deed in lieu

I could be a drug addict.

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Magically, some how I was able to paint, raise children, work, clean, list paintings to sell, walk the dogs and go shopping, carpool kids, plan vacations, watch sporting events, join friends for lectures, belong to book clubs and enjoy social events, all at  same time.  I was super woman.

What the h*ll happened to me?

Devastation and deep depression.  Only the devastation was far less to be worried about, now looking backwards.  The depression, which I definitely categorize as pure sadness was so real.  Our business was struggling, my Mother became ill, my children were all leaving the house for college at the same time, a lifetime friend betrayed me, my other good friend died, and we couldn’t sell our house which had become to expensive for us.  And don’t even get me started regarding the IRS.  Dealing with all these issues was difficult at best.

So this is what I did.  I started a blog just for me.  I called it my sad blog.  I wrote how I felt.  If nothing more it provided an outlet.  Every morning I would sit down get coffee and listen to two songs and I would write as they played. Sometimes I  replayed them over and over again.

I played this one first:  the house that built me

Then I would play this one: you haven’t seen the last of me.

These songs brought me comfort and put a voice and words to my feelings.  However they also made me cry.  You see I  could  barely speak during this time.  Most times I would try to talk, tears would start flowing, all on their own.  Sad slow tears would well-up and peacefully roll down my cheeks.  I was a mess.   I wore sunglasses to work,  closed my office door, fell behind on everything I needed to do.  I stared out the windows or at the screen. There was no relief.  None.

During this dark period there were moments when everything was going to be fixed.  Once we were close to working a deal with the bank, or the time we almost merged with a company in Connecticut.   We were in final stages in both instances.  Hopes were high, everything was making perfect sense, everything look good, then boom.  Neither deal closed.  Up and down, hope and disappointment. Repeatedly.

I was broken.

I continued to do what I could, which wasn’t much.  Here is one entry from my personal  blog:

Sad but True

The best part of my day is knowing it will end.

Right now I can say I am better.  Much better.  I have listed some of the things and people who helped me to  pull myself up and out of my sea of despair. (btw- I am allergic to all antidepressants, so they ended up not being an option)

1.)  I joined Cross-fit. (thanks Libby ) That helped me with my energy level, attitude and it boosted my self confidence. Plus I got stronger. Even though it was really expensive it was well worth the investment.

2.) I started to get rid of all the useless stuff in my life.  Thus the birth of the “Unpack the Rat.” I was doing the work anyway and I thought I may as well write about it, so I could recognize my wins and grow though the process.

3.) I started to embrace ideas which I always admired but I never truly believed they could ever fit into my life.  I made room for new ideas.  In other words, I believe in possibilities once again.

4.) I started reading these bloggers – Thanks James and Claudia. Highly recommended.

5.) I stopped trying to prove myself to anyone.  I am what I am, either like me or not.

6.) I let go of any shame.  The financial disaster didn’t just hit our business  it was global.  Our business was categorized as “small enough to fail.”  (my choice words for the “selected” bails-outs sound like this @#$% ^%$@#%)

7.) I stopped pretending everything was okay. Then I identified what I could change and what I couldn’t change.

8.) I learned who had my back.  It wasn’t my siblings or in-laws.  I acknowledge that those family members are never going to change.  I stopped wishing for, hoping for and expecting something that never did, and never will exist.

9.) I looked to my husband.  I realized without him I am nothing.  He is the love of my life.  And he is my rock.  He has my back – forever and always.

10.) My children are among my greatest loves.  They are my  are super heroes, helping, never complaining, and always offering up the bright side of life.  I can’t even list how many ways they have supported and inspired me during my life.  I am so very proud of each of them.

The list could go on and on, so many other people deserve my gratitude.  Some of these people I know well.  Others, I don’t even know their names.

Anyway, time eventually ran out and  I had to tell my kids we were losing their childhood home.  I felt we let them down. I was ashamed to tell them we sold our house to the bank.  (We were lucky to do that, we  avoided foreclosure.)

My one son said to me, ” It doesn’t matter Mom.  Home is where ever my family is.”  I was stunned by his comment.  I will never forget his kind and wise words.

Perspectives from those I love and those who love me helped pull me through.  I take it one step at a time, and I still have a long way to go.  But I have faith we will get there some day.  And that “there” will be a place that we all will call “home.”

(I would like to add, this took me well over a year.  Maybe as long as 18 months, and still to this day sadness creeps in.  At least now I know I can somehow, some way, make it not hurt as much.)

Tip: Know who is your real family, and always keep the door open for new members related or not.

Inspiration: One of my daughter’s message of encouragement.

I woke up to this message, my daughter had primed the entire kitchen during the night while I slept.

One-day one-thing: Getting back to de-cluttering:  Sort your cosmetics, first-aid inventory and general bathroom supplies. These items expire, forget how much you paid for them, they are useless clutter.

PostScript: Just moments after writing this I was slammed with yet one more enormous disappointment.   I know why people turn to drugs, prescriptions or not.  I know.  I am growing so very tired of the fight, but I can’t give up, I’ve work too hard to get here.  I’m grabbing a beer.  And maybe I’ll read my own posts, how to stay up, and faith in not knowing  and then again maybe I won’t.

Cheers with a smile. :)

I was a crystal ball

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During my years of irrational consumerism, I could see the future.  It’s true. I knew exactly what everyone needed before they even thought about what they needed.

Once, I bought an alarm clock guaranteed never to turn off, until a person caught it and turned it off.  It was self propelling, and if it wasn’t turned off by the sleeping human quickly,  it would jump to the floor and run away by rolling under the bed, or any other out of reach place while still sounding the alarm.

I bought this two years before my son went away to university. Every single day of his high school years, I had to wake him up over, and over, and over again.  In the future, I wouldn’t be there to wake him up.  I could see this clearly.  The clock still sold by MOMA today runs 48.00, I think I paid more.  That never opened brand new clock,  sits inside a blue plastic container that contains an assortment of new things, on the second shelf inside U-Store-It unit #227.

I know of another new thing that’s in there.  I bought it for myself.  It’s a bank that is a replication of a wooden water tank like the ones on top of  buildings in Manhattan .  I was “saving” this for when I had a “cool” office not a cluttered mess of an office.  I have an awesome office.  It’s not yet “good enough” so I am using old tea bottle for loose change.  As I am write those very words I see how pathetic this is.  ( I’ll fix the coin bank issue Monday)

Other  purchases are back-ups, duplicates.  I bought these because I already owned the item and I liked it.   Like a certain Ikea scrubber,  I could see in the future this scrubber would no longer be available.  I even taught my daughter if you like something – buy two of them….ugh!  Some of those thing I don’t even like anymore.  Other “new” items I bought for future gifts. I could see who needed the gift and what it was before I even met the person.  I was good.  Unfortunately when it came time to give these gifts away, either I couldn’t part with them, or they weren’t the right gift for the occasions.

When I shopped I shopped with conviction, no second guessing, everything had a purpose.  A purpose in the future that I could clearly see.   I was clairvoyant.  I could see the future as far out as I needed, to infinity.  That is, until I  could not.

What I could not see in the future was not being able to sell our house that was on the market for 14 months.  What I couldn’t see was all our equity was going to disappear.  What I couldn’t see in the future was losing our home of twelve years and having no place to live.  Once I lost my ability to see the future, I was sad for a long time.  I could not see anything and I certainly could not see joy or any shred of happiness in my crystal ball.

But that was then, this is now.  Nothing much has changed except me.  And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I have ever had a more defined idea of what’s important in life.  I have learn so much about how we spend our time, how we spend our money and how we interact with people.   My life has completely changed it’s trajectory and I like it.

The more stuff I shed the better I feel.  Simplifying is intoxicating and addictive.  Simplifying has helped me to focus and grow. I like it. I have a long long way to go, but so far it’s good.  I am examining my life on a different level, from a different place.  I am learning about myself and my family and what I am learning brings me great comfort. We are all in agreement that we are on the right track to “living better with less.”

UnPacktheRat is more then a blog to me, it’s my teacher, and for that I am grateful.

Cheer!

Insight:


One Day -One Thing: List at least one new (or not) item on eBay