Paranoia About Bills

We all have fears and doubts, it is part of the human condition…We all want to live perfect, hassle free lives without having to worry about things like illnesses, bills, doctor or dental appointments, landlord visits or scam artists that call you on the phone all the time…We don’t want anybody to puncture our bubble of invincibility, penetrate our fortress of solitude, invade our mind with mental hassles…

Some things, like serious illnesses can not be avoided, they are real and need to be dealt with promptly…But what I am talking about is all the wasted hours of agony and mental torture we put ourselves through on a daily basis about things like bills; for example, what MIGHT happen if we do not pay our cell phone bills or our cable TV bills or our school bills on time….

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Big man holding another upside down by the ankles

I confess, I was guilty of this myself in my younger years, spending many a sleepless night needlessly worrying about money hassles…In the end, one way or another all these problems were resolved, and all that worrying and wondering and dwelling on the worst possible outcome were wasted, all that sweating and agonizing was pointless…

I think we are all cursed with the fear of the unknown, of imagining in our heads the very worst case scenarios, but these seldom happen…Someway, somehow, we can almost always avoid the worst possible scenarios, and freaking out like Chicken Little and running around saying the sky is falling is not the way….

OMG! But when this happens to YOU, it seems like it is the end of the world! Our little niche in society we have carved out so laboriously over the years, our little bit of personal space, is suddenly threatened by big, impersonal automated sources we feel we have no control over…We sweat and shiver and agonize and toss and turn all night, just thinking about the dire consequences of our inability if we can’t come up with the money to pay our bills on time and avoid losing the services we so desperately require…

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Obviously, some bills are more important than others, like rent…That MUST be paid, every month, no matter what, or you can face eviction…However even being short on the rent and facing possible eviction is not a death sentence…In every case, a 24 hour notice to vacate can be challenged, and you can go to court and legally extend the whole eviction process, sometimes for several months…

If you live in a large city, try to find some Free Legal Aid office, or search for a lawyer who will do pro bono work for you…. Lawyers are required to donate a certain percentage of their professional time every year to pro bono (roughly translated:free) work for clients with limited incomes…You can easily find a listing of lawyers who do pro bono work online even if you live in a rural area….

Most landlords just want their money, and sometimes, especially if they are small property owners, you can talk to them about a mutually satisfying rent repayment arrangement  system to bring you up to date…The pro bono lawyer will help you maneuver through the intricacies of the legal system at no cost to you; that is what they are there for…Remember, the landlord does not usually want to go to court either…. Family and friends can be helpful resources as well, they do not want you out on the street…

Cell phone and cable bills are luxuries in this world, not necessities…True, we have all become so used to them that they can become the center and focus of our everyday lives, myself certainly included, but again, these mega companies just want their money…In almost every case, they can easily be talked into a restructured payment settlement…They do NOT want to lose you as customers, especially if you have been faithful to them and diligent in your payments to them over the years…

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A woman pushes a stroller through the snow in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York February 17, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY) - RTR4PZ3K

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In short, the amount of time we spend worrying about the worst possible financial scenarios actually happening to us is a waste of time, because the worst possible scenario rarely occurs…It is our own insecurities, our own fears and doubts that really cripple us emotionally, tie our stomachs in knots, make us fear the worst…It is self induced paranoia, dwelling on the worst possible scenario coming true, which rarely happens, especially if you try to work with your creditors…

In the vast majority of cases, we are doing this to ourselves, putting more pressure on ourselves than we need to….It is not necessary, it is not required and it certainly is not helpful or productive anyway…Just do the best you can, and try not to dwell on what MIGHT happen and just concentrate on what DID happen….

And when you go to sleep at night, make it a point, a conscious decision, to turn off your brain and your fear reflex, remember the financial bogey men plaguing your daytime hours with overdue notices or threatening phone calls are just doing their jobs…Often it is just an automated response system these days…

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Ann Arbor Credit Bureau collections supervisor Amber Jones works at her desk on Friday morning. Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com

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For sure, they are not thinking about you when they go to bed, so why should you think about them? Tomorrow is always another day, so just do the best you can each day and wipe your mental slate clean at night, and don’t allow your fears and doubts to mentally cripple you….

And right before you close your eyes at night try to remember the wisdom of that old Spanish song, “Que sera, sera, what ever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see, Que sera, sera….

For more stories by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

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