The most popular posts on my blog have always been those that discuss my life change of quitting my job, moving across the country and switching careers…all in a crappy economy.
I enjoy writing those posts, but I always fear that I may come off as another wannabe life coach. I mean, what makes a 28-year-old an expert in career transitions? After thinking about it long and hard, I’ve realized that doing all of the above successfully, makes me somewhat knowledgeable, and I’m going to own it.
Why? Because our success wasn’t accidental, it was a combination of sacrifice, luck, and hard work. And the sacrifices were probably the hardest change at first.
All that fancy furniture? Gone
When we decided to move, we realized two things: we needed a lot of money and we couldn’t afford to move our furniture (and it was doubtful that our new Californian apartment would fit our California King bed….go figure).
So, to help fund our move, we sold everything we owned. Our one-year-old $2,000 bedroom set…gone. Living room set….gone. Anything that we couldn’t fit in our two cars was gone, gone, and gone.
I moved out to California first, while my husband finished up business in Ohio. But it was such a humbling experience to know that all of our things, my life, was in the car I was driving. I lived in hotels for three weeks until I finally found a place to live: a 700 sq. ft., nearly half of the size of our Ohio apartment.
No air conditioning, no dishwasher, no microwave. It’s fitting that the apartment was near a college campus — I felt like a college kid all over again. Actually, I think my college dorm was probably better than this apartment.
We went to a thrift store and bought a used sofa, table and chair, all for under $100. Trust me when I say, it was not a bargain; this stuff was crap.
When you’re starting over, you start to come to a lot of realizations:
- You can be surprisingly late on utility bills before the company threatens to turn them off
- Hand washing dishes sucks
- Cable really isn’t that great
- Sleeping on an air mattress for three months is pretty bad on your back
- Recycling is THE best way to earn money and save money by not burning through as many trash bags
- Money is really easy to burn through
- It’s easier to appreciate the little things in life when you’re not surrounded by excess…
Coming out of the cable-less, microwave-less, air mattress filled, dark
As Derek and I started to get our feet back on the ground, our first luxury purchase was a bed — not a fancy set, just a mattress and a box spring. I remember the day it was delivered — Derek actually texted me a picture of it while I was at work. I’d never been so happy to see a real bed in my life.
Then we started to “splurge” on other things…we got cable, so I could finally watch The Real Housewives episodes when they premiered. We got a microwave, albeit a donated microwave, so our dinners were no longer screwed because we forgot to defrost something the night before.
Months went by, and finally, I could afford to get my hair and nails done on a regular basis. Even a few massages and spa facials when I was lucky.
And then, last week…we hit the jackpot. A three piece living room set! The couch and love seat actually have cushions. As soon as it was delivered I posted on Facebook, “We finally have grown-up furniture again!” with a photo. Not a big deal for most, but a huge success for us.
We still live in our little apartment, it’s cheap, safe, and it’s a great way to save money and pay off some of the bill we accumulated during the move. But now we do it because we can, not because we have to.
The fact that I can say that my husband and I have done this makes me extremely proud; I feel like we’ve done something that most people are terrified to do. Starting over has made me a slightly more humble and much more enlightened person.
Yes…I may splurge on facials, massages, manicures and hair extensions…but damn it, now I’ve finally earned it.