If you’ve ever sat around a bonfire with me, I have probably asked you this question:
“What was a B.C / A.D moment in your life where you realized one period of your life was over and a new one was beginning?”
Next week, my husband and I celebrate our first full year in our new house. At the time, I understood that moving away from our home of 5 glorious years would naturally come with new memories, but I never expected our move to become a rocky, emotionally draining, friendship ending, relationship straining, symbolic B.C. / A.D. moment in my life.
I have blogged about the facts numerous times since, but 3 days before our first payment was due on our new home, I was let go from my job very suddenly.
In the span of a 3 minute conversation, my household income dropped by 60%+… and I got to call my husband on the phone and tell him that he was the only income earner (for the first time in 8 years) at the very moment when our expenses were the absolute highest they have ever been in our lives.
By 5:00 pm on July 27, 2018, my immediate family and closest friends knew what happened. However, I played my feelings about our situation off as if they were tiny.
To be blunt, I felt like a failure. My husband and I could afford our old house (and all our expenses) on the lowest individual income, and yet we found ourselves discussing in what order we’d sell our cars, belongings, or our house when the savings account ran dry in a few months. This felt like it was my fault alone because I promised myself to get him out of poverty–and now we were dangling near it.
On top of this, I spent every day sitting in our new house, unemployed, literally being surrounded by what felt like the root of our problems. Once a week, I loaded up our lawnmower and drove back to our other house to mow the lawn and reflect on the highly affordable life I had left behind only 57 days earlier.
In my mind, if we didn’t buy this house (that we hadn’t even fully unpacked yet), we’d be fine financially and likely relatively stress free. Instead… I had a date on my calendar circled where I knew we’d have to start selling stuff. Honestly, I consider this period of my life emotionally similar to when I left my abusive ex a decade ago…that’s how deep it got for me.
I spent this past winter in a “retreat” mode where I took time to myself to stabilize, rebuild my career, rearrange our finances, realign our goals as a couple, and rebuild my self worth following a near depressed state.
Over the winter, I had to learn how to love myself, my home, my career, my goals, my husband, my family, my friends, and my ambition all over again.
From the outside, however, one of our close friends (recently) said I handled our situation with grace and they never doubted our ability to weather it and bounce back. That was a high compliment on our resilience as a couple, but I didn’t realize that I was going down a self imposed path of “everything is normal” that I’d later criticize others for insensitively holding me to.
I was in absolute panic mode, but I couldn’t fathom why nobody else realized this.
That’s my fault.
I am naturally a very transparent person who will tell you anything I have done and everything I know, but I so quickly shut everybody except my husband out of my problems…then faulted them for not knowing.
Some saw my mood manifest itself in my absence, others in my assertiveness/animosity, and many simply saw this in my indifference and silence.
In my own world, I was dealing with my emotions by absolutely pouring myself deep into my mortgage lending career. I have been working 7 days a week, sometimes 14 hours a day to help others. Although I have already made a considerable sum of money this year–it’s been in vain.
I spent a considerable amount of time doing speaking engagements where I discussed how crucial we all need to make home affordability in our budgets–and how we need to ensure that we can afford our lives, in their entirety, long after the “newness” wears off and when our income isn’t a plentiful. We need to be able to celebrate holidays with our loved ones, take vacations, and enjoy each others company rather than working 12-14 hours a day to pay for some fancy/flashy home.
In my presentation, one of the main exhibits was the exact home I left behind… the affordable house that we could cover the mortgage payment on as long as one of us went to work one week out of the month.
If I am going to post and do speaking engagements about living an intentional and affordable life where my choices and decisions revolve around those who matter most to me–and not materialism, I need to start “walking the walk” once again.
I have taken some time over the last few weeks to reflect on my part in my journey, and justified or not, others emotions are just as valid as mine.
This post marks the realization of a B.C / A.D moment in my life.
I have returned to my normal, happy self and I am more than eager to find a balance with those in my life. So, if you feel any animosity or exclusion, let’s talk. I am here.
P.S., my website is now advertisement free. Living intentionally means being deliberate about the content and words I put out into the universe. Having random ads that encourage you to buy stuff is opposite of this principle. Thus, I have decided to pay for the full cost of my website via donations from active readers and my own money.