The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.~BobMoawad
There are moments in life when you can truly feel the weight of the world on your shoulders… Moments when it feels so unfair that you and your loved ones wake up to find a new mountain plopped down right in front of you. The moments when you realize that everyone who is important in your life has to turn to you now. Is it scary or intriguing? Are you nervous or excited? New situations allow for open-ended possibilities! You realize you are responsible for everything that happens from here on out, at least for now, and the pressure is on!
OK. Just breathe. We don’t have time for anxiety attacks…. Instead,we have to make a plan to squelch that anxiety. You WILL lead your family through.
Priority one! A wide-eyed and honest assessment of your situation must be done. Since everyone’s starting point will be different, this section wil be a work in generalities. Nevertheless, there are a few certainties everyone will need to check off the list:
- Do you have a safe place to live? If not, priority number one must be to find that place. There are places that will help you find safety for you and your family. (Try the Red Cross near you to start… https://www.redcross.org/… I will try to post more options on the Links page of this site. ) A friend who can spare a room… family that will let you stay until you can get your feet under you. If you already have a safe place to stay, think about how incredibly fortunate you are to have this basic need already fulfilled!
- Do you know where your next meal is coming from? There are countless websites that will list low budget meal plan ideas. It always amazes me how far a bag of rice and a few canned goods can really get you when you are hungry. Getting a good set of basic recipes under your wing will ensure that you can make due.
- Do you have a steady and reliable income? If not, there are plenty of helpful community resources, also meant to get you back on your feet when you are down on your luck. If you already have a steady job, you can now consider yourself THREE steps better off than many others!
If you have the three basics above already checked off, count your blessings! Let’s not stop there. One more thing….
- Do you have a bank account? You need a checking account and a savings account. Both are necessary and non-negotiable. People who lack a checking account can easily be prayed upon by dubious schemers (think, check-cashing fees, payday loans, etc.) that want to nickel and dime you as much as possible. Nothing irks me more than knowing that there are companies that wait to pray on those who are down on their luck. A savings account is also required. The best way to prepare yourself for the unknowns that are guaranteed to come up in life is by setting a bit aside EVERY time you get money (on pay day or otherwise) so that you never have to panic about money. Think about the peace of mind you will give yourself if you know that you are OK if there is car trouble, layoffs, accidental fire, health emergency, unplanned emergency travel, etc… Buy yourself this peace of mind one deposit at a time into your emergency fund.
These are the practicalities… There are also emotional needs that you need to tend to so you can do what needs to be done. Often times, in cases where you find yourself with new responsibilities quickly, there is a period of a form of mourning involved. Mourning the death of your previous life where you knew what to expect next. Don’t short change this feeling or dismiss it. You are allowed to feel this way. Take some time each day, maybe a half an hour or so, where you can sit alone and really think about how the changes are effecting you and about your loss. You are alone, so, by all means, cry if you need to! You may need a brave and strong front for your family so they feel secure, but you need to give yourself time to vent your feelings so they don’t come out when you don’t want them to.
Check off each of these points and reflect on how much you already have. Then start to build up from there! One brick at a time, your life will come together.