When your life seems to be vaguely out of control, the first order of business has to be getting some kind of grip on things, slowing them down, or at least getting them into a position where they can be observed. I've been somewhat dazed over the last year and a half or so, what with various weird physical ailments and the continued lack of improvement in my financial situation.

For the moment, the illnesses seem to have been pushed to the back burner. My weight is still on the high side, but it seems to be stabilizing for the moment; the random neuropathic incidents seem to have diminished a bit; I'm having to drug myself to get there, but I'm getting nearly six hours of sleep most nights, at the cost of increased drowsiness the next day and (probably) the inability to phase out the drug treatment somewhere down the line.

On the other hand, with the spectre of ObamaCare looming large in the shadows and the taxman standing right behind, things, and not just health-related things, are going to get much more expensive in the next few years. I figure, if the government is so anxious to relieve its favored few of its burdens, they can jolly well relieve me of some of mine, so I am planning to dump much of this debt load onto a government trustee, with the intention of ridding myself of it entirely after five years. This is not the way I prefer to play this game by any means, but I figure, they got their bailout, I'm going to get mine. And besides, if I actually get to the point where I'm living within my means, I get to claim all sorts of moral-superiority points against people whose business model depends on my not being able to do so.

There are still other tweaks to the lifestyle, though it may be a while before some of them come to fruition. I have been making no serious plans for retirement, mostly because I don't ever expect to get to the point where I'll be able to. (And if I'm paying off debt the way I'm planning to, I won't be stashing away spare dollars in my 401k, because there technically won't be any spare dollars to be stashed.) I should point out here that ever since I was about 15, I've assumed that maybe I might have five years left to live; while this estimate has been wrong before, it's not always going to be, and getting past 66 is a tougher hurdle than getting past 56.

It will be 2015 before I can think about replacing my car. However, I have pretty much decided that I don't need to be driving something quite this big; stepping down to a C-segment vehicle with reasonable, but not overwhelming, performance seems to be the most rational idea. (The EPA considers a compact car to be 100 to 109.9 cubic feet of interior space plus cargo room; some current workaday family sedans break the 120 mark, which makes them "large." My current ride checks in at about 117.) And it's not like I routinely have passengers.

Oh, and speaking of empty seats, there's the whole love-life thing, which I am trying to treat as though it ended fifteen or twenty years ago; it's not like I haven't felt the urge since then, but there hasn't been much of anything I could do about it. At most levels of consciousness, I can deal with this; scrape down far enough, though, and you, or at least I, can still hear the screams. I have yet to come up with a satisfactory method of quieting that sound.

Still, there are people way worse off than I am, and while I don't find this comforting, exactly, it does indicate that I whine too much. Regular readers, of course, will have noticed this long before.

The Vent

  22 March 2010

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