I have three realtors coming next week to appraise my place. The plan for a while now has been to move out of Auckland, but now I’m facing this as an increasingly urgent financial necessity.
As I mentioned last year, my mom had to leave work and she lives with me now. Although New Zealand has excellent public health care, it doesn’t cover things like the neurophysio who helps my mom keep mobile.
As soon as I realized I was financially responsible for both of us I started applying for any and all jobs I was vaguely able to do. I haven’t even gotten an interview. This has not been a surprise. I’m over 40 and overqualified. As an introvert I don’t have a good network, and in New Zealand most jobs come from who you know.
If it was just me I could live in the back of my car if I had to, and shower at the gym. I’ve given this a lot of thought: it’s always good to have a contingency plan, right? But I can’t ask an older woman with MS to do the same. I have to find somewhere that can be a home for us both, and which I can afford to buy outright.
I’m feeling crushing guilt. I should have been – I should be – a better provider. When I started my PhD I assumed once I finished I’d be able to get reliable, stable work as an academic, which is a sign of my horrible naivety.
As a kid I thought I would run my life more successfully than this. For forty years I’ve been showing ‘potential’ but never managed to turn it into actually being good enough at anything. I feel like I made poor decisions my whole life, and now I’m making another.
I know I’m lucky. I’m lucky I had work for as long as I did. I’m lucky my daughter grew up into a functioning adult and is out there living her life. I’m lucky I snuck onto the lowest rung of the property ladder in the 90s recession. I’m lucky Auckland house prices rose 325% since then. I’m extremely lucky New Zealand has good unemployment benefits.
I don’t know how fast I can sell my place. I don’t know where we’ll go. But now it’s time to jump.