with it. Sadly, I doubt anyone wants to listen to advice from someone who doesn’t even own a reliable car.
Excellent piece, Mike. Well written, heart wrenching.