Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Waiting For the Guilt to Subside

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Total Black: $2,638.40
Total Red: $230,589.98

I’m recovering slowly but surely from the drunken debacle that I wrote about in A Day Without a Post.   All that remains is some guilt and a few aches.

Now that the hangover has subsided a bit more, I’m appreciating all the needless worries my actions set in motion.  I apologized to my mother, to my friend in New York (and in Los Angeles, I guess I attempted to reach him too), and to the co-workers I was out with on Friday night.  I understand it wasn’t so bothersome of a situation.  Each sort of poo-poohed me for apologizing.  They’re right in that people get drunk.  It happens.  And, given everything I’ve been dealing with, that I got a bit too drunk is understandable.  So I get that my few drunken texts and emails, and even a phone call or two wasn’t so despicable to warrant an apology.  But I felt the need to own my actions and let others know that.  Plus, the calls to my mother resulted in much more stress and worry for her, even though she’s generally predisposed to excessive worrying.  Given that she is two hours away, and was also unable to reach me, she worried all the more.

Still, it doesn’t alleviate my own stress at having set all this in motion.  And it doesn’t help to recall that I lost over five hundred dollars because of my antics.  I’m reminded of how much guilt any purchase leaves you with when you’re in debt.  It seems that any purchase, even a bottle of soda, leaves you feeling foolish and irresponsible because that $1.75 could have gone to your bills instead.  Perhaps it’s having been brought up Catholic that I feel guilty for too many things.  For example, the two other co-workers whom I went out with on Friday night, both of them got selected for the new contract attorney position that starts on Tuesday.  I haven’t been selected.  Or at least not yet.  In my mind, my behavior on Friday night is what caused me to lose this opportunity.   I’m being punished.  Everything was going well, I was on track, I was paying my bills, I was going from one assignment to the next, and then I slipped—and now it’s all coming crashing down around me.  I’m exaggerating, perhaps for emphasis.  But it puts into perspective the feelings you struggle with when living under the yoke of debt.  It’s not only that you shouldn’t spend your money on needless things; it’s that you shouldn’t spend your money at all on anything other than debts.  You shouldn’t do anything to have fun and enjoy yourself because you don’t deserve to, you haven’t earned it, you haven’t been responsible all this time with what you’ve been given.

I know I’m just exaggerating again.  And, conceptually, I understand that the world is not crumbling around me.  I’m sure it’s just my emotional equilibrium being thrown off-balance by my alcohol intake.  I suppose my more chipper mood will return tomorrow.  I have three interviews this week with temporary attorney staffing agencies, including one tomorrow morning.  So, not getting selected for the assignment that starts on Tuesday does not mean the end of my time in New York and a return to Pennsylvania.  But, still, it is another stress that I do not welcome, on top of everything else that’s happened these past few days.  If I were out of debt, my drunken debacle would be a story to laugh about for years to come.  That it cost me 1/4 of my rent check is not funny.

But there’s also another way to spin things.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, like Feelings and Finances for example, managing cash flow is a significant challenge of mine.  I tend to just throw as much money as I can at my debts, hoping they’ll go down.  Had I done that again this past week, I would have ended up paying even more for my antics because I would have had to charge them, and then paid interest and fiance charges on them, and so on.  Instead I was able to use my debit card.  Not that I plan on ending up in the emergency room and stuck in a hotel room afterward ever again, but having some cash on hand for any sort of unexpected emergency is an important lesson to learn.  Thanks to the job and not having had the time to spend it all yet, I was not forced to spend the night in the rain.  Having some money set aside for such rainy days is important.  Perhaps that’s one good lesson from this debacle.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 25, 2009 at 19:16

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