I am the other side to this equation and the instigator of most of the insanity that has taken place the last several weeks. In a marriage it takes two to turn a life around right? So here is my perspective..I am long winded. Forgive me. On pavement, I am a sprinter but in type I end up being the marathon runner.
Our journey began last January when we finally got “fed up” and decided to sign up for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We have never lived an extravagant lifestyle..we are not 30,0000 millionaires pretending we are something we are not. We never ran up credit cards on fun clothes, gifts or crazy trips. Simply put, LIFE happened. We got married, had two kids in 5 years (not including the now 7 year old from a previous marriage)..moved to the suburbs and realized we were broke. Medical bills, new washer (old one flooded), tires and several midnight or holiday ER trips and a single teacher income had pushed us to the edge. Christmas plus two December babies would make anyone insane, but when you face the reality of not even being able to afford a resale shop toy for your kids or choosing..birthday or christmas?? It hits you that it is time to make a change.
We were spoiled. We managed to find a rental home in the “suburbs” and willingly signed a three year lease. We spent three years meticulously caring for a home that wasn’t even ours. Despite our luck to even find a home in our price range to rent, we were still too ashamed to invite our friends over. Why would anyone want to sit on our dorm worthy furniture or eat off our table scratched to pieces by the children? We had room to entertain..but were too ashamed to dare invite our friends over. The toilets were scrubbed, the floors clean, but what was it that made us always hesitate to extend that invitation? Our friends would not care that we didn’t “own” the house or that our furniture was a decade old, but we still always found a reason to not measure up. Friend or Foe..we are our own worst enemy.
The Bug and the Windshield
You know that saying? “You can either be the bug or the windshield?” J and I decided that we are not the “bug” aka the victim and we certainly were not strong enough to be the windshield..so where did that leave us? We were the windshield wipers. We were assigned the dirty, demeaning task of cleaning up the mess that we had made. The bug mentality of our former selves was being scrubbed clean and preparing for the stronger, clearer promise on the windshield of the future.
At some point in April we decided to call our landlord, break our lease and search for housing that would help us save money and put us a step closer to the right direction. In short..we are insane. We moved our family of 5 from a nice, new home in the quiet “rural” suburbs to a small..900 sq ft apt. in the middle of the loud, over crowded city close to J’s work. The Tollway is our new neighbor as well as a cigar smoking teen. We literally sold everything we owned with the exception of our beds. Couches, tables, the fridge, wardrobes, toys, clothes, shoes, random collections, travel mementos..GONE. Everything we own fits into one 14′ single car garage and the back of our mini-van. Letting go of all your “stuff” is both liberating and terrifying at the same time.
I still can’t figure out why I sobbed at letting our beat up..carved up..ugly wood kitchen table go. This item was acquired before I married J..during a time of turmoil and sadness, it was time to let it go, but my heart still hurts when I think about my daughter meticulously carving her name into one of the chairs at five years old. We prayed, cried and had many meals at that beat up wood table, but letting it go was one of our first acts of faith for our unknown future. 900 sq ft. does not allow for such an extravagant wood table. My old white laminate desk, (2) ikea side tables (now chairs for the kids)..and empty space will do for now.
Despite all reason, I am ok with “empty” and void of color, furniture, cable, a microwave and by most American standards..basic needs. We no longer own a tv, a couch (bean bag chair a couple more weeks until new couch arrives), gaming systems or even a descent chair to crash into after a long day of our children’s tantrums. The floor is hard and is a harsh reminder of work to be done. The walls are bare but allow me to dream of new ways to fill them. My color options are endless against the apartment beige walls.
We have been made new. We are raw. We have been broken. We are still hopeful. We have space to dream. We have time to rebuild lost dreams.
So there you have it..the long version. The other side of “Turning This Life Around.” Yes, diet, working out, health, buying our own home…all these things are on our list. Join us in our journey. You will get a couple of laughs and a glimpse into our insanity and hopefully more than a glimmer of our faith. It all begins with one step, even when you can’t see the entire staircase. Here we are. 5 of us. 900 sq ft. starting over, praying, working, crying, laughing and believing that this is the beginning of a crazy new life.
~Amber aka “The Other”