How the hell did it get to be April already? Wasnâ€™t it just December — of 2003? Such is the lament of those who have crossed the great meridian into middle age and are well on their way to what I thought was old age — but to see my dad and his wife lead their lives, ainâ€™t nothinâ€™ old about it.
These tough economic times are taking their toll on everyone, but for the very young adult and the very old adult, the sources of stress are very different. For the younger set itâ€™s all about getting through the next month by getting and staying employed, paying rent, and buying food.
For the older set (especially those who lost a great deal of their life savings because of Wall Streetâ€™s douchebag, gambling-addict pisswads), it is an issue of completely overhauling a budget to stretch out a set amount of money over what could be upwards of 20 years — some of which might not be delightfully mobile.
Both the older and the younger sets have inherent advantages — each of them a disadvantage to the other. While youth has its energy (that includes you middle-agers; unless youâ€™re disabled, youâ€™re not even old-ish until you canâ€™t get out of bed without a prescription), the older set has knowledge and experience.
When knowledge and experience are combined properly, this is wisdom. When combined improperly, this is crotchety old people shuffling around with nothing notable to remember or say. My grandmother once said — after I was smirked at by what I called a grouchy old man — â€śMake no mistake. He was once a grouchy young man.â€ť
A number of younger people in my life (early 20â€™s to mid 30â€™s) have begun to experience the anxiety and frustration that is a call from a collection agency. As the calls pile up — not necessarily from a lot of bills, but just from one overly aggressive collector — so does the stress. Iâ€™ll tell you how to deal with collectors in a bit, but first letâ€™s take a look at the kind of and amount of stress you kids these days are feeling — and why.
Itâ€™s the responsible thing to be mindful of and attentive to oneâ€™s financial obligations and responsibilities. Itâ€™s not responsible — or at all healthy — to allow these worries to drive you batty: crying yourself to sleep, raging behind the wheel of your car, being short-tempered with co-workers, spurning family members, and refusing to clean your apartment (the latter of which is an understandable but still immature attempt to gain control over just one facet of your life when everything else seems so out of control).