Sunday, April 22, 2012

What About Me? My Epiphany and the Five Year Plan...

     Wow!  Has It Been A Year Already?   Time seems to go by so quickly now a days.  I can't believe I started this blog a little over a year ago.  I feel like it just started.  Obviously I'm not the most punctual blogger but I do try.  Sometimes, well, all the times life just seems to get in the way.   So today I decided I'm not going to talk about teeth.  Today I'm gonna talk about me.

     I've spent my whole life taking care of everyone else.  It's just the way I am.  My family means everything to me.  It's the way I was raised. 

     I'm a lot like my father, Paul.  He's an amazing man with a heart of gold.  I don't think there's a person alive who doesn't like him.  I think I spent most of my life trying to make him proud of me not realizing that he was. 

     All my life my father struggled to make ends meet.  While at the same time he would give the shirt off of his back to help his family.  Shortly after I turned 18 he separated from my mom and moved out of our rundown rented house.  I was devastated.  It took a while to forgive him for leaving us.  (By then it was just my mom and I.  My sisters were both married and living on their own.) 
It took a lot longer for me to realize that my father was finally living for himself. 

     My father made a very hard choice.  A choice to search for his own happiness instead of trying to make everyone else happy.  Today my father is married and looking forward to retirement in the near future.  I love my dad.  I love my mom.  I love my step-mother for making my dad happy.

     I struggle to search for my own happiness.  I'm trying to figure out what to do with my life. I've been having so many thoughts going through my head about what I want my life to be.  The hard part is getting there.

     My divorce seemed to really mess with my head.  I met my husband in 1992.  We married in 1998 and divorced in 2006.  It really did a number on me. I was embarrassed after my husband left me. I felt like a failure.

     One of my husbands main complaints... I worried too much about my family (mom, sister and nephews) and not enough about him.  He told me I was a bad wife.  If only I'd been "more like his mom".  WTF  For some reason I never forgot that.  I always thought I was a good wife.  Maybe he was just a bad husband? 

     I think I was at my lowest point in my life in 2009.   My hours at work had been cut down drastically at both of my jobs.   I wasn't making enough money to cover my bills and mortgage.  Some weeks I had barely enough money to feed my kids. For many months I went to the food banks around my county to help me feed my children.  My house was in pre-foreclosure.  I was depressed almost all of the time. I had insomnia so bad that I was only sleeping about 2-5 hours per night. 

     I had no idea what I was going to do.  I was sure that I was going to lose my house.   I was waiting for the sheriff to come with the papers that said I had to leave.  It's so stupid but I actually started cleaning out the house.  Throwing away any junk or things my daughters and I didn't need to get by just so I wouldn't have to ask for help when I was forced to move out.  It's amazing how the mind copes with life's problems.

     I didn't know what else to do.  I put my house up for sale hoping for a save but there were no takers.  The realtor wanted me to lower it down so much that I wouldn't actually make any profit.  I felt I would be giving it away if I agreed. I didn't lower the price.  Instead I refused to give up the fight.  I worked as much as I could.  I sold and traded on eBay for spare cash.  I prayed.  

     One night after my ex-husband picked up our girls for the weekend I was depressed as usual.  While I sat on the couch talking with God I had a epiphany.  I know it sounds nuts but it was as if all of the pieces of the puzzle were shown to me while I prayed and I now feel like I know how they are supposed to fit. 

     First and foremost, after eight years at my job, I began my search for a new one.  After many sit-down interviews and working interviews, it took five months to find a full time job.  It took me a week to accept the job (I wanted to make sure I'd get insurance and the right pay amount).  I gave my two weeks notice and began my new life journey in May 2010.  The job is so much more than I thought it would be plus it pays my bills. Not to mention, I love my patients. Well, I love my patients 9 times out of 10.  Most of the patients that I see are children and adolescents but I also see adults and the elderly.  The kids will always be my favorite.

     I still have a lot to figure out about my life but I feel like I'm closer to my goals than ever before.   I know where the pieces of the puzzle fit.  It just takes some time to get them there.  I have goals and I will reach them.

My Epiphany and the Five Year Plan...

I will pay down my debt.
      Unfortunately I ran up credit card debt when I didn't have enough money to by things that my family needed. I didn't normally use credit cards but at the time I had to.   I bought my food, paid my car insurance and paid bills with credit cards.  I went from a perfect credit score to a terrible one.  
     Today my credit score is much better. I'm able to pay my bills each month.  I am even putting 10% of my checks into a 401k. I still have the credit cards, just in case, but I never use them.
     I have four months left to pay off my car  and I pay my mortgage on time each month.  Yay!

I will exercise and lose weight
      I was a size 9 when I divorced I ballooned up to a size 20 and now I'm a size 16.  I'm watching what I eat and trying to get into a regular exercise routine.  I will teach my daughters that exercise and healthy eating is the way to live

I will renovate my home.
     I will renovate my home and maybe, just maybe, put it back up for sale.  The first floor is finished.  I am currently working on the second floor.  New drywall will be hung in the upstairs bedrooms soon.

I will start my own business and be my own boss. 
     There is no doubt about it, I am a very hard worker.   I want to put all of that hard work towards my own business.   I want to stop making other people rich and make myself rich instead.  Once my debt is paid off I will begin saving for my new business.  From the ground up or a franchise?  I haven't decided yet but I know one day I will be my own boss and I will be successful.

What I've learned and how I'll live my life at work and home...

My daughters and I come first.  Work is Work.
     As the dental field slowed down hours, days and jobs were cut.  During the hard times of my life while I struggled to make ends meet. I realized work is work. None of the people at work count as much as my family and true friends. 
     It took me a minute to realize that I was the only one at work who had my back. Unfortunately I didn't always watch it very well.  People walked all over me while trying to take care of their own personal and financial well being, bosses and coworkers alike. I almost lost everything.  I'll admit I was na├»ve in the past.  People took advantage of my kindness.  It won't happen again.

       Work is work, not my life.  My life is my Family.  My family is always first.

I will live my life for my daughters and myself and I won't give a damn what other people think.

      Right around the time I had my epiphany my daughters friend lost her father suddenly to an aneurysm. He was younger than me, 32 I think, and he was dead.
      His death made me realize just how short life is. I knew then that I want to live life to its fullest and not worry about what other people think, which is something I've always done. His death changed me.
      Suddenly I realized that he will never again see his daughter smile or laugh. He will never have another day or minute or hug or kiss from his daughter. He will never watch her become a women, a mother or a wife.
      He is Dead.
      When he died I wasn't living my life. I was depressed and embarrassed about my divorce, the weight I gained and my financial failures. I was just going through life, day by day, trying to make it by. Now I enjoy every minute that I can with my daughters and family.
      I only spoke with him briefly at cheerleading practice and pee-wee football games or when he cut my grass for the lawn care company that he worked for. I didn't know him. Hell, I don't ever remember his name but what an affect his death had on my life.  I will never forget him or the life changing lesson his death taught me.

(Read This Book-- The Five People You Meet in Heaven a novel by Mitch Albom.)

Thanks for listening to my story and my five year plan.