As most people know, we bought a new house and moved out into the boonies or BFE, whichever you prefer to refer to it (hey that rhymes a bit!). And that I wish I had moved out of the city limits years ago but was trying to be frugal and financially responsible so I didn’t dare think outside the lines. Financially of course, it made sense to stay in our old house, after all the mortgage, with escrow, was less than most people’s apartment rent. Plus we had done a ton of work to the place. But none of us was really happy there anymore. Once we fixed what we thought was wrong with the place, well things were just still ‘wrong’.
My husband drug me out looking at homes, kicking and screaming because I wanted to say financially ‘safe’ and well, I had been entrenched in that house for 15 years. He was right and I was wrong and hell I even admitted to him. He may have written it down in his calendar as a major life event. “Laura admitted I was right.” Kidding… Sorta…
So I was sitting down with a card I bought my husband for Sweetest Day trying to think of what I wanted to write inside. I always try to write something heartfelt and poignant for that moment in our lives so he knows I didn’t just grab random card from the shelf and throw it in the grocery cart. I actually put love and thought into the whole action. And I want him to know how very much I appreciate him and how truly lucky I honestly am to have him in my life. Okay, now this is starting to sound like a greeting card.
When I thought about our move, I thought about how I had given up on my dreams that I had when I was 18/19. When I moved to the big city of Dayton, with plans to work part time for a doctor after completing college for Medical Assisting and going back to college to obtain at least a Bachelor’s degree, maybe even go for my Ph.D. My folly was moving with the man who would become my first husband and letting all his agendas derail my plans. In other words, I compromised so much in that relationship just to keep someone else happy (who then repeatedly cheated on and lied to me) that I lost my dreams.
Over the years, I struggled, one bad marriage and then finally another bad married until I turned 38 and said F! This is enough of this crap. And I changed my entire life. Except I didn’t realize that I was too afraid to reach for my dreams. I wanted to stay safe. Financially safe. Everyone experienced layoffs starting in 2009 and my current husband and I put in a plan to pay off all our debt except one vehicle payment and our mortgage. Eventually the vehicle payment will go as well when we hopefully can just start paying cash for vehicles but that’s down the road.
We reached our initial goal and had all this money left over. We thought whoo hoo, if something happens with one of our jobs or both of our jobs we can both work at McDonalds and pay the bills. There is something to be said for financial freedom such as that. It makes you feel way more secure and free. Which was part of the reason my husband had to fight me so hard to consider going into a lot more debt on a house. Finally we agreed that we would stay within a home price range that would allow us to meet our budget requirements on his salary. In other words, if we couldn’t pay the bills on his take home pay, the house was too much money.
Because we had paid off so much debt, we were able to allow ourselves a handsome sum for a home or so it felt to me. This seemed to be a reasonable compromise even though the credit union said we were approved for a mortgage double with what we ended up with. There weren’t even very many homes for sale in that upper crust price range anyway. Not that weren’t over 6000 sq ft and so elaborate that it made my head spin. I’m still a simple girl and a lot of homes in that price seemed to have a lot of “look at me” features more to keep up with the Khardashians than to make your life more simple or enjoyable. I don’t need a theatre room but I may consider the heated towel racks for my current house…
So when I was writing my message to my husband in my card, I told him thank you for making my dream come true because I was too afraid to do it. When I wrote those words, I surprised myself because I had not really considered the fact I had been afraid. Some of it was the financial jump but we can still pay the bills on his salary easy enough so it wasn’t really the money. I had to face the fact that I had long ago given up on my dream of a beautiful colonial home out in the country. I had convinced myself I no longer wanted the bigger house, telling myself it was frivolous and silly and not smart financially. I was being smart staying put in the smaller house in town with the little mortgage and neighbors looking in my windows (well not literally, it just felt closed in).
That morning I had learned a childhood friend is facing a serious and most likely terminal illness. We are the same age, graduated the same class. I sat with the pen still in my hand and thought about how we never know how long we really have. When you’re young, you think nothing can hurt you, or nothing bad can happen. Then you get mid-life and you’re losing people you love, watching people your age die. Death isn’t that myth anymore, it is the stark reality. You don’t know how long you have or the people you love have on this earth.
Cancer takes so many of us every day. It’s an epidemic, not to mention all the other tragic things that can happen. That fairy-tale bubble seems to burst for many of us when we hit a certain age. You wonder things like how did my grandparents handle all their friends and family dying? Do you finally just get used to it and accept it as a fact of life? Just embrace each day and be grateful for your blessings? I don’t know, my grandparents have been gone for years so I can’t ask them.
As I sit here on my bed, the sun has risen and I have watched the light move across the west wall of my bedroom. It is utterly quiet and peaceful at this moment. Just the sound of the dryer in the other room. I can see for miles from my second-story bedroom windows over rolling fields, woods and a quarry. My dream actually materialized better than I had first imagined all those years ago. The question that came to mind yesterday I wrote in the card was what other dreams have I completely repressed and pushed away? I’m going to search this out and see if there is something else I am missing in my life that I haven’t given myself permission to pursue.
Maybe the dreams of our youth don’t really die but just sit and wait until we remember we had them. After all, back then we were more likely to follow our hearts than make excuses why we can’t make them happen. We were allowed to dream back then. When you grow up, you’re expected to be responsible and make practical choices but not all dreams are “practical” or even seem “wise” or even “grow-up”. I intend to revisit my youthful dreams. Dig them back up and really examine them.
But this time I am going to listen to my heart rather than my head… Happy Dreaming!