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Just wanted to thank everyone for their responses. This ride so far has been interesting, especially since, back in (what I used to think were) the good old days....I was a collections rep for a utility. (Only I was a heckuva lot more reasonable than some of these folks calling me..)

Some responses to you, and then some realizations:

Re the hardship programs -- yes, went on a couple but could not maintain the payments after a while. The joy of self employment sometimes pales with the realization that your income often depends on your clients wanting things in the timeframe they originally said they did. (So when they get poor, screw up, change their minds, get sick, or better not be counting on that income you thought you had locked up, coming in.) Nothing is ever a sure thing. Makes my budgeting quite a challenge. But I still love being self employed and I know this is what I'm supposed to do. How great is that.

Will I eventually be able to make all my pays every month again-- I'm sure I will. It's the when -- and how long do I want to try to stay in the game - that are less sure.

I will definitely deal in writing from now on, and also pursue the offer what I can vs what they want. Perhaps also remind them that partial payments are better than bk....!

So what's good?

I've learned through this last year what true friends I have. Surprisingly....they weren't always the ones I thought they were. Some were people I had been too busy for, back when I was making that "good money" (you know, that money I spent on fast food because I was always working or rushing, the suits, the dry cleaners, the energy pills, you name it)but who have faith in me and once in a while loan me $10 for gas until a payment comes in to me or my husband gets paid.

I have a great brother who has had his own problems that I was too busy to see.

I found out I'm prouder than I knew, and I'm embarassed about my situation. I think sometimes that some "friends" think I deserve it, although I can't get to the why and maybe I never will. I could wish them ill or wish them to be in my situation, but I won't.

I found out that I hate things I can't control. I hate to be talked about, etc. Maybe this is why it's happened? So I would realize I have no control. I hate that too but get over it....

I found that I used to "intend to" do a lot of things....but didn't always follow through. This collection thing is requiring me to follow through with the credit card co's and mortgage cos and although I still put it off, I do it. It feels good to take care of it, even if it's only the contacting piece and not the full payment piece.

I found out that the universe takes care of my needs. Not always like I'd like. (Ed McMahon hasn't stopped by this week!) But I have pawned my camera (had held out when I pawned everything else of value, because I use it for my business) for $40 and there you go: life is wonderful. We have gas money and some milk and eggs. Can't beat it.
I haven't starved. And my creativity on getting through dry spells of no money coming in, is definitely getting challenged.

I am calmer. I spend more time with my husband than I did when I was working my former job, ditto friends, ditto SELF. I'm checking into things I used to do or used to think I'd like to try...but never had the time. I'm healthier.

After managing the world in my former corporate part time job at the drugstore is funny. I'm a great worker, always have been. Maybe too accountable -- I never knew how to say "that's not my job." Now, I start to take care of things or "manage" them....and then I stop and realize....I'm not the one who's in charge....and direct the issue elsewhere, ie my shift lead, etc. Wow. What freedom.

I think I'm learning a lesson on letting go. I should have left long ago. I was so security-oriented. I always moved instead of getting laid off when a rearrangement was going on; I changed depts umpteen times, etc. So -- because I held on so tightly, with clenched fists --- is that part of me creating my current situation?

And what does that tell me about all the other things in life that I fear? That I need to allow them to change....or that the world will change them for me??

I'm still learning this one.

Best to everyone,

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