Nearly one year ago, shortly before my birthday, I spent a week at my Grandmother's old apartment in Jersey City, helping my parents box up her belongings. This was a very emotional time for me, and led to some revelations concerning my own life, what I wanted out of it, and changes which I needed to make. My Grandpa's piano was the catalyst for this - an item worth very little monetarily, but priceless to me, on several levels.
Reading back on the long, emotional essay I blogged at that time, this passage leapt off the screen:
At some point I wiped my eyes, which surprisingly weren’t red or puffy, and went into the living room where Mom and Dad were fussing with moving boxes. I picked up a large amethyst crystal with two small tubes sticking out the side, some knick-knack from God knows where. “Isn’t this a lamp?” I asked Mom. “No, it’s a geode,” she said. I persisted. “But look - there are holes in the side. I think those are connectors for a lamp apparatus.” “I don’t know,” she sighed, “maybe it is. Put it somewhere.” “I’ll keep it,” I said.
I looked at the piano. The piano did not look back at me. It sat there, shiny, old, damaged. My parents ignored me. I fingered the amethyst crystal, knowing there was a light bulb somewhere inside it.
And then, a few paragraphs down:
...a charge has been laid.
No more surviving. It's time to live. With or without New York, which has been a playground, boot camp, and the biggest educational institution anywhere. If I can't afford to live here, I'll move. If I can, I'll stay. But wherever I live next... I'm staying for awhile.
I have reached a turning point in my life. I believe that from now on I will live my life very differently. I will not prostitute myself again. I can't afford to.
That amethyst crystal has never left my immediate living quarters since I brought it home that weekend. It sits in a place of honor on the altar to the Goddess which I maintain in my living room. It sits in the North, the direction of Earth, representing groundedness, the comfort of the Mother (pun definitely intended), solidity, and, being an Amethyst, spiritual awareness, clarity, and intuition. At some point this past winter I placed a golden Sacajawea dollar on top of it as a symbol of abundance, hopefully encouraging even more of those vibrations and qualities to flow through me.
Well, let's see how different things are for me, almost a year after I made those revelations:
I am legally separated from my husband. Last April, when Grandma died, I was working at job I hated. Recently my position was eliminated, which is a relief to me, but let’s face it: I’m unemployed, and living on severance, which is going to run out in four months. I have no job prospects as yet. I will be filing for divorce in November. I may have to move in February. I do not know what I want to be when I grow up. I do not know where I will be living six months from now. I do not know if I will even still be in New York. I have no savings, and plenty of debt. I have no car. If I have to leave this apartment I will likely have to sell or donate all my furniture.
1) I am merely days away from being legally, finally divorced.
2) I am temping for a decent salary
3) I just mailed off my application to Massage Therapy School, and have begun the process of applying for a student loan as well.
4) I am living with G, who has lifted the burden of basic living expenses.
5) I have significantly reduced my debt.
6) My furniture and other precious belongings are safely stowed in a climate-controlled storage space.
7) I have accumulated savings
And the best part of all - the part I haven't told anyone yet:
8) My parents just bought a new car, and are giving me the old one!
This happened rather quickly and spastically - I found out over the weekend that they had traded in Mom's old Buick LeSabre for a newer model. I kicked and screamed when I found out they hadn't even thought of whether or not I could use it, and Daddy dearest went straight back to the used car dealership. This dealership, after 30 years of knowing my dad, has agreed to sell him back the car for the trade-in amount, which is less than two grand. Granted, that red sedan is eleven years old and has over 100,000 miles on it, but Dad kept it in tip-top condition. The only thing broken on it is the cupholders.
I'm going to fly out the week of July 12th and drive it back.
My ability to do this is evidence of the financial overhaul I have done, thanks to G. If he hadn't taken me in, I wouldn't be in New York, and I wouldn't be half as far along in my financial rehabilitation as I am. Oh, I'm not secure yet - still in debt, still not really gainfully employed, and utterly without health insurance, but I'm close. Oh, man, I am this close. I can smell the independence. I can taste the freedom. I can almost see the future.
New Year's Resolutions, 2005
1) Pay off my first student loan in full (current ETA: October 11th)
2) Resume my Maiden Name (Current ETA: July 1st)
3) Become a licensed Massage Therapist. (Holy Crap. I said it.)
4) Build up my savings
5) Increase my debt payments
6) Submit articles to at least four magazines by year end
7) The minute I have health insurance, get to the dentist. (I should blog about that. It might push me harder.)
8) By the end of the year, two things:
a. Strategize how to eliminate the last of my loan debt
b. Begin preparing to buy a place of my own.
Actually this sounds more like a Mondo Beyondo list, but I'm determined. Unless something serious happens to derail me - and if it does, I'll deal with it as best I can - I see no reason why I can't accomplish this. I am determined to never, ever allow my life to be dictated by my fear. Not anymore. Never again.
So my motto for 2005 is:
Hope, not Fear
This is not the first time I have typed those words. Live from hope, not fear. Work from hope, not fear. Maybe, just maybe, from hope springs belief? And from belief...? Well, some would say that anything is possible if you believe.
Happy New Year, everyone.