I’m so scared I’m screwing up

cliff jump.png
Photo by Brendon Connelly on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons Licence

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.

14 thoughts on “I’m so scared I’m screwing up

  1. Rhode Red

    Hey. Don’t beat yourself up. Your naïveté about the PhD was echoed by thousands and underscored by the schools so eager to turn them out. Sexism no doubt also played you a harder hand than it would a male academic (that’s documented like crazy in the US.)

    You raised a child. You were there for your mom when she needed you. You’re a brave and talented writer. Nothing to sneer at or feel disappointed in there.

    Good luck with the realtor. Stage your brains out prior to the open house (I always remove 1/2 my stuff entirely to make the place feel open, clean and inviting.) There will be new friends, jobs and connections in Auckland. I’m sorry for the stress it will take to get to them. But hey, your road trip recently proved you can handle ANYTHING.

    1. thank you so much for your kind words. I think I’ll have to sell a few pieces of furniture to make the place seem more spacious, but this will be good for me. I have a chaise longue no-one’s sat on in five years :/

    2. i woke up in the middle of the night with the horrible realization that my reply sounded trite. I am truly so, so thankful. I’m all the way down here at the bottom of the world, and yet I don’t feel alone, because I know you and Chris and lots of other people out there rooting for me. I’m so grateful that you have faith in me. Thank you *hugs*

  2. What Rhode Red said so eloquently! And please don’t be so hard on yourself – younger you didn’t have the knowledge and experience that now you has. And you have online connections – maybe there are jobs that you can find that don’t require you to physically present? :pats gently:

    1. thank you so much, Chris. KatieMc had a great suggestion that I do a coding bootcamp, but I’m apprehensive about my chances of getting a job afterward. P.S. the huge plus side about moving is I’ll be able to get a cat!

      1. Yay about the cat! 🙂

        Are there coding jobs in the area you’re moving to? Are there “location doesn’t matter” coding jobs for entry-level coders/programmers?

      2. there are coding jobs, but the question is if there are coding jobs *I* could get. The Kiwi job market is very biased, very weird, and very much about who you know. I should write a blog post about it.

      3. Rhode Red

        Cat! That’s a pretty big check on the plus side.

        BTW: I store my extraneous furniture at a friend’s and also sweep all nick knacks and detritus off horizontal surfaces into boxes I store as well. The emptier house, emptier countertops and tables, help the quick sale. It’s critical to do this before the realtor took photos. Sorry to drone on, but done this several times now & my BFF is a realtor.

      4. i just took a look around my kitchen while i was making breakfast and realised all the *stuff* I have I need to pack away. Like, a torch and an emergency hurricane lantern, accessories for my blender, an empty fruit bowl, a decorative ceramic jug, lots of vitamins, a vanilla candle with .01% candle left etc etc. And that’s just one room. Going to get some boxes this morning and start packing stuff I don’t need and can put in storage. Last time I sold a house the realtor made me put all my books into storage because “people are put off by books” but I am not doing that again. Also I will call my aunt and see how she feels about me putting an armchair, a coffee table, a sewing table, and a chaise into her spare room :/ Thanks for the tip!

  3. trioseven7

    Oh I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you sell your place for tons and find a wonderful new place where you and your mom will be so happy – I’m sending all my good to you xoxo!

  4. Echoing the comments above. You’re in a tough situation which you could never have predicted. Plus, you’re taking action, which is the most important thing. Keep going and you’ll find a way to make things work – possibly in a way you’ve never considered before.

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