And it's not as if I can afford to splurge out on frivolities these days. I'm having a real hard time making ends meet on unemployment benefit - even though I've cut back as much as I possibly can, I'm still having to make up a several hundred euro shortfall from my savings at the end of every month. What with Sinterklaas and Christmas looming large in my future, and the news that our healthcare insurance premiums will go up from January 1st, I see no reason for optimism.
Most disheartening of all is my growing conviction that it will be nothing short of a miracle for me to find a job and be back in work again (with the added bonus of regular social interaction as well as a bills-covering wage) any time soon, as so far all of my -not inconsiderable- efforts have proved fruitless. Even though discrimation on the grounds of gender, race, religious conviction or age is punishable by law (and in my case, it's my age and the accumulated number of years of experience that is the stumbling block) employers can easily circumvent this problem by blandly stating that the applicant "does not fit the desired profile" and free themselves up to hire younger, cheaper labour that for all sorts of reasons will be easier to get rid of should the economic situation go into a double dip, which the papers tell us is entirely possible. Every rejection letter/phone call I've received so far has employed the same excuse and my confidence and energy levels have been sapped by each and every one of them, while my stress and anxiety levels have soared through the roof, to the point where I can't think straight or sleep through the night without waking up in a cold sweat at least once. Also, I'm feeling massively sorry for myself, which isn't really helping, either.
Finally, to add to my woes, the other day when I went to have my hair cut, I was surprised to see how flecked with grey it had suddenly become.