The Mounting Cost of Living

I received a bill in the mail today for $1617.73.

This is the amount of money I owe to COBRA if I’d like to have continuing medical coverage through March. I have paid $360 of that, which leaves me to come up with roughly $1250 by March 10th or forfeit my ability to be insured through COBRA.

I am currently making $15 an hour as a temp receptionist in the wake of my December layoff, which is a pay cut of about $4 an hour and another, what, missing $400 a year in matching 401(K) benefits. The layoff also meant the dissolution of my high-deductible-though-free (yes, free) health insurance, which is what kept me from going bankrupt when I spent four days in the ICU in May.

All those medical bills and a couple of blown-out computers have left me with roughly 10K in credit card debt (I was bemoaning the fact that I owned nearly 3K about this time last year. Oh, what I’d give to owe 3K!), which I’m paying off, minimum payment a month, $200. Rent and utilities are $750 a month. Medical supplies are $100-150. Gym fee is $109. Student loans are a whopping $300. I’ve gotten groceries down to $70 a week when I’m playing it lean. Transit costs are $90 a month.

I can almost make it with these bills at $15 an hour, cause I can clear nearly 2K a month, and bills above add up to $1900. Every three months, my endocrinologist charges me $95 for a 20-minute check up, so yea, those are tight numbers. Real tight. But I could almost make it.

What this slim little budget fails to provide for, of course, is that $360 a month in health insurance.

I try to keep my spirits, up, yo, but it’s math like this that makes me “grimly optimistic” instead of, you know, optimistic.

It’s also why I’m not a math major.

Numbers are cold, cold things.

Sometimes, just in order to get yourself going forward, to not give up, to stay resolute, you have to just say “Fuck it.”

I don’t think a lot about how I’ll get through all this. I just get through it. I think, sometimes, that if I stopped and thought about it, I might not be able to get up again.

Close your eyes and leap.

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