I spent most of 2022 taking coursework that would lead me to becoming certified to work with addiction recovery and abuse recovery clients. The course had two choices for the course, 18 months or a 9 month fast track course. I took the 9 month course and finished in December of 2022. The program led me to believe that upon graduation, I would be able to open my own practice, but after graduating, I came to realize that that was not going to happen. In order to start my own practice, I would need someone with at least a Master’s Degree, or a medical doctor on board in order to work with insurance companies. Then there are all the typical expenses with starting such an operation… expenses that I cannot cover.
Needless to say, I was disappointed and felt as though I had wasted the time and money spent getting the certifications, and the fees that I had been paying continued, and would be increasing so I took leave from the organization. Not being one to give up so easily, I decided that I would apply to a college in order to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. I’ve started the process… filled out an application, applied for a Pell Grant, and provided my prospective college my Associates Degree transcripts, and now I’m just waiting to see if I’m accepted.
So I am 81 years old, and that may make some wonder why now? Well, the answer is simple. For most of my working life, I simply didn’t have the money to continue my education beyond my Associates Degree, and quite frankly I don’t have it now, but I have never given up on the idea of furthering my education, getting a Bachelor’s degree, and going back to work.
Just before I turned 65, I lost my job, and though I had been looking for the next 15 years for a job, no one would hire me, in spite of the fact that in my occupation for 30 years, computer typesetter and graphic design, I was highly skilled. I know that the reason I couldn’t get hired was because of my age, but there was nothing I could do about that because it would be impossible to prove.
So my only income is Social Security, and that is not a whole lot of money, and though for 2023 the cost of living raise in my monthly check put an extra $149 in my check, every cent of that was eaten up quickly, because since then, every single bill I have increased, some of the increases were substantial… especially food. Because I was getting food from the local community center, my bill for food each month had been about $50 to $75, but two things have changed. First, the food from the community center has been slowly becoming less and less, and lacking in variety and quality… i.e. lots and lots of rice, and unhealthy snacks. I’m now having to spend $150 to $200 a month on food, while actually getting what used to cost me $75 at most. Every grocery item has increased, and its contribution to my monthly expenses is getting to where it’s not sustainable, and I fear that my already tight budget is only going to get worse, probably to the point where I just won’t have the money to pay all of my bills, and perhaps my mortgage.
So as the situation stands now, if I’m accepted to the college I applied to, unless I’m able to bring my expenses down, I will not be able to pursue my Bachelor’s degree, let alone pay my other bills, and so I’m hoping that some kind person with the ability to help would be willing to help me pay off my mortgage and my solar panels. For that I would need $140,000. My mortgage is right around $122,000. and the solar panels, if I paid them off today would be just under $19,000, for a total of approximately $141,000.
If I’m fortunate enough to have someone who can afford to help me with this, paying off these two large bills would put approximately an additional $700 in my checking account every month, and combined with the Pell Grant, I would be able to pay for my college expenses. Some might think it foolish to go after a Bachelor’s degree at my age, but they do not know me. I am not your typical 81 year old. I am very active, in excellent health, and old age runs in my family, so I fully expect to live at least another 20 years, and I have no desire to just sit and watch television, waiting to die. My passion has always been helping others, and for the first ten years of my working life, I worked in the social service arena. The money wasn’t great, which is why I had to go into working in the print industry, but the satisfaction I got working within the social service arena was priceless.
Thank you in advance to whomever sees my plight worthy of consideration, and should I be so fortunate, I will be forever grateful.