Perfectly Rational, Totally Irrational

Having been a Chartered Accountant the financial, planning, management and leadership skills and abilities, together with experience, gained over a quarter century on this career path have proven useful in a broad array of areas and ways.

It does however, come with a few drawbacks I never would have anticipated having to deal with.

My income is fixed, has been fixed at the same level for the last 5+ years; my living and working expenses are few, straight forward and over the years have been creeping or leaping upward – a reality all Canadians are having to deal with. Have you checked the prices of yachts lately?

As a matter of mental wellness I have avoided putting pen to paper to draw up a budget. This decision is not about being in denial after all:

Reality does not care what you want to be true, it does not care what you believe to be true. Reality simply is. Tao of James

It is a decision about dealing with the reality I live with – depression, anxiety, panic and a propensity as an adult child of alcoholism for self sabotage.

Unfortunately with the fixed nature of revenue (income), the few expenses left after years of paring away expenses (haircuts, clothing, food, etc) and the fixed nature of many of the remaining expenses (insurance, phone, internet) budgeting and cash flow statements/analysis are so simple I can do them in my head.

Or more accurately I cannot NOT do budgets and cash flows in my head and so the train wreck that is the financial reality of my future is a constant and unavoidable awareness in my head. The slippage for phone and internet bills already has me slipping a few days later in paying them every month, with the point in time when I reach the point the services are terminated because I am too far behind inexorably moving nearer and nearer.

I watch the numbers unwind as more expenses must be shed until the point where revenue is sufficient to pay only the rent and I become in effect a prisoner in my home, unable to go anywhere except by walking. Which as a result of physical limitations and the pain that results from these limitations, places a maximum distance on travel of 100 – 200 meters.

Of course without food or the ability to obtain food the ability to pay the rent (at least as long as it does not go up) is rather moot. You can live homeless, you do not survive long foodless.

The inability to NOT have this awareness of budget and cash flow and the approaching ‘economic collapse’ and its (without a significant change in personal financial reality) inevitability has demanded and occupied space in the continuous awareness area of my mind.

I seem, at least for now, unable to put this awareness aside and focus on getting on with life.

Instead I find myself wanting to get out from under the stress, wishing that my ‘stuff’ was in storage and I could ‘solve’ the approaching time when economic reality exerts its negative consequences on my life by moving out from under the looming crash and into my car.

Circumstances had me living in my car before so there is no fear of the unknown, I know what needs to be done to survive living in your car. Indeed services added since I was last living in my car make living in your car simpler and more doable today.

In a way living in your car simplifies your life because you have to focus on doing what you need to in order to survive.

At some point either a rent increase or the need for food will force me out of my home and either into my car or onto the street.

There is a great deal to be said for choosing when, rather than waiting until there is no choice (based on the experience of having reached that no choice point).

Ironically a move to the car improves cash flow as one loses the $375 rent portion of revenue but gains the cash difference between the $375 and actual rent paid.

One of the real advantages for me of having a fixed address is internet access, an access that will in the near future be lost as it is the next item on the chopping block of financial expenditure reductions necessity. Which means internet access must be obtained at the library and the major incentive for struggling to preserve having a ‘home’ ceases to exist.

When the only use made of home becomes as the place one sleeps, is the money spent on gas to drive ‘home’ and the money spend on a ‘home’ that could be available for keeping the car in shape and running or to meet emergencies, a wise use of extremely limited financial resources?

Consider as well that I have no land line phone service. My only phone is a cell phone which is not only mobile (a service seeming designed for those with non fixed address) but provides email and messaging.

There are other points one can cite in support of choosing to join the growing community of people in Abbotsford whose automobile has become, among its other attributes, their home arguably a perfectly rational choice.

Yet friends, mental health professionals and others maintain that even thinking about abandoning my home, moving into and living in my car is totally irrational thinking.

Which is what I would be telling someone else if they were thinking of surrendering and moving into their car. That they needed to keep working and plugging away at things and see what develops or happens to change their financial circumstances (employment etc).

But watching the numbers and the future unroll in my mind makes the struggle with depression, anxiety and the urge to panic an ongoing, daily battle complicated by an ongoing struggle not to give into an act of self sabotage.

Living with mental illness and the quest for mental wellness is enough of a challenge on its own.

I really don’t need the additional headaches and stress that come with constant awareness of the budget and cash flow realities and the inevitable negative consequences of this financial future.

At times the urge to panic, to escape is overwhelming – no matter how irrational those actions would be.

I really wish……but then……

Reality does not care what you want to be true, it does not care what you believe to be true. Reality simply is. Tao of James

Some days, to many days, running down the middle of the road trying to pull my hair out and screaming Arrrggggghhhhhh seems so appealing – and so rationally irrational.

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