Tag Archives: house

Working Smarter

So I’ve started putting some items up again on Craigslist this weekend.

This summer I created a “4 week clutter challenge” as a part of my desire to minimize the stuff own.

The more stuff you own, the more it really owns you.

The challenge was to clear out as much as I could each week and put it to the curb for a pre-arranged pickup with a local charity. This keeps you committed because you don’t want to waste the charity’s time driving by and seeing nothing. I also challenged myself to sell more valuable items on craigslist.

Long story short I’d managed to clear out about 50 bags and boxes which allowed me to gain alot of perspective in my house. And I made enough money to put towards new flooring to upgrade my basement.

So tonight as I sold another table I didn’t need, I thought to myself wow! I just made more money in 15min from the comfort of my home than I make standing for 5 hrs on my feet at my second job.

The whole point for me was that you get a lot further and end up with a lot more of what you want when you clear out the crap and work smarter instead of harder.

What do you think?

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Do What You Have to Do….It’s Only Temporary

Do What You Have to Do….It’s Only Temporary

If you’ve ever had to do something you’d rather not do just to achieve a goal, this post is for you.

What follows is a recount of some of the things I had to do to get my house back post-divorce. The point of my whole long drawn out explanation and partial life history ūüôā is to ask you to¬†remember two things in this life when you’re losing hope. ¬†¬†

When my business starting bringing in less and less contracts, I knew I had to come to terms with it and move on to something else. It was tough to walk away, but the market was changing and after a good run for 8 years, I saw the writing on the wall. ¬†My husband and I had talked about whether we could make it work on one income while I found an alternative. Everything was set. ¬†Or so I thought….shortly after he asked for a divorce.

He walked away like it was nothing and left behind a long trail of responsibilities for me. ¬†First and foremost was my house. ¬†A house we’d bought only 6 months prior. ¬†It was a huge sum for me to have to find every month and selling it would have offered me no reprieve since it was when the housing bubble burst. ¬†I couldn’t rent something either because I didn’t have a paycheck anymore and it would have cost me almost the same as my mortgage. ¬†Catch 22. ¬†

To add to the stress, our divorce agreement stated that I had one year to refinance it into my name or my ex- could sell it outright. ¬† Originally, he offered 6 months. ¬†I negotiated for more time. ¬†Apparently a year felt generous to him in a failing job and housing market. ¬†Not that he was paying for a darn thing. Apparently, he just didn’t want to be bound to me in any way. ¬†Who was this man?

No time to answer that one, it was time to put the pedal to the metal and get the heck out of dodge.  

I didn’t have a lot of time to wax longingly about my “dream job”. ¬†I needed money and fast! ¬†I sent out application after application and zero, zilch, nada. ¬†Here I was with a B.S. in Biology and an MBA struggling to find work in anything I was qualified for. ¬†I thought the whole world turned upside down, not just my personal life.

I finally turned to craigslist to see if there was an opportunity. ¬†I interviewed and accepted a job doing face-to-face fundraising for charity. ¬†If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically stopping people as they walk by and trying to persuade them to make monthly donations to assist less fortunate nations of people. ¬†It turned out I was good at this. ¬†Poverty was something I could really talk about. I’d seen and worked with it so much in my travels. I knew how people’s lives were impacted. ¬†Frankly, I was also pretty hungry to pay my bills too so that was a big motivator.

I tried to refinance with this job and about a month out from finalizing, the company I worked for did a “corporate restructuring” and decided to drop their program. ¬†I explained my situation and expressed my frustration to the loan officer on the phone. ¬†I said, “What do I have to do? ¬†Get a job at the bank that holds my mortgage to finally get this settled?” ¬†

The customer service representative took what I said seriously and asked me about my background. ¬†I explained it to him. ¬†He said, would you be interested in becoming a personal banker because you’d be qualified for it? ¬†I said, honestly if it helps me get my house back, I’ll do it. ¬†He told me to put an application online at the bank website and assured me he’d talk to someone in HR on my behalf. We became friends on FB. ¬†I didn’t expect much to come out of it.

Back to the drawing board.

More applications sent out, only the sound of crickets in return. ¬†Hello again, craigslist. ¬†This time, I scored a job that was freelance. They called it a “unique hair opportunity”. ¬†I thought ok. My mom owned a hair salon. ¬†She taught me a lot. ¬†How bad could this mystery job be??? ¬†

Well long story short, I became a trained “Lice Remediation Specialist”. ¬†The company supplied me with everything I needed and I’d get called or texted to go out to a job at someone’s house. ¬†It wasn’t too bad actually. ¬†It helped pay the bills so I was willing to do what I had to do. ¬†I knew that I couldn’t refinance my house with that kind of job though. ¬†So, I cranked up the engine again to find the next step.¬†

I resolved to get that bank job. In no way did working at a bank appeal to me. ¬†But I was running out of time and money. ¬†I reached out to the loan officer and asked him if he’d heard anything about my application. ¬†He got into contact with HR and I went in for an interview. ¬†I got the job. ¬†

I worked a very difficult 6 day/ week schedule. ¬†I didn’t like the work one bit. ¬†I just kept telling myself it’s for your house. Eye on the prize. ¬†I was running out of time. ¬†My ex- was dialing up the pressure with his not so helpful reminders about the 1 year time limit that was coming to a close. ¬†

I put in my refi application. ¬†Then, the communication seemed to drop dead and no one would return my calls. ¬†When I finally reached someone, it was after I received a letter stating that they couldn’t refinance my house because I’d been in the job for less than 1 year. Everything else was fine. Credit score excellent, no major unsecured debt. ¬†None of this was a problem. ¬†I couldn’t believe my ears.¬†

I was furious that my employer didn’t mind having me sell mortgages and investments to other clients, but wouldn’t even back me with one that THEY held!!! ¬†

I had heard that this bank was planning to acquire another bank that I was affiliated with. ¬†I figured while I’m on the inside I’ll do some research. I learned that their criteria were less conservative. ¬†So, I thought, let me see if I can get a loan through them before the acquisition. ¬†Within one month, I got the loan and I was at closing. ¬†The house was FINALLY in my ¬†name and for a payment I could afford!

I quit the bank the month after that. I wanted nothing to do with them. ¬†It was hurtful to me to be put in the position to be used to sell mortgages to others while realizing my employer wouldn’t support refinancing my own home. ¬†

I had had so much stress with jobs and this house refi that I wanted something easier and consistent for a while. ¬†I needed to chill and get my bearings. ¬†So, I heard about this gym that was going to open from a friend in the fitness community I was involved in. ¬†I applied for that and got that job. ¬†I’ve worked there for over a year now. ¬†I knew it couldn’t last forever, but I needed a breather before I moved on. ¬†It’s been good to me and served its purpose.

And now I have yet another new job that has some better benefits than the last one….and on and on it goes….where I stop? ¬†I’ll know it when I feel it.

Remember two things as you go through this life and face challenges:

  1. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

  2. It’s only temporary.

When you feel like you’re going to lose it. ¬†Even when you’re ready to tear your hair out. ¬†When you feel like a failure. ¬†Even when no one else has got your back and you feel as lonely as a child in the wilderness.¬†

Say to yourself over and over again,¬†Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do,__________(insert name).¬†It’s only temporary, _____________(insert name). ¬†

I still have not arrived at a place that I feel completely comfortable in my own life.  And I have to remind myself of this mantra from time to time.  But when I look back I see that despite the fear and confusion and uncertainty, I did carry on.  It took a lot of perseverance and even more patience, but I did reach one of my goals after all. 

Consider making this your daily mantra for all the challenges you face. ¬†And remember, there’s another step ahead of the one you’ve taken. ¬†There will be solid ground beneath your feet. ¬†Just do what you have to do to get through, then take the next step.

——————————————————————

Make no mistake, YOU are a success no matter how big or how small the result. ¬†Let’s help each other out by leaving comments and sharing so we all feel a little less alone in this world.

What kinds of challenges have you had to face where you found yourself doing what YOU had to do to get through?  Share your success stories with us. 

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Uhh…I Thought You Left??

What Are You Doing Here?

Psst..I have a secret to tell you…I’ve been married once before. ¬†Gasp!! Oh the horror ūüėČ ¬†Catch your breath and stay with me…

It strikes me how after a divorce, your exes can have a way of staying in your life and making you feel like you still have a cord connecting your neck to them. ¬†They’re physically gone, but you’re left with physical and financial reminders of when the two became one.

When my first marriage dissolved, I was “given” the choice to pay¬†him¬†alimony or be sued in court. ¬†I offered a compromise – to pay his student loans because it would cost me less. ¬†I’ve been paying his AND mine off through my second marriage and divorce and I’m still paying them off. ¬†BOY oh BOY do I resent that monthly payment!!

My second husband left me 6 months after we bought a house together. ¬†I had put a lot into it and the market was so bad here that I’d have lost money if I sold it. ¬†My business was phasing out at this time, so I basically had no job, no alimony¬†and¬†would have had no place to live. Sweet deal! ¬†Thank you, honey!!

So, I worked my a** off to find enough income to pay the bills while I searched for a way to get it refinanced into my own name and lower the payments.

I wanted to have some kind of stability in my life. ¬†I felt like I was losing so much, I didn’t want my house to be one more loss. ¬†I pulled it off and when I should have been celebrating, I thought, Damn it! No matter what I do this place doesn’t feel like my own. ¬†His memory, our shared dreams seem to live in the walls!@!

Cutting the Cords

So, I have a student loan that ties me to one ex-husband and a house that ties me to another.  It kind of makes me hesitate to want to get into another serious relationship!

I want to feel like I can really start over free from the cords that bind me to them, to my past life. ¬†Right now I still feel like I’m working to pay off debts held in their names while they have had the luxury to escape any responsibility.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is selling my house since the market has improved. ¬†I could proverbially “kill” two husbands with one sale ;p ¬†Student loan paid off. ¬†House gone. ¬†Some money in the bank to start over.

Sometimes, I imagine traveling overseas again.  Using that certificate to teach English as a Second Language to make an income as I travel along. It sounds so cool to think I could just keep exploring and have some kind of income along the way.

At the same time, I struggle with this feeling that I’m acting like I’m a 20-something gap-year kid vs. the 30-something that I am. ¬†I wrestle with this image¬†of a¬†grown-up and I sometimes think that even having these thoughts is an indication that I am not one even though my age says otherwise.

I don’t know if you can relate to this, but often I feel like I’m playing at being grown-up; like a little kid dressing up in work clothes, gym clothes, dating clothes, oh-crap-the-washing-machine-is-leaking clothes, etc., etc. What fun it is to grow up and settle down into a fun-filled life of demands and responsibilities!! ¬†Why did we want to play dress-up so badly, again??

It’s¬†D√©j√† vu All Over Again

It is darn tough to start over and I’m doing it for a second time around, now in my late 30s.

A major life event like a divorce brings everything you thought you knew into question. ¬†Where once you were so intertwined and perhaps even defined in part by your spouse, you suddenly feel like you’re on a raft in the middle of an ocean without an oar. ¬†Here you are floating aimlessly, scared sh**-less and realizing you’ve got to take some kind of action pretty quickly to survive. ¬†And your brain just wants to go over the why’s and how’s of it all. ¬†There’s not a part of you that doesn’t undergo an overhaul.

You’re never the same again, but WHO are you now? ¬†What do you want? ¬†What’s important to you? ¬†What’s not that big of a deal anymore? ¬†You finally settle things enough to have some order and BAM!! Old dreams come rushing back, new hopes, crazy amounts of fear coupled with an earth-shattering loss of confidence in yourself and major trust issues with others.

So, is it so crazy after all to want to scrap it all and take off?

As I’ve said in other posts, traveling alone teaches you to trust yourself. It is moment to moment. You decide what to do next. ¬†How to react. ¬†It’s the best kind of therapy I’ve ever known.

You could spend years in a therapist’s office working through trust issues or take an overnight bus through Colombia*, like I did, and get stopped by a road block littered with guys carrying guns and wonder whether they’re army or guerrillas asking you to get out. Trust me. ¬†You’ll know how to feel really fast in that moment. ¬†And you will trust your instincts.

I’m still working on what to do and what risks I’m comfortable with. ¬†How about you? ¬†What did you do after going through a major life event? ¬†What kind of risks were you willing to take? ¬†How did it turn out? Share, share, share ūüôā

______________________________________________________________________________________________________
*(As an aside, please understand this is not intended to be a summary of the beautiful country of Colombia. ¬†Definitely visit if you have the chance. ¬†It has so many wonderful people, tons of¬†beauty, deep-rooted culture and tantalizing cuisine to offer. Just maybe pay attention to warnings about taking overnight buses and other security measures as you would in any country you’re living in or visiting because there are real risks.)