I can honestly say I’ve been poor.
And not the “I’m poor, so I can only eat out at a restaurant once a month” kind of poor (that’s where I am at the moment), but the “I’m poor, I wonder if I’m going to have to sleep in a train station” poor. You know that scene from Pursuit of Happyness, when Will Smith takes his kid to the train station and pretends that the public bathroom is a cave that they have to hide in because a T-Rex is chasing after them, but really he only does it because they have nowhere else to sleep. Yeah, I can’t watch that scene without throwing a big fat wobbly one, cause well, I’ve been there, albeit without the kid.
Yes, I will admit there was once a point in my life where my shit was so un-together that I lost my job and my apartment within a few weeks of each other. I was able to last a few weeks without having to consider sleeping in a train station, but that’s another entry in itself.
I had no emergency fund to speak of, and was living off a couple of credit cards that were only a couple of hundred dollars away from being completely maxed out. These cards already had a few thousand of dollars of debt on them, and I had another 3 which were maxed out already, also having thousands of dollars owed on them.
I was still suffering from a diagnosed depression/anxiety disorder and only had about 2 weeks worth of anti-depressant medication left, with no funds to buy any more.
I was also in another state from my family and friends, and my stubborn pride refused to let me contact them for any assistance. Everything I owned fit into a large suitcase and a backpack.
I had hit rock-bottom.
But I think of that time as a sort of blessing in disguise. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and I have absolutely no desire to ever be in that situation again, but that period in my life taught me that I had the idiotic stubbornness within me to keep going. I was able to figure out strategies, plans, sacrifices and crazy schemes, just so I could make it through to the next day. So every second Wednesday, you’re going to hear about these.
One of these strategies was the fact that I walked everywhere. If the destination was within 2 hour walking distance (and that’s one way) I considered that an easy walk, and would have absolutely no qualms about doing it. Anything that exceeded that time frame by another hour I would consider public transport. The only places I went to during this time were job interviews and the occasional temp job and then back to where I was currently living (not having enough money to do anything else), and most of these were centrally located and so it was rare that I would have to spend that $3 on a bus/train ticket.
I kind of miss those 2 hour strolls through Brisbane. I think that was the turning point for me, it gave me time to work out the why and how I had messed up everything in my life thus far, and it gave me the how and (more importantly) why I should pick myself up, dust myself off and sort my shit out. And walking 4 hours every day kept the waistline down too.. although that could have also been the diet (or lack thereof) that I had thrust upon me at the time as well… but that’s for the next entry.