Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The "Just Not Quite"

All my life I have had this intrusive feeling that I am just not quite... fill in the blank. In school, I remember being in honors/gifted classes, but always getting good grades, but "just not quite" the best I thought I should be earning. My family was always pretty well-off, but "just not quite" well-off enough to buy me an American Girl doll or a TV for my room. As a musician, I have had the training to make me "just not quite" good. I have always had an easy time attracting people, whether friends or partners, but when it comes down to maintaining those relationships, I am "just not quite" sane enough or "just not quite" controlled enough or "just not quite" outgoing or sensitive or consistent enough. In heading to college, my parents made "just not quite" enough to avoid taking out loans. With recent health issues starting in college and still continuing, I have "just not quite" long enough to take advantage of my health insurance under my parents.

Granted, I think I have suffered from "compare-yourself-to-others" disease all of my life, which is probably where the qualifier mostly comes in handy. Also, I have a hard time not getting what I want or think I deserve. Entitlement, I guess. But, I have since become more humble, I think. I am grateful for who I am, faults, failures, and circumstances included, although I still struggle with accepting those things. I see the benefits of thorns in my side reminding me of my dependence on others and God, that I can't do life alone. I have grown and matured through the experiences that frustrate me and stretch me and make me want to throw a tantrum.

I still come in contact with those moments, though, but I am grateful that I have evolved from actually throwing a tantrum to calmly accepting my circumstances. Thank God for anti-anxiety meds, also. Today, for example, I went in to apply and interview for Food Stamps. I have been struggling financially because I make "just not quite" enough money to pay for all my expenses. Rent, food, gas, utilities, student loans, counseling, prescriptions, etc. My counselor gave me the permission/idea to apply for Food Stamps. I had never considered myself to be eligible for that assistance, but knowing my own circumstances, it made a lot of sense, so I went for it.

My interviewer informed me that I am earning "just not quite" low enough to qualify for food stamps. She also reminded me that with recent tax hikes passed through legislation, they have not yet changed the income threshold for Food Stamp qualifications...awesome. I mean, we are in debt, so it makes sense, but not for my life. So I left with a chip on my shoulder from my run in with our lovely legislative system and yet an understanding of all the stuff I have been hearing on NPR for the last few years and how it is finally starting to affect me personally.

I've decided government student loans are a horrible idea. Innocent, naive young adults with their bright future and high ideals in sight are robbed of their ability to practically pursue their dreams. They offer short term instant gratification during college and then disappointment and near poverty after. The government will continue to make money off of me even if I try to put a forbearance on my loans because I still have to pay interest and my loan amount never goes down if I do that. As I look back, I suppose I could have taken out no loans, gone to a cheaper school a shorter distance from home, worked all through college, majored in something uber practical in any job market, and lowered my chances of being in such high debt. Yet, I see my experience at a private Christian school and the ways that I grew and the quality of education I received and the value of being away from home, and I know it was worth every penny.

So here I am, stuck yet again in the "just not quite" stage of life. I am "just not quite" paying enough on my loans to eradicate them before the government pillages my bank account. I am "just not quite" experienced enough to get a job that pays me what my degree is worth or at least provides me with benefits. I am "just not quite" wealthy enough to put money in savings or think about investing.
ent will continue to make money off of me even if I try to put a forbearance on my loans because I still have to pay interest and my loan amount never goes down.

Ultimately, my solution is to go on a hard core spending fast, trim the fat as much as possible, pay as much as I can on my loans to eliminate debt as quickly as possible, try to make up any missed hours at work each week, and just try to save every penny I can. Time to be a real life grown up. I thought I was already doing this, but I guess there is always more you can do to avoid being "just not quite."

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