I lost my job 2 years ago. I couldn't find another one after about 6 months, so I moved to Texas where the economy is better. I failed to get a good job in Texas and then my unemployment benefits were exhausted. So I accepted a minimum wage job, but that didn't even cover my rent and utilities. So this weekend, I moved back into my mother's basement in Virginia.
The basement is comfortable enough. I have a refrigerator, bed, TV, and my laptop. It smells old but not mildewy. I come across artifacts from my childhood -old coloring books, encyclopedias, plastic game board pieces. It's free, but I'm ashamed to go into town to get groceries because I don't want to run into anyone from my past. I'm 48 and I want to end it.
You're 48. If you run into someone just say your mom has dementia and keep it moving gurl!
I've now been underemployed for a full 3 years.
Thankfully not at minimum wage, but it still sort of sucks.
Try to be happy you are alive. Try finding some volunteer work. Helping others may make your plight not seem all that bad.
What kind of "job" did you have? Do you have a college degree? Do you have a CAREER or a job? Hey, nothing wrong with having a "fallow" period, a down time. The economy is currently in the shitter and everyone is struggling. And if you live in your mom's basement, why lie? Work on the "shame" thing, first. Why are you embarrassed about it? You have TRIED your best to find work and things haven't yet worked out. For now. But beating yourself up with shame is not good.
If you were 25 there wouldn't be so much shame in it, but at 48 you should be more on your feet.
I agree with R1. You need a cover story that you moved back in with your mom to help take care of her. At least it will make you seem honorable.
Good luck OP. Don't feel badly about it. Things will be better soon.
what is it that you do that you could not find another job in and if you could not after 6 months and you have been out of work for 3 years maybe you could have retrained for another job?? just saying.
I went through this- lost a very high profile job that paid well on the west coast. I could not get another job close to it so I moved back home lived in the basement. I took a minimum wage job at a local computer store and learned how to build and fix pcs, took that to a consulting company and got moved down south to work on site doing level 1 break fix support for a consulting company and they offered Microsoft Training. Got my mcsa and then msce and got a sys admin job at a very large tech company with stock options and growth potential. 6 years later I make more now than I never did and enjoy my work. Honestly if you can't find work in what you know, change what you know.
Keep working your hardest to turn things around. And be happy you have family to rely on for this kind of help. Nothing to feel shameful about if you're doing your best to try to remedy the situation. Smarter to acknowledge this period of time where you need some help, rather than getting deeper and deeper in debt.
No cover story required. It is understood. Virginia economy is better. I hope you find something. Think'n of ya.
Don't "end it." Things will get better for you if you try. You've gotta get out EVERY DAY to look for work. A job won't come to you by staying home. Fix yourself up, wear nice clothes, get your hair cut and smile a lot. This will endear interviewers to you. Nobody wants a Sad Sack. Use your Internet connection to find a job. Check the newspaper, go to at Temp job place. Just go for gusto knowing in your mind you'll find a new job.
And don't let the freaks on the Internet get you down. Just remember how great it is when you get your paycheck. Put the money away, don't buy any junk. Soon you'll be able to move out of that cellar into a nice sunny studio or something like that.
JUST STOP BEING A MEEK DEFEATIST.
Don't listen to the likes of R4 or R1. "Honorable?" What the fuck does that even MEAN? There is nothing "dishonorable" about having financial struggles. This OP has not clued us into the specifics of exactly how this happened. Yes, he COULD be a dumbass who mismanaged his money and has not made smarter choices. But it could also be a lot of things that are beyond his control. The only way to live is HONESTLY, though. Make up some sort of "story?" Fuck that. Who you tryin' to impress? To fool? You ain't foolin' YOURSELF, that's for sure. Take your lumps, live honestly and with INTEGRITY. Lying about one's situation is what is NOT HONORABLE.
People who try to put on the dog and make shit up to keep up with the Jones are pathetic.
Seriously, don't feel bad about it. Keep your head together and move on. I know it sounds oversimplified but fuck it, shit happens and we have to deal with it. If someone told you that life was supposed to be easy they lied. Its not. If you mother told you that then she deserves you back. Man up.
I wish my Mother was alive so I could move into her basement. Not an option. I have to do it and no where to turn to. It has been a bitch in this economy but somehow I have managed to keep us afloat (me and the partner). There is no shame in doing an honest days work no matter what it is. Period.
Wishing you better luck and a decent job, OP.
I don't know why these idiots are blowing smoke up your ass, OP.
Of course it's embarrassing. Of course it's awful. Of course at your age you should be independent and self-supporting. Of course it's excruciatingly painful to face the fact that you failed.
So there it is. Your life is a disaster and whatever you did to create that, stop fucking doing it.
First - clean the basement so that it doesn't smell. Wash the walls, scrub the floors, air it out, etc. Paint it if you have to, do whatever it takes so that you aren't living in a stank hole.
Force yourself to go into town and if you run into anyone you know - tell the truth. I presume that your mother hasn't been lying to her friends and neighbors so a "cover story" isn't actually an option for you. You're going to be there for a while, you can't hide in Mom's basement forever.
Whatever your career was, if it's no longer an option then you'll have to find another one. This may require re-training or going back to school. Do it. Don't agonize over it, don't procrastinate. The longer you put it off, the longer you'll be living a humiliating life.
Above all, stop whining, it makes everything worse.
Hold your head up and fuck anyone who thinks less of you.
r1 here. I was kidding OP. Bottom line, you shouldn't give a fuck about anyone who is not paying your bills. That is the golden rule, even if you have a job.
And living with your mom is so not a big deal, it's practically becoming the American way. Homes with extended family are a result of the economy. People who havent had to hit the pavement in a while dont understand that you can do an honest day's work anywhere and still not have enough to put your own roof over your head. And working multiple jobs these days is also way more challenging than it was even 10 years ago.
r6 got lucky but has good advice. Start small and who knows where you might end up.
I don't want to kick you while you're down OP, but it could be worse, at least your mom is still around to offer you her basement. See, it could be worse!
And the economy sucks, it's not your fault, take it easy on yourself.
Well OP, at least you still the "moving back home" option at your age. Not everybody has that option.
This is an especially sad tale.
Given the avarice of the 1%, I'm not sure this is an EST, R19.
Please OP, no cover story about "taking care of your mom who has dementia." I shudder to imagine the fit MY mother (75 y/o and very sharp) would throw if she got wind of a tale like that being spread around town about her.
OP, I feel your pain.
My life has been in a downward spiral for about 8 years now. Got laid off from a great paying job in 2005. I sold my house at the height of the market, relocated and downsized. I bought a fixer upper with plans to remodel it and live a simpler life. Things only got worse.
Went through a series of crap jobs that barely kept me above water. Things went bad quickly when my mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. They thought she had only a few weeks left when the found the cancer. She went into hospice and I went home to help care for her and to deal with everything that needed to be dealt with. She held on much longer than expected. I exhausted my FLMA benefits and my employer let me go. Wasn't eligible for unemployment because of this. To make matters worse when I was cleaning out my mother's place I aggravated a back issue and found myself in constant pain and no health insurance.
Got a roommate. Worked a shit retail job for $8 an hour for over a year. A year and a half ago I was down to my last $45 dollars when I was offered a job. Was getting back on my feet. The roommate moved out. Things were going fairly well.
Six weeks ago I got laid off along with 3 other coworkers. Haven't seen anything from unemployment. Apparently my former employer isn't responding to the unemployment office and won't verify we've been laid off. One of my former coworkers has an aunt who works for the unemployment office and is keeping tabs on our claims for us, but until they get the verification of the lay off no money.
I'm so discouraged. I don't think I have it in me to start over again at 54. I really wish I could go to sleep and not wake up.
OP, we're in a depression-no matter wht the "experts" say. Things seem to be hitting our generation (I'm 44) the worst. I'll bet a lot of the people you're hoping not to run into are one paycheck away from losing everything, too. Everyone I know who's my age is in really bad shape financially.
I believe family members living together is the new normal. Even if Hillary wins in 2016 I think it will take years to turn things around. Hang in there, I don't look down on you or anyone else in the same straits.
r19, it's full of essential simple truth.
There are some DLers who feel that they would rather live on the street or a homeless shelter than line in their parents basement.
So be careful of some really judgmental people here at DL.
There are some DLers who feel there is NO EXCUSE for someone who is in their 40s and living at home.
At least this puts you in company with most other Dataloungers.
Thanks for all the encouraging advice. I do have an undergraduate degree and my career was in clinical research.
I must reek of failure. I know I exude it now and I have to change that.
Clinical research is a good field to be in, OP, or it should be if your work history and references are solid.
You failed. It sucks. It shouldn't have come to this but it did. Make sure you take a long, hard look at what you did to contribute to your own failure - it's the only way to avoid it in the future. At the same time, don't take on the responsibility of what isn't your fault and then use it to beat yourself. The economy does suck in many areas and for many people - that part isn't your fault.
You're not dead, you're not even sick. You'll be fine. Just don't dissolve into a puddle of depression in the basement. Like I said upthread - clean the basement, don't lie about your life and don't hide out down there.
Also, even a shitty part-time job is better than no job at all. Look around.
"I must reek of failure. I know I exude it now and I have to change that."
Been there done there OP. When I was 48 I was laid off, broke up with my partner, sold the beautiful house with a pool and room for a pony. The worst for me was splitting up the dogs. He kept one, I kept two. Then I developed a neurological disorder that I thought was Parkinsons. When I lost my job I lost my health care. I moved from Palm Springs to Rockford IL. My once beautiful live came to a crashing halt but my father gave me a pity job at his company so I could get benefits.
As it turned out moving back turned out to be the best thing because my father was diagnosed with various cancers and I was able to take care of he and my mom until he died. She is now 86 and is frail but wanted to return to the desert so we bought a house a year ago. I started painting again, all my friends are here and I'm able to look after my mom.
But when I first got back to Rockford I was devastated and more than anything humiliated. You are going to feel like shit for some time but you will come around. Just don't feel that it's the end of the world like I did. I'm 57 now but it took me a long time to get my bearings again.
But don't apologize for your circumstances. If people ask why you're back just give them a brief summary. You'll bounce back. It just won't happen overnight. I'm sending you hugs.
Very good advice and stories here, thank you.
R26, that is not true.
Dataloungers object to men in their 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's who have never left the home of their parents or their mother, and have never lived elsewhere on their own.
R32 there have been some DLers who have said they would rather be in a homeless shelter than move back home.
SHIT! My mother doesn't have a basement.
Ignore the bitter queens on here who always having negative comments to make. Any of us could be in your shoes, all it takes is a downsizing company and poof, many of us would be looking for help as you did. Keep your chin up and keep looking for work. Living with mom might be tough, but thank God you have her to fall back on. Being persistent will eventually pay off. Good luck.
LOL @ R27.
Jeezus, OP. Life is more than status and things. Maybe you need to look at your definition of "success".
as long as you are not getting drunk or high every night you can take this as an opportunity to get super fit, help out your mom, and entertain yourself with some creative endeavors.
All this extraneous stuff will lessen the anxiety of looking for work and healing your shame.
And there's nothing to be ashamed of--you don't steal form your mom, or beat her, right?
Always remember one thing OP and others: there are hundreds of thousands of people sitting in jails and prisons for crimes that they either committed or didn't commit--but they are there, spending their days.
You have it sooooo mush better than that and boy, would they love to trade places.
First, don't listen to the dolts on here who keep saying you're washed up at 30. That talk is really poisonous and just not true. You're still in your prime in your forties.
Second, many people in their forties and fifties start over with new careers. You can too.
Don't feel bad, OP. I'm underemployed and back with my parents at 45. I feel a little guilt about it, but not too much. My father's doesn't help my Mom so I help her with everything, doing the yard work, maintenance and a lot of the cooking. Things are so bad here in Michigan I'm frankly relieved to have a roof over my head and the knowledge that I'll inherit it when they're gone.
This is the only country on earth where it's considered shameful for different generations to live together. That will eventually change. There's a lot of ruin left in this economy, things are gonna get a lot worse, and the sort of assholes who'd look down on me have already been cut out of my life. I look at the debt some of them are in and laugh. Now I'm just patiently waiting for my dad to croak so I can have the basement to myself. There, I said it.
OP, why do you care what people think?
OP, don't feel ashamed. This summer I recently moved back home and am working as a cashier for minimum wage. I am in my 20's, but honestly it is nothing to be ashamed of.
The economy is still terrible, so it is understandable. Also, as long as you are working or trying to work, I honestly don't see the problem with living at home. This assumption that those that live at home are losers needs to end.
You are only a loser if you are not trying to work and are lazy.
Even if you weren't in economic trouble, there would be nothing wrong with living with your parents-- provided you made a living. It is a good way to save money.
r26 And those DLers are pathetic.
OP, I'm another one who had to move back with my parents. Well, it's my dad and he doesn't have a basement since he lives in a detached row house in a complex. I have my own room and bathroom though for which I'm grateful. Still, I'm 52 and thought I'd be much better off than I am now. But, the bottom line is, it's tough for many people now and there's no shame in working at whatever job you can get. Yes, help out your mom and tell the truth as you have zero to be ashamed of. Don't let yourself feel sorry for yourself though after an initial getting used to it period.
As others have said, make a plan and be proactive while also considering what is good in your situation:
1. You have free rent and a minimum wage job. This means you will have some money each month that you can control how you use and also get the things you need: gas/bus fare for work, clothing, meds, etc. It's also commendable that you don't consider yourself too good for a minimum wage job. OP, you aren't a loser, but a hardworking guy!
2. You have time to spend with your mom who was nice enough to give you the basement to live in no charge. So, do what R39 does and you should feel honorable to help your mom in anyway she could use. Discuss it with her and if she insists there's nothing, then you find ways whether it's yard work, cooking, cleaning or whatever. Spend time with her too as most mothers will appreciate that, but also have time to pursue your passions.
3. You have no rent to pay each month meaning more time to pursue things. Education or could you start any kind of business? If not, don't feel bad. What are your passions? Whether it's art, writing a novel or something else, you have time to try to make something perhaps marketable since you're not paying rent. Whatever you do, make sure it's something you're really passionate about that will also help you feel better about yourself.
4. Clean that basement as someone else suggested to scrub out the smell. Also, get rid of all that childhood stuff -- except for a few things -- a page out of a coloring book or stuff to keep in a scrapbook maybe.
You've got a chance to start again even if it is back at home in the basement. Fix up the basement really nice as you can. White or light yellow paint to brighten things up? Paint old furniture? Add a hot plate on a sturdy table to go along with the fridge? You have your own space and can help and spend time with your mom too.
Good luck OP and again, good for you for taking that minimum wage job. Keep up your hardworking spirit and things are bound to get better.
I'm sorry that you're feeling down, I hope things will get better for you soon and that you get out of your funk! You can do it!
[quote]This is the only country on earth where it's considered shameful for different generations to live together.
No, R39, the shame is in the failure of a healthy adult to be self-supporting. If you're not running home to live off of your parents - live with them, nobody cares.
There are reasons it might be appropriate and not humiliating. Their retirement might be inadequate. They might need care when they're frail or sick. You might stay with them after a break-up or divorce, while you're re-locating.
If any of the above apply, by all means, take your time about it. If you're over 30 (I'm being generous) and living off of your parents because your life is such a fucking disaster that you have nothing and nowhere else to go, it's a humiliating failure. It actually matters that an adult recognize that and deal with it honestly.
If you can't see how and why it's humiliating, have your self-respect and character meters checked.
R45, you are a total fucking asshole.
The humiliating failure is in the hands of our government who for years have done nothing about jobs being sent offshore, who bailed out too big to fail banks that are run by criminals at best, who allow the rich to get richer and who have not lifted one fucking finger to help the people in the country who are out of work.It is our government's fault that if somebody loses their job and gets sick they either end up bankrupt because we have no national health insurance. It's our government's failure for cutting the safety net for the poor rather than take away tax breaks for the richest of the rich when times are hard.
It is our collective failure for putting and keeping these assholes in office It is our collective failure for buying the cheap Chinese shit they sell us. It is our collective failure for allowing this to go on for as long as it has.
It is not the OPs fault that we all now have an expiration date around 40. After that you're too expensive or useless to then since they can slot in some stupid 20 year old who will work for $10 an hour.
It's also your fault R45, and the fault of those like you. You're nothing more than an entitled asshole.
I can only hope you find out what it's like to be pushed out the door and be told we don't need you anymore so that you have to go through your savings to stay afloat. I hope you find out what it's like to be told you're too old or for you to get sick and have no insurance.
Families take care of each other when things get bad and there is nothing to be ashamed of for having to turn to one's family you entied prick.
wow... Things suck for some I guess and a lot of my friends are in the same boat.
But when I was in college I left after two years and decided to become a NYC police officer...most of my friends laughed especially those in the financial industries who are now struggling as much as the OP or worse.
I worked my ass off for 20 years,finished college and then some, rose thru ranks and am retired at 44 and collect over 80k a year in pension [thats without touching my 401k type pension we call Deferred Compensation or dipping into my savings]... It was also the mist fun I had with a job and would have stayed longer but the politics was stressing me out more than criminals.
I now work small side jobs when I want and how many days I want to keep busy, and not because I need the money.
Applause for R46.
See I told you there are folks like R45
They see NO EXCUSE.
For having to move back home.
R46 thank you. You nailed it.
R45 is spot on.
Hi OP, Hope things turn around for you very quickly. Please look for ways to feel better about yourself every day. The society we live in doesn't always place a high premium on the kind of person you are but you can get plenty of self esteem from treating YOURSELF and others well.
Be kind to yourself. Like all of us, you have been conditioned to seek the approval of others and it sounds as though the thing that is bothering you the most is the potential judgement of others.
Let me suggest it is your judgment of yourself that is really causing your suffering. If you are good with yourself other people judging you isn't debilitating.
Consider this: When you had a great job, plenty of people were judging you, you just didn't notice or care because you weren't judging yourself negatively.
People judge others negatively to feel better about themselves it has nothing to do with you.
There are opportunities in your situation that you might be overlooking because you are judging yourself for living with your mother.
Not the least of which is the opportunity to spend time with your mother and perhaps have a different perspective on her and a different relationship. You will be glad you had the chance when she is gone. Trust me.
Learn how to love yourself and change your circumstances from a place of love rather than scramble to get an "acceptable" life from a motivation of shame.
Don't make up a story. You will end up feeling worse about yourself. Just know you don't have to explain yourself to anyone. If you choose to explain yourself, do it from a place of pride not shame
R45 is an asshole, and proves R39's point. You sound like a wise person, R39. Wish I knew you in real life.
I would like to add that this is also the only country that thinks someone in their forties is "over." The OP, quite frankly, is still young. Lots to look forward to. Lots to do. And age--and experiencing life as one gets older--can be a pleasure, if you have your health, which it sounds like the OP does.
A big hug to the OP.
You aren't alone.
Yes; tell everyone your mom has dementia. Destroy her reputation so you don't have to be embarrassed.
Been there myself (46 now). Living with your mum not the worst thing. It will give you time to get back on your feet, without having the burden of overheads like rent, a mortgage etc. Most people are drowning in debt. You might find that more than a few of those you run into you are kind of envious. Make the most of it, OP.
I was in your shoes in some ways a few years ago. I had come to the end of a ruinous relationship, had a nervous breakdown, and went home to live with my dad. I got a job at a pleasant retailer and started to rebuild my life. The advice here about keeping up your health and appearance, and cleaning and beautifying your environment are vital. Always seek beauty, always make beauty. Do as many good things as possible. Help people who have less than you - and I mean - not $$ but in other ways. Fix things for old people, walk a dog. It really helps to feed your spirit. Get a job - get out and be with people. Tutor kids for the SAT - get a temp gig. Get out and meet people. One little thing will lead to another thing - keep going. You are in a temporary situation - and it can make you stronger and better if you will allow it to do so. Everyone is struggling or has struggled. If you keep working and keep your chin up people will help you, becasue we have all been there. I pray and meditate, also, and found that very helpful, but even if you are an atheist, you can still meditate on nature or the things that are highest to you. Keep your mind on the highest things, seriously. Some days will be better than others.
All the best, OP.
Thank you, R46.
Another thing for OP and shitheels like R45 to note is that half the work force made less than 26K in 2010. Even going back to school and getting a STEM degree won't guarantee you a job, especially if you're over 40. Congress voted to hand out as many H1B visas each year as there are STEM jobs created. Assholes like Zuckerberg complain that there aren't enough qualified Americans, not because it's true, but because he wants more immigrants to bring wages down. There are far more people graduating with law degrees than there are decent legal jobs. There are no safe fields any more.
The American people are being deliberately displaced, and the middle class is being intentionally destroyed. They're not naturalizing the helot class of illegal immigrants because they want them to attain the American dream. The immigrants are innocent pawns in the elites' game to bring American wages down to global levels for all but a few. The elites want a medieval-style two-tier society and they're well on their way to getting one.
R45 may be old or secure enough to avoid displacement, but that doesn't make his ranting the truth. His job probably involves value transference rather than value creation, and I somewhat enjoy the fact that I'm not doing much at the moment to enrich the parasitic FIRE sector class. Keep screeching that we can all pick ourselves up by our bootstraps like it's still 1996 - you'll get yours.
Best of luck to OP and everyone who is struggling.
The way it's going, virtually everyone will face real hardship at some point in their lives. USA Today reported yesterday that, "Four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream."
Be grateful that you have a mom willing to take you in. My mom died five years ago and I have no family.
R4 People move back to their parents home for numerous reasons. One of the most common ones is after a break up or divorce when you need to leave your own home immediatly.
There's no shame in being unemployed, nor being back at your parents place. This is the reality of the economy we live in. I know people who lived at home until they were fricking 30. They were lazy asses.
OP, don't lie, just tell the truth. Be glad that you have someone to actually take you in. There are people living in their cars at this very moment.
OP, go into town and if you run into anyone you know tell them you're back because you lost your job, do they know anyone who might be hiring? Everyone you talk to has to become a potential job lead. The only shame in being unemployed is not doing anything about it.
I moved back home when I was in my 30s and lost my job. I found another job in my field quickly but at substantially lower pay. It took a long time for me to work my way back up. I ended up staying at home with my parents for several years, paid off my debts and saved up for a house. I was able to put down 20%, and still had savings. I also got the Obama first time homebuyer credit for $8000. My mortgage is substantially cheaper than my rent ever was and I love having my own house.
I'm so embarrassed. I meant that R39 is an asshole, not the other way around.
Sincere, Grace Kelly ballet-like-deep-bow apology to R45.
Stay pressed, R53. I'm laughing at you.
I’m not suggesting OP or anyone else give up on life because the elite have stacked the odds against you. Definitely use this time to explore your options. In Michigan they just made it legal to sell food you’ve made in your own kitchen. I make cakes and other desserts for people sometimes, and I’m working on expanding that business.
Your value as a person is not defined by your income or lifestyle. I have given up on the idea of being middle class. I live modestly and debt-free in an upper-prole area and it’s kind of a relief to get off the hamster wheel and not have to deal with yuppie assholes.
You can add significant value to a household without it being in the form of cash. Pull your weight around the house and make your Mom consider you an asset. Mine does. If I weren’t here she’d have to do everything herself, and she’s in her late seventies. My siblings are either out of state or too self-involved to care for my parents, and they don’t have the money for a rest home or live-in help. I’ve accepted that I will be their caretaker, and I may as well get paid for my services in rent. That’s how I look at it.
You’ve got the time to do some hardcore Tightwad Gazette-style bargain hunting for your Mom. By checking out circulars and shopping loss-leaders and clearance, you could easily save your Mom more money each month than you’d normally pay her in rent.
Sooner or later the various Ponzi schemes are going to collapse, and a lot of smug upper middle class people will be left wondering what happened.
Here's what you do, OP. The basement is black and scungy? Don't work against it: work with it. Paint it blacker and fill it with a couple of old oil drums to butch it up even more. Then hand out flyers outside the local gay bar advertising The Dungeon - your hot new fuckclub. Suddenly you're a club mogul!! You can also hold special parties there including S&M weddings, and don't forget that for piss & scat events you can charge a 100% markup on the doorcharge. Although you will need to buy a mop.
Sending best wishes your way, OP. I hope things get better for you soon.
OP - you need to start working out and getting yourself in shape. It's good for depression, will give you energy, and you'll come off better to other people.
You'll also feel better about yourself.
R22, please hang in there! That's terrible about your former employer not contacting unemployment. This doesn't seem fair - and I always thought they - USUALLY - side with the employee. Your friend's aunt, as you said., could be helpful. Do you think yhou ought to appeal to "Fund Me" or some other internet $$$ site? I don't know anything about it, but probably somedbody you know - or somebody on DL, does?
To ROgerOctopusNetwork: THANK you for saying something that I, no economic expert, have been said to friends of mine for about 2 years now - we are a LONG way from a recovery.