Sunday, October 09, 2005

I Don't Get It...


The one thing that I most want in my life is to spend time with my wife. It may not sound like all that much to want to some folks.. but to me, time with her is my most valuable possession (if you can call it a possession..).

In order to be able to have this time, there are certain things that must be addressed and taken care of, i.e., bills have to be paid, and all of the things that we need in order to live from day to day have to be obtained. This stuff requires money, as we all know. Now.. here's the rub; In order to get the money needed to be able to live, we both have to work. No.. that's not entirely accurate. In order to get the money needed to be able to live, we both have to work a lot.

End result?? We don't ever get to spend all that much time together. So, all of this running around and working basically turns out to be a huge cosmic hamster wheel in the end.

The question that has been swimming around in my head is this; If I don't get to spend the time with her that I want to with both of us working all this time so that we can have enough money to pay all of our bills in order to be able to spend time together.. What the hell is the point of it all?? It seems sort of counter-productive to me in a sideways logic kinda way...

I have fantasized about the both of us working at the same job, going to work together, coming home together, and thereby having more time together... but the soldier in me won't let me put all of my eggs in one basket. It just seems like a big risk. (If the company goes under.. we are both fucked, simultaneously.

The alternative doesn't work out that well, either... if one or both of us works less, then although we may have more time to spend together we are stressed out about bills, or wondering how we will be able to get the thing that we need to fix the thing that broke, or some other such friggin' thing....

So. This leaves me with this question; Is that it?? Is this how it has to be??

We just work like fucking field slaves all of our lives, living for the few hours that we get to spend together on Sunday.. the couple of minutes here and there in the evenings... and the one vacation each year??

That sucks!!

Mind you. My lifestyle is absolutely not the type of lifestyle that is dedicated to the accumulation of material wealth, or things of any shape, form, or fashion. We don't make that much money to begin with, though we work like hell to get what we do earn.

It seems like we are stuck in a loop with no way out of it...

I work probably somewhere in the range of seventy-two hours per week. Since there are one hundred sixty-eight hours in a week, this means that I work approximately 43% of the time. This leaves the other 57% to me. But, it doesn't work out that neatly. I sleep perhaps 46 to 40 hours per week. On top of this, there is cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and all of the other nittenoid things that we have to do to keep a household going. It seems to me that we end up with perhaps one or two hours in an average week night to spend together, and almost nothing on the weekend, if I am working. If I have a day off, then we have a day.

It just seems somehow wrong to me... I feel as though I have allowed myself to get trapped into a pattern of behavior because of societal pressures, or habit, or who knows what?? It seems to me that spending time with your loved ones is the most important consideration (or should be). If one of us were to die unexpectedly today or tommorrow.. all of this other stuff would amount to shit. So why do we do it??

I just don't get it....

15 comments:

alpharat said...

"I have fantasized about the both of us working at the same job, going to work together, coming home together, and thereby having more time together... but the soldier in me won't let me put all of my eggs in one basket. It just seems like a big risk."

My wife and I did that for a few years, worked at the same ad agency. Parts of it were great, the spending more time together, etc.

But then, there were bad parts, too:
The Creative Directors would find ways to rope one of us into time-consuming extensive projects, knowing that, since we lived and drove together, they could get a package deal out of us.
When I was Senior writer and she was an Art Director, we'd have have to meet to resolve issues between members of our staff.
And lastly, as the agency went down, they had no problem canning us, and we spent most of 2004 unemployed. That was a scary year.

WiPrincess said...

Bear,

I know exactly how you feel...my fiancee and I are in the same boat. It seems like we work all the time just to keep our heads above water! My fiancee jokes all the time about us winning the lottery so we can spend more time together...

It's such a shame that in today's world a couple has to pin hopes on something as unrealistic as the lottery in order to spend enough quality time together!

Bear said...

Alpharat,

That is exactly the shit that I am afraid of... people will take advantage, and if you put all your eggs in one basket, a. Some types of people will use that to try to force you to give them more, figuring you will be afraid of both of you losing your jobs... and b. If the company goes 'tits up' -- well, you're royally fucked!

Take Care,

Bear

Bear said...

WIPrincess,

I think we all fantasize about having some type of boon lift us above all of this crap, be it the lottery, or what-have-you... I think that it is very unlikely to happen, however... so, I guess I better just learn to be happy bustin' my ass all the time.

(I don't mind working, actually... I just begrudge the time spent away from my wife... rats!)

Thanx for the comment!

Take Care,

Bear

Flatman said...

I feel ya... I feel ultra-guilty about training for a marathon on top of the time spent at work, etc... The only saving grace is that I get up at 4:30 a.m. to run and since they are sleeping anyway, it is not time lost with them.

When you figure it all out, brother, give me a call...

Until then, cherish every moment!

Mona Buonanotte said...

I had this same conversation in my head last weekend! I just need a good windfall to pay off the debts, plan for the kids' college funds, and then Sergei and I can stop working and enjoy it all. Sheah. Right. We'll work like dogs and look forward to cuddling with the kids and cuddling like adults!

Anonymous said...

Real Estate Bear! Thats the ticket. Find some income property that is in need of being fixed up, with owners desperate to sell. Buy it cheap, fix it up with good, used building material (ie. habitat for humanity) add a little elbow grease, then list it.
We just got an offer on our triplex thats $70 grand over what we paid. We have invested a little over $5000 to get it in shape.
Not bad considering that 3 years ago when we bought this place, we were tottering on the edge of bankruptcy.
We couldn't get a mortgage so we "assumed" the previous owners. It was like they co-signed for us.
This place is a triplex with 3-2 bedroom apts, and we lived on the main floor. For 3 years we didn't pay rent as the other 2 apts rent covered the mortgage and half the expenses.
I am so doing the happy dance today :D

catherine

Mark said...

The problem, though no one likes to admit it, is that we here in the US live beyond our means. We just do. Look at how your parents live. Chances are, they aren't set up quite so opulently as you. I bet they have fewer electronic doodads, some of them probably don't even have cell phones. Sometimes just living in a particular region of the country puts you beyond your means, like me in Connecticut.

I have these very same issues but I look around and my apartment is filled with computer equipment gathered at one time or another. My daughter has nice toys and computer of her own and nice clothing, nice school gear...

If you're working to live but living to work, then you're living beyond your means, plain and simple. You may think that all that you have are staples, but in reality you need to heavily reconsider what a staple really is. Things like cable TV, cell phones, depending on where you live, even a car, are optional things. You don't HAVE to have them.

Even if you're totally convinced that yours is a baseline existence, the fact is, the simple, bare truth is: if you have to work the majority of your waking life to support it all, then you're living beyond your means. You might be upset that you haven't actually got the means to support the lifestyle that you'd like to have, but that doesn't change things.

Bear said...

Catherine,

Congratulations on your windfall!! Mhaith Thú!! (Good on you!)

Alas... real estate isn't an option for us... one needs money to make money... but, maybe someday I will be able to implement your plan and do the happy dance, too!!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving your comments!

Take Care,

Bear

Bear said...

Mark,

Actually, I'm don't have all that much. I have this computer that I am working on, but it was a recent birthday gift. All of the previous computers were either hand me downs or machines that I'd kludged together out of whatever parts I had laying around or was able to scrape, borrow, or beg. I haven't really spent any money on any of this stuff... my internet connection is free, and I don't have a cell phone. I watch videos that I borrow from the library, and everything in the garden was gift-plants, transplants, or already there... we really don't spend all that much money. I live well, and I'm happy, but the only thing to cut costs on is food, and, honestly, I don't spend all that much on that. We go to the occasional movie, when we have the time from working... that pretty much covers it.

It's just one of those things, I think... we live in a part of the country that is extremely expensive... nothing to be done if this is where we want to live.

I'm not complaining about it, truthfully (well... a little maybe...) I'm just more befuddled than anything else... I am working my ass off, and so is my wife... it barely gets us by... doesn't seem right.

Thanx so much for stopping by, buddy... I appreciate the comment. We *do* live beyond our means in this country... it's very true.

P.S. By the way... I don't have a single credit card. I cut them all up about six or seven years ago and make due with cash. Period.

Take Care,

Bear

Bear said...

Mona,

Great to hear from you!!

I'm with you on this one Mona... we are going to work our asses off.. with no end in sight, just to keep our heads above water. I'm resigned to it, but always have my head on a swivel looking for ways to improve our lot.

What else can you do???

I have no complaints... I have more than many rich folks have.. and I know it now before I lose it...

That is wealth beyond measure!

Take Care,

Bear

Bear said...

Flatman,

Hey brother, how goes it??

You are prolonging your life by staying fit, most likely... and enabling yourself to be able to honestly enjoy whatever life puts in your path... please don't feel guilty about this. If you don't care for yourself, how can you possibly care for anyone else??

If and when I figure it out.. I'll let you know directly. I think you may have time to make a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk while you are waiting for that message, by the way...

As for cherishing every moment?? I absolutely do!! For a number of reasons.. I know that I'm very lucky to have what I have in my life. I have also been very closely acquainted with death and mortality in my lifetime, a great number of times, from having been both a soldier and a street cop. I wrote a post addressing this issue a while back entitled, 'Death Dogs My Footsteps', I don't know whether you would be interested in reading it, or whether you already have. But, anyway, I really do cherish every single moment that I have, and I get the feeling that you do as well... we apparently have a few things in common (in addition to the fact that both of our moms were moms and we both have only one thumb on our left hands!) -- wow!! The world is a freaky place, man!!

;-)

Take Care,

Say... since you are 'Flatman'.. do you have to eat only 2 dimensional food?? (say.. pop tarts, cheese slices, graham crackers, fruit roll-ups, stick chewing gum, and the like?? I suppose one dimensional foods would work, too... such as drinks through a straw... or would they be 2 dimentional?? Hmmmmmm.....)

Did you like Gumby as a kid??

Okay... fine... herendeth the lame 'Flatman' jokes... my apologies, I can't help it, I was made this way...


Stay well, Bro

Bear

myssk75 at gmail dot com said...

Hi there. :)

Do you get overtime pay for your job or is it salaried? If it's salaried then maybe you can get away with working less? Or does your wife work as much as you?

No matter what, I know it's hard. We deal with many of the same issues, especially with me in school on top of working.

Bev

Flatman said...

Yeah, too bad my belly isn't so flat...

Actually the nickname came from my wife.

'Check it out...',

Bear said...

Bev,

I am salaried, but the hours are basically locked in. They really demand *a lot* of hours. The answer is either suck it up, or find another job.. for now, I will stay put... if something comes along that is clearly a better deal... well... that's a horse of a different color (It may *even* be a different kettle of fish.. but I'm not sure.. I'll have to look into it.. I don't want to get all crazy, now!)

The major complaint that most of us have, is that nothing is ever open when we are off work.. so we have to beg to leave work to take care of basic errands, such as haircuts, banking, shopping, etc., and, of course, they resist this.. because they want us there... its a real pain in the ass at times.... what to do?? Drive on, suck it up... find another job if you can't take the conditions. Period.

Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments.

Don't be a stranger, okay??


Take Care,


Bear