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How do you make a life plan?

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devistatedmom posted 12/6/2013 12:27 PM

I don't know if life plan is the right word(s).

I'm 4+ years out from him walking, D is complete 3 years come Christmas.

Nothing in my NB is going right. I'm at a stand still. My kids, my finances, my home, my social life, even my job at the moment....all is down the tubes. I don't know how to turn anything around at the moment. I can't find direction. How do you figure it out? What kind of professional do I try to get to help me figure it out?

Even with professional help...I'm not sure how to pay for it. I can't even go for IC, as my benefits cover only so much per year per family, and I must use all of that for my DD at the moment.

Taking a mental health day....and just feeling so stuck. I can't see how to fix anything.

little turtle posted 12/6/2013 12:39 PM

Do you know where you want to go? What do you want your life to look like? What do you need to change to get there?

ajsmom posted 12/6/2013 12:42 PM

Breathe, dm. Just breathe. Yay for you for taking the day!

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

There's an old saying "Plan your work; work your plan" - which I believe can include everything in your life besides just work.

I did something several months ago that really helped put things on track for me and added perspective to what I was ruminating about. Rumination is a killer Ė you canít see the future if the past keeps invading your thoughts or you get yourself into a "woulda, coulda, shoulda" cycle.

I was fortunate in that I took a 3-day sabbatical in a hotel over the July 4th holiday to do this. I got some large, flip chart sized post-it notes, stuck them to the walls and wrote down with big wide multi-colored markers (one color for each category) all the ways my life was spinning out of control. I then brainstormed with myself as to what was going on and what I needed to do to fix it. Every thought - regardless of how big or small it might be - ended up on each individual list. Every idea to fix things Ė no matter how silly it might have been Ė went on the lists. I left them up on the walls throughout my stay so as thoughts would come to me they could go on the lists.

Then I prioritized all the categories. I would imagine for you, it would go something like: YOU first - (if you ain't happy, ain't nobody happy) - kids - finances - job - home - social life.

What it did is it helped me to SEE my problems. As a visual learner, I couldn't grab hold of anything I couldn't see and to have the words right in front of me really helped. I then took photos of each big list and review them periodically to see how Iím doing. For the most part, I'm working the plan.

Break things down Ė make them manageable. Thinking all at once too big will only keep you spinning your wheels.

Hope it helps!


Crescita posted 12/6/2013 12:50 PM

During my S and D I used to attend this support group through Meetup called Women In Transition. It was held by a life coach and I think the meet-up fee was $10. I found it very beneficial for emotional support, but she also helped people establish and work on goals such as; going back to school, starting new careers, dealing with all sorts of relationships, finding passions, getting finances in order, basically any issues you could come up with she would work with you to find a plan to deal with it.

I found it very beneficial at the time, but after a point I became more confident I could figure things out on my own.

Maybe if you can pinpoint three of your main issues we can find goals and strategies to tackle them?

StillLivin posted 12/6/2013 12:58 PM

Start one step at a time.
What do you like to do? What are you good at? What would you be willing to go to school for?
What training is available in your area? Do you use EVERY opportunity to network?
Who is hiring in your area?
What would give you satisfaction?

devistatedmom posted 12/6/2013 13:23 PM

Tried googling Women in Transition, came up with some battered women houses in my area. Not what I need. :)

I'm making some lists, trying to sort things, but each one kind of layers on the others, KWIM? Can't fix one without fixing the other, if I change this, that falls apart, etc. Trying to find the exit.

Crescita, if you or anyone can solve anything, I'd take it.

Stressors: Two teens, both with attitudes right now, one diagnosed with panic disorder. Used up my benefits for this year for IC for her. Got a diagnosis, on waiting list for hospital IC for her (Free) but it's been 9 months and they won't return my calls or my Dr office calls, they are so overloaded. Tried to talk to XH about the fact that she needs more IC, but I have NO cash at the moment, he won't pay his half if I don't pay my half. Felt like smacking him. How many things have a paid for over the past 4 years to make sure my kids have what they need when he "couldn't afford it"? Anyway, he doesn't think IC is the answer, or she needs help for PD. He thinks she just needs to be told what to do. Umm, yeah, sure. Son is applying to colleges, doesn't know what he wants, is being a rude turd anytime to talk to him lately. So, I live with two people that are treating me like crap, like a useless person that they don't want to associate with, who bugs them about homework and what they are doing.

My mom has Hodgekins. Chemo is going well, but it's still stressful. I know you can't fix that one.

My house is a mess. I hate my house. I can't afford my house. I would love to move. I can't, more or less. If I sell, I will HAVE to move out of town in order to afford anything. I can keep DD at the same high school she is at now (I work there too) but for pete's sake, we have a 7 min drive now, and she can't get ready in time. How the heck would it work with a 30-60 min drive? Yes, I know, just leave without her....but she is almost failing her first period class, and hates it. I know she just wouldn't bother to get there for it. Not helpful. Next semester she has another class she hates 1st period.

Off track. Sorry. In order to sell, I need to clean, declutter, and fix some MAJOR things. I have no money to fix these things. Like, My tub is leaving continuously, the tub is 40 years old, the walls in the shower/tub are cracked and breaking. I must fix this. Talked to bathfitter, around 3500. They have financing, but I really don't need another monthly expense.

No matter how hard I work at cleaning or decluttering, nothing seems to get better. I know that seems like a cop out, but I honestly can't get a handle on anything lately. I can clean the counters, do all the dishes, but everything in the cupboards is ready to fall out. Everything destroyed again within a day. Wash the floors, stupid dog tracks mud back in. Try to file some paperwork, the pile isn't going down. More comes in to take it's place.

Love my job. Have a college diploma. Unfortunately, I am unemployed (like, laid off, on unemployment) 2 months in the summer, 2 weeks at Christmas, and 1 week in March. My pay going up and down like a toilet seat isn't helping. I did have a second job, but couldn't keep it up...too stressful. Because I quit that, I got turned down for unemployment for being laid off from the first job, so now i'm in a worse place moneywise than I was before I took the second job. I feel like I was punished for trying to dig myself out of my hole. Because they turned me down the summer, I will now have Christmas and March be my waiting period, and receive no money from unemployment until since I'm already at the end of my rope, I'm unsure how to pay bills in January other than taking more out of my LOC to do so. If I get a second job again, I screw up my unemployment again. I can go back to officiating my sport next summer to make more cash....but I need to get there first.

I use to help others make their budgets. I know how. I just can't seem to get there. XH only pays expenses for the kids "when he has the money" Like, duh...not everything can wait until you have cash. They NEED clothes, which he is suppose to buy them half, but he thinks buying one of them boots for winter is doing his share, when I have bought both sweaters, coats, pants, etc. They NEED to be clothed for petes sake.

Original plan was I bought him out of the house, I keep it, I stay here until the kids graduate, then I downsize into something I can afford and look after (smaller). Well, this place is 45ish years old and needs repairs I can't afford now, and I can't fix myself. Dad getting too old, also busy with mom and her cancer.

Gah. Now I just seem like an unorganized lazy person.

devistatedmom posted 12/6/2013 13:42 PM

You know what? Ignore all that. That's just me whining.

It's just the more I do, the worse things get. The more I try, the more things fall apart.

Case in point:

I wanted to set up my spare room in case my mom needed it as I'm closer to the hospital than she is, so I wanted a place she could rest. Got the kids to help me clean all the junk out of it (it became a storage area). Bought a bed off kijiji for it. Then, a friend offered up a double bed. Great...17yo son was sleeping on same bed from when he was 5...legs too long now, falling apart, rotten mattress. Told DS bed was coming, he took his bed apart and put it outside in front of garage, in pieces, as he totally broke apart. Useless. Bed wasn't a double, it was a queen, and wouldn't fit up the stairs. Friend took it back. Son is now using bed I wanted for mom, with flower sheets as I don't have any other double bed sheets. It's still in the extra bedroom, his room is a disaster, so waiting for him to clean to put it in his room. Waiting for Dad to come get the old bed, and my broken treadmill as taking it all to the dump is cheaper than having the city take it. Well, dad got flu, then my sister's car had the bottom fall out of it, so they had to borrow dad's truck until they got a new vehicle. Stuff sits. I get a letter from a neighbour (no name, of course) stating that although they don't know my circumstances, I'm an embarrassment to the neighbourhood, having that stuff sitting out there. I mean, really? I'm trying to make things better! I'm working on things, and I get a slap from some stupid person I don't even know?

I get a cyst removed off my back in August. Thought, good. One thing off my list. Spent all of August running to a clinic to have the dressing changed, measure it, trips down to a hospital in the city to have doctor look at it...everyone says done. Didn't heal. Went to my doctor this week....says the hole in my back is probably permanent now. Great. Just what I need. It doesn't hurt, but also feels like another smack for trying to "fix" something.

So, that's what I mean. I try to do things to fix things, but it just causes more issues.

Dad is getting his truck back this weekend, so hopefully the stuff will be gone this week. He has to work around my mom's chemo appts, and the weather at this point. Can't fix my back, so I'll just ignore that one....but feel like there is no use trying to fix other things I can if I'm just going to end up in worse places. Ok, my son has a new bed, but I didn't get the room for my mom I wanted to do, and won't now.

I just wish someone else would come here, and fix everything. And of course, that's just the home stuff. Never mind my lack of any social life, or other stuff going on. I'm just....stuck and want someone else to fix it for me.

Crescita posted 12/6/2013 15:10 PM

Goodness you do have a lot on your plate right now (((devistatedmom))). So sorry about your mom. Perhaps your dad or sister can help you furnish the guestroom for her as you are already being so generous in offering it.

It sounds like the easiest thing on your list is to declutter. Do you have thrift stores that offer pick-up? That might be an easy way to get rid of the bed and treadmill. I used to worry that my stuff was in too bad of shape to donate, but you would be surprised what people will take. You can probably throw together a few more bags of stuff to get rid of as well. You might also want to look at freecycle, or maybe consider a yard sale if any of it is valuable.

If you have more than one bathroom, I would recommend you quit using the leaking tub. It might be inconvenient, but extended water damage could cause a lot more issues than the current cost to repair. As long as you know it isnít getting worse, you can put it on the back burner and tackle the replacement when you are in a better position to do so.

Next up your son. He is a teenager. It is okay for him to be moody and directionless and messy. And he should survive the floral sheets If he doesnít like them he can get an after school job and spend $10 at Ross to replace them.

Your daughter might be a little trickier. Maybe speak to the school guidance counselor about other options you might be able to pursue for her IC in the interim. Some community centers offer group counseling, or maybe there is a university that offers probono. If your options are already exhausted, your benefit will renew, so just keep that in mind and breathe. You are a fantastic mom for making sure she is getting the help she needs. Even some counseling is better than none so you are already doing right by her in my books.

Your house is going to be a big project; Iíd just start downsizing and clearing things out. Maybe talk to a realtor to get a bigger picture of your options. If itís costing you a significant amount to maintain, you might be better off in the long run taking a loss on it and selling as is. Would you be able to afford a condo in your current area? Or maybe just rent an apartment until you are back on your feet? If you do move further away your daughter will adjust. Itís hard not to catastrophize when everything seems to be crumbling around you but you have enough trouble without borrowing more.

As for your job you are very fortunate to have one you enjoy. If you find something that would be a good fit while you are unemployed, take it, but otherwise just take some time for you and maybe get creative with trimming some of your expenses.

Ultimately it sounds like your plan should be to let up on yourself. It might not seem like it but you really are doing great. One foot in front of the other.

devistatedmom posted 12/10/2013 17:05 PM

Thanks Christa. I'm trying. Problem is, I've been trying forever and it just doesn't seem to improve. Gets discouraging.

Dad fixes things around here when he can.He's in his 70's now, he can't do as much as he use to. My sister has 3 kids under 5 at home, and a husband who works shift...she's not much use to me!

Right now,I need to concentrate on getting Christmas shopping done, or I'm going to have 2 very upset kids with nothing under the tree. I'll work on cleaning the kitchen and living room in between. Hopefully over the holidays I can do some of the other stuff around here.

I'm thinking a social life may have to wait a while longer.

I'm just....tired. Feel like there isn't much point in trying at the moment.

worried_lady posted 12/10/2013 20:15 PM

Do you kids have a part time job? They are both old enough to start working and contributing to the family. They could help pay for some of their extras and the added responsibility might go a long ways on the attitudes.

As far as the rest, Crescita had wonderful suggestions.

I am sorry about your mom. Your life does sounds very stressful and I can imagine it can be very overwhelming. Did you feel better just typing the post? I ask because I journal and when my life gets overwhelmed by situations I have little control over just writing them down seems to help. When I am through writing, I ask myself is there anything I can do about any of it right now. If the answer is no, then I know I have done all I can do and shut the book. If the answer is yes there is something I can do about it, then I do it. That small step seems to help it not all be so overwhelming for me anyway.

Bless you, it will get better, it will!

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