2008 was a very good year

It’s very strange sometimes. I start thinking about my life and feel a little like I have wandered into some type of fairy-tale existence. I wonder when I might wake up and get back to reality. You see, every year since I have come to Texas (I arrived in April 2004) has gotten better and better. Things, which were going so very very wrong before I moved, have just kept getting better and better.

When I first moved, it was pretty rough. I didn’t know if I was staying, or going “home” eventually or what. I didn’t know if I had officially broken up with the guy I left behind or if we still had something going on or what. As soon as I figured out i was single I was out there dating again, meeting more and more losers and wondering what on Earh I was doing wrong and how I would ever find someone who actually loved me. After dating yet another loser for about 6 months, I decided i had had enough and no one would ever like me for who I was, because I had completely lost track of that girl. What kind of music did I like? My iPod was loaded with the types of music my last two boyfriends had enjoyed. What did I do for fun? I went to visit my boyfriend. What did I like to read? Books I had borrowed from my boyfriend. Even as an adult woman, I was losing myself in an effort to be the person the guy wanted to date. I knew it had to stop and I had to find myself again and I had to hang on tight to her, even when I did begin dating again.

In the time I took away from dating, I started teaching. I taught 11th and 12th grade English to kids in the ghetto who hated books and didn’t care much what yet another white person had to say to them. I’d like to tell you it was like the Freedom Writer’s movie. But it wasn’t. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. To wake up every morning at 5am (I am so NOT a morning person) and go to a job where the only feedback I got was negative, the support for me as a teacher was nonexistent, my control over my students was minimal on a good day and I contantly worried if I would get assaulted for a second time (the first time was in November). I took sanctuary on the weekends in my friends at church, reading my Bible, being with my family and just not thinking about it. I cried almost every Sunday night and at the end of every school vacation because I did not want to go back. But I was afraid to fail. Again. To prove that I was still the screw-up my family back in Indiana had come to expect.

Near the end of that school year I put a few tentative forays out there into dating land. I found one person that I enjoyed hanging out with but it quickly appeared that though he was sweet and caring and Christian, he was not even close to ready to think about something like being married as he had not had many (if any) serious relationships before.

The very day that I finished up with my first school year as a teacher, I got an email from some guy who sounded pretty interesting. I read his online profile and thought we had an awful lot in common. He was on a business trip so I had a few weeks to hang out by the pool with my friends, get a pedicure, read some trashy novels and just enjoy the freedom of summer vacation before we met. Oh, and I was looking for a new job for the next school year.

We met, and well, the rest is history as we’re married now! We got married four days after the 1 year anniversary of when we met.

So, that was a long intro to why 2008 was such a great year…

  • On June 14, 2008 I got married. To man who, while he might not be perfect, surely is perfect for me.
  • In 2008 I worked at my second teaching job. It was again difficult as I tried coaching which didn’t go so well. But yet again, I stuck it out and made it through. I didn’t quit or give up.
  • In 2008 I landed my first paid blogging gig with Download Squad. Little did I know it was like, a big deal with something like 100,000 readers per day.
  • I landed my second, third and fourth paid blogging gigs and also wrote an essay for a book.
  • Robert and I decided that yes, this freelance thing might actually work and I could stay home this year and work for myself, doing what I love. It’s a dream I’ve had for a long time.
  • We got a dog. I’ve wanted a dog for as long as I can remember and this is the first time it was a possibility.
  • My Dad started talking to me again.
  • I had ankle surgery and for the first time since I was 12, I can walk a lot, and even jog, without pain.
  • I have been able to make a home for my husband and I.
  • We paid off Robert’s truck, and my car in 2008.
  • We got a camper! Woo!
  • I paid off several debts that I have had for a long time, leaving me with only one student loan left in my personal debt pile (and it is down to about $1,000).
  • We have made major strides in our home economies and managed to reduce our electric bill considerably by doing things that I find enjoyable like hanging clothes on the clothesline and heating with a wood stove.
  • I am content with myself and my life. Sure, i want to clean up some clutter in our house and I want to lose weight and gain more writing clients and get pregnant and any other number of things. But, what I have, right now, makes me truly, truly happy.

This whole financial crisis of 2008 hasn’t really interferred in my life. Because we choose to consistently live below our means,  we haven’t had many issues. Sure, when gas was getting more and more expensive and grocery costs were rising we had a few months where we felt the need to reduce our spending. But, we did it because we wanted to keep things below a certain level and keep adding to savings and 401ks and such. We enjoy keeping track of how much we pay for things so we know when a sale is truly a good sale and we need to stock up. We challenge ourselves to see how little electricity we can use sometimes or how long we can keep the heat or the air conditioning off. We rejoice on road trips when we pack a lunch and avoid paying a premium for junk food in a gas station. Things many people find to be a drag, we enjoy because we are together and we can see the benefits of saving money on all those little things. The average wedding costs something like $28,000. Our wedding, my engagement ring, both of our wedding rings, reception, my dress AND one week honeymoon in Costa Rica cost less than half of that average cost. And I can honestly look back and say I loved every minute of it and I thought it was beautiful and tasteful and fun and relaxed and very reflective of Robert and I as a couple. We got so many comments on how much fun our wedding was. And it was paid off about three months later since we had only had to put a small portion of the honeymoon on a credit card. Everything else had been paid for with cash.

I am doing things i have always wanted to do… canning and freezing produce, growing my own garden, using my clothesline, walking my dog, cooking dinner for my husband. It may be very June Cleaver of me but I truly enjoy my job as a wife and I feel very very blessed that I can work from home, doing something that I love and still have time for those wifey things. And frequently, when I am up to my eyeballsi n ideas to write about, my wonderful husband will load the dishwasher, do laundry, cook dinner or any other number of things. Yes ladies, he’s for real. And he’s all MINE. 🙂

I am looking forward to what 2009 will bring.

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