What is it like to expect to re enter your professional career and be second choice, over and over and over again?   What is it like to share a house with a friend for a decade without contributing to the mortgage, taxes, house repairs? What is it like to watch your retirement savings be eaten by groceries?

What is it like to lose your sense of purpose and sense of self?

Middle Income Poverty is living among middle income family, friends, colleagues, strangers, with a below poverty income. It is struggling to succeed raising a daughter on ten thousand dollars a year (from the court ordered child support), with occasional bits of additional income. It is wrassling the courage to ask for help. It is slugging through two major depressions and several hospitalizations while fighting stress related diseases.  It is being denied a return to the once successful career.

Back in 2004, I left behind my City Planner position. After fifteen years in the land use use planning profession in Maine, I decided to take a few years off to hang out with my children, a toddler and teenager. I also earned a music degree, a lifelong passion. I had long saved for this "luxury" degree, while most of my friends saved for trips to Europe or a bigger house. In 2009, I began to interview for professional city planning jobs. The recession caused floods of applicants and I was in competition with hundreds of planners instead of the more typical dozen. I trudged from interview to interview, disappointed most times to watch a younger, less experienced applicant take my place. After nine years, I have worked several part time, temporary jobs, and have not secured a job or my own home again.

The tale is not all depressing and down. I hope to share many stories of resilience, backed by humor,  hard work, and a love story. I also hope others will read these stories and share some of their own. America is no longer a country where the middle income class thrives. Many of us are falling further and further behind. I hope we can support each other through our experiences of middles income poverty.


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