So, due to the high cost of living and job insecurity in the Chicago area, we found a more financially sound place to live in Florida.
This meant, I needed to say goodbye to all of my family and friends, which was not an easy task.
At the time, I still had three living grandparents, my parents … who were then going through an emotional divorce, one sibling, lots of cousins and a group of very close friends. I lived in one house until I married, and all of us were within a few miles of each other.
Keep in mind, when we first moved, there were no cell phones, internet or Skype. Calling long distance for twenty minutes could cost as much as one month’s phone bill today. And – gasp – we had to use the post office to send letters.
I’ve already written about much of our lives there, so I won’t write it again. The point is, we did the right thing in moving. It helped us to grow up in more ways than one.
Because of the move, we cleared all debt, had no car payments and financed a home within our means. When the housing bubble broke, we were safe.
That’s when it happened. I got into a feud with a friend of mine who lived in another state (not Illinois). She was complaining about how it was the big banks fault that she could lose her home and everything else she had accumulated over the years. She and her husband had no children, and he had a good job, so I didn’t understand.
I asked her how she landed in so much debt.
That was when she let me have it. I was part of the problem, because I didn’t see how it was all the big corporations and banks fault that so many people were losing their homes. She told me I had no idea what it was like living in fear that any moment I could be homeless.
Well, it didn’t go well from there, because I hadn’t yet learned to pick my battles, and I should’ve been more sensitive, but I fought back.
In my defense, I was probably hurt, too. I never lived in luxury like my angry friend. She had a 3,000 square-foot, three-story house planted on an acre of land with a lake, a dock and a boat. She and her husband also owned expensive new cars.
We drove used vehicles that had been previously wrecked, because in my husband’s business, he could buy cars and fix them for us to drive. This way, we didn’t have car payments.
We made the gut wrenching decision to move far away from loved ones in order to live within our means. It wasn’t easy, but we did the responsible thing.
Grant it, some things that happen are out of our control, like getting an illness, struggling with infertility, or my husband’s accident in 2014. Although, had he not taken that job when offered another, the accident might not have happened. We will never know.
So you see, it’s been my experience that our choices bring us to our present situations. Even though my husband is no longer blue collar (but still in the same business), moving back to Chicago is much less comfortable financially. We chose this, because my husband’s new job here is best for the lingering issues from his injury, and it brought us nearer to our loved ones again. I own my choices, and I’m not sorry for them. They haven’t landed me in the lap of luxury, but they’ve gotten me through a life that’s fitting for me. In other words, my choices have always given me what I needed.
Even so, I’ve made some bad choices that I still own, like the choice that lost me that friend. All I can do is learn from a bad choice and move on. The good news is, she didn’t lose her home.
How do you feel about your choices? Would you do anything differently?