Posts Tagged With: Lotto

Public Therapy

Poverty TRAPS people mentally and geographically, BREAKS their spirit, and EATS AWAY at their soul until there is only a RESENTFUL husk left for the non-impoverished to gauge their success by. IT IS AN EXHAUSTING way to live! I know, I live in poverty and have quite a few health issues and I am also that same hypocritical ASS who has adopted the pitiful mantra… be happy, there are many in worse situations that me, be happy for all the little things. I NEED A NEW MANTRA, the “little things” in my life are not enough!

I have stated in other posts that this little ole blog is my form of therapy. Why? Why am I limited to writing and posting my thoughts, doubts, and insecurities? POVERTY! The thing is… I have insurance. My insurance even covers psychologists. Why don’t I take advantage of that? Co-pays! Living in poverty doesn’t allow for ANOTHER co-pay in addition the the ones I already have seeing a specialist for my Multiple Sclerosis, doctors for my diabetes, in addition to regular doctor visits for other issues that arise. I have to travel 70 miles each way for my MS specialist and that adds gas and usually a meal too. So, do I have the money for a psychologist, that I would most likely need to see on a regular basis? HELL NO!

I do have a friend that in addition to his friendship occasionally does something for me that gives me a little reprieve. I also have a few others friends that do understand my situation and we kind of do for each other as we are able to. That my be a simple as buying a coffee or treating a meal, and these are the “little things” that have a positive impact. These friendships are “big things” to me!

So, what “things” am I referring to as “little”? Things like not going hungry, having a roof over my head. You know… things that people that HAVE hardly think of or consider. Why am I not happy about having food? Because I can’t think of a time in recent years that I didn’t have to put something back that was already on a short list of things to pick up because I didn’t have enough. I buy stuff that helps me feel full, not things that are good and healthy. Eating healthy is something that I would enjoy as well as benefit from. The roof over my head is a great thing. It is also a thing that requires setting the thermostat cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer than most houses. So, having the simplest of basics of food and shelter are “little thing” things because they are not enjoyed, they are measured, rationed, and at times, simply done without.

Joining someone while running errands is a sad form of entertainment. If I am running errands with someone, it is because I like spending time with them, not because I like running errands. It becomes a fun “little thing” until they begin to shop and I am restricted to just looking. To be with someone that strolls through the WalMart isles and they put what they want in the buggy, or say, “I just want to try this” and never keep a running total in their head what they are spending seeds a little resentment. It is a dream of mine to go shopping for things I want versus what I need. To shop without needing to use the calculator on my phone to keep track with each penny I’m spending. Yes, even if it is as simple as shopping at WalMart for groceries… not worrying about what I am spending would be dreamy!

Payday to payday has been a lifestyle for me and way too many Americans for way too long. I did have a period in my life that the payday was certainly more than now and I did enjoy little and big things. It was not as glamorous as I may romanticize in my memories, but I do have happy memories from that time that spark flints of quick fleeting happiness… then back to reality. But the reality that I am not the only one in this situation and that there are people in worse situations just doesn’t bring comfort, it is just something else I worry about. If I worry about my situation, how can I not worry or be concerned about those in worse situations?

I seldom have money for Powerball, but I do dream of winning big like that one day! When I do buy a ticket, I wait a few days before checking the numbers because I can’t dream of winning after checking my numbers because it is only a dream to win. Why do so many poor people spend money on lotto? Usually because it feels like the only way out of their situation. IF I did ever win, I would be broke in a few years because I just know I couldn’t enjoy that much money and not share it! Being the ASS I am (tomASS actually), I am not even such an ass to not share. I have had the link to contribute to my therapy blog with a promise that once the $150 a year cost was covered, 50% of any money from this blog would be donated to charity. I’ve not received the $150 in any year yet, so no donations have been made. Also, since it seems no one else benefits from my therapeutic rants, I lose the incentive to keep writing.

So, until I am feeling so overwhelmed and feel writing about it, I guess this will be it for a while! I do miss writing about happier “little things” and hope to return to that one day! But again I post a link for anyone to send me some encouragement!  lol

Blogging is not free!  Please help cover the costs!

Once the $150 a year cost is covered – 50% of EVERY donation will be given to a charity (the charity will not be ME)!  😀

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Optimistically Pessimistic or Just a Realist?

For many, they would see that a person is either an optimist or a pessimist but in true fashion, I even complicate these descriptions when I self diagnose.  I see myself as optimistically pessimistic!  What is my rationale?  I enter sweepstakes and buy lotto thinking I have as much a chance to win as anyone else – Optimist.  But I know deep down I my chances to win are very slim – Pessimist.  But the more choice word I guess should be – Realist.  Living with Multiple Sclerosis also feeds this concept. I know I have good days – optimist, I also know that the price of realizing the good days is experiencing the bad ones – pessimist, but I know I have to make the best of THIS day – realist.

Because of my M.S. and spending so much time fatigued and stuck in the bed, I began entering online sweepstakes.  I have won a few nice items: an Apple iPad, a $300 Best Buy Gift card, a $100 Overstock.com Gift card, several iTunes gift cards and a dozen or so smaller prizes.  But as you see, I  have not won a big cash prize, a car, TV, or trip; but I continue entering the sweeps.  I enter the sweeps just to have something to do and on bad days I sometimes do not even enter one.  I win something sometimes – optimist, I do not win enough for the amount I of time I spend entering sweeps – pessimist, I have SOMETHING to do to pass some time – realist.  

My M.S. is like this also, when I have a good day, I tend to do too much and overexert myself.  The good day, I get to have SOME fun – optimist, the bad days I may be in great pain and stuck in bed – pessimist, when I AM stuck in bed I can remember the good days – realist.  A common saying in the M.S. community is, “I have M.S. but M.S. doesn’t have me” – optimistic.  Reality, there are days that my M.S. does have me – pessimistic.  Few people know truly how my M.S. complicates my life.  I try only to let people see the optimistic side, the healthy side of my life I do get to enjoy.  Since I do tend to project the image as someone healthy, I miss out on truly helping others understand the impact M.S. has on my life.

Staying in Medellin, Colombia as much as I do not only helps with my M.S., it also helps me mentally!  Medellin is known as “The City of Eternal Spring”.  The milder climate does help in that I do have fewer relapses and often when I do have a relapse, it may not be as severe.  This is a big plus!  The biggest benefit is that I am able to live independently!  Living totally on my disability income in the U.S. is impossible for me, but here in Medellin, I can afford to have my own apartment and feed myself.  There is little money left for other things, but the advantage of feeling independent out-weighs the disadvantages.  The downside of this independent life means I also have to sacrifice seeing my family because the M.S. limits my traveling and the money for flying is also VERY limiting.

Friends usually see me as complicated and difficult.  They do not realize what I have to do in order to “feel” like meeting for a dinner or beer – it takes careful planning for me!  I once wrote how I feel like Sid the Sloth from the Ice Age movies (https://thomasajohnston.com/2011/03/05/trapped-in-an-ice-age/).  I feel most of my friends simply tolerate me, but like Sid’s herd, my friends do down deep care about me.  I use the expression “Colombian time” in Medellin because Colombians just do not seem too concerned about schedules, appointments and timing.  This complicates my being part of a herd in Colombia because even when I explain how I NEED to keep schedules because of my health issues, the relaxed attitude of Colombians is more important to them than my schedule.  I rest, I medicate based on being somewhere at a certain time and then they see me as inflexible when they say we have changed the plans or times and just think I have the ability to adapt that easily.  Like Sid… I am sometimes abandoned.

Then again, I find it easy to thin my herd or “clean out the friend closet” sometimes!  Some people make it easy!  As I am sure I make it easy for some to reclassify me as a former friend.  I have become a self imposed hermit and actually find I enjoy being alone.  Limiting my time with friends helps me keep friends!  lol  I am very happy for the few friends I do have in my herd – Optimist.  I do wish making new friends was not so difficult for me – Pessimist.  This desire drives me to improve myself and educate even friends of how M.S. keeps me Optimistically Pessimistic or just a realist?

Categories: Colombia, Life, Medellin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Won’t Win If You Don’t Play

You won’t win if you don’t play, is an expression I have heard a good bit from people that play the Lotto.  While I do admit to being an occasional Lotto player myself, I am not counting on the Lotto to fund my retirement.  But what I enjoy most most is the time between buying my tickets and checking my numbers…. until those numbers are checked…. it still could be me with the winning number combination!  This possibility of hope is founded as long as I played!

Since I have been on disability, I do not have a lot to hope for day to day other than hoping for a good day, a break from disabling Multiple Sclerosis, or do I?  I have discovered online sweepstakes.  I enter as many as I can.  There are some that require help from friends.  There was one for me to win a new shed, friends could vote that the shed we did have was original and creative – it is a 18-wheeler trailer that Dad took the wheels off of and added a storm door! lol  Instant shed.  At the end of the contest, our shed had the most votes, but we will have to see if the judges agree!  I should know soon if I won.  But like the time between buying a ticket and checking the numbers, so was the anticipation to check each day to see if my vote count had increased, had my friends and family taken the time to “help” me possibly win.

The new sweeps I am asking help with is “about.me”. It is a site that for me is like an online directory. This one site has quick links to all of the other places I “am” on the web – including this blog. It also links my facebook and twitter. As my presence online grows, I will include them on my about.me page (www.about.me/thomasjohnston).  In the about.me contest, the winner will receive a trip to New York City and be featured on a billboard in Times Square. Not since my early 1980s modeling days with Nunnery’s and Our Gang or being photographed by Barry Boyd and Tuminello’s Photography have I been a possible model on a Times Square billboard!! lol (long ago days at that).

After 24 hours in the about.me sweeps, I was in the top 10%…. then 48 hours I was in the top 5%, but now I have stalled in the top 5%.  I have 245 friends on facebook and yet when I post to go vote for me on facebook … I am lucky if 5 go to actually vote. 😦  I have received a few compliments on my writing, but to date – NO ONE has felt the need to used the paypal button to donate and encourage my efforts financially! lol  So I need to find a way to be more persuasive with my writing. I am finding it difficult to get friends to simply click one link then click vote (it does not even require anyone to enter an e-mail lol).  I have had over 8,500 people view my blog in the last year, but only 9 have been persuaded to subscribe to my blog.  So now I will ask the few that read this post to this point to maybe comment on how I may persuade friends to vote, subscribe or possibly even donate.  I NEED a NYC Times Square billboard appearance!  lol  😉

I will anxiously check each day to see how many hits I get for this post, how many votes I get in the sweeps and enjoy the moments of hope that comes with each.  Although it can be discouraging at times it is what keeps me aspiring to be more.  With feedback, help and encouragement from my readers…. I’ll find winning numbers one day!  But it can’t be said I won’t win if I don’t play – I am PLAYING!!

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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