Two of my single, male friends spoke to me recently about their concern that I have “nothing” to my name. They are both 4 and 5 years older than I am. One has never been married nor had children, has a $800,000 house fully paid and operates his own business. I am guessing he has some pension money from his previous employment as well as retirement savings. The other has lost a lot financially through the divorce process, has 2 children, no consistent employment, and has medical issues that interfere with his earning potential. He relies on his father’s generosity and his financial plan is an inheritance. They both have entirely different financial situations and yet they both feel secure in their financial future and they both consider themselves better off than me.
Financial security was one of my biggest losses as a result of divorce and this loss terrified me the most. When you have an ex who has already “moved on” before you are aware that divorce is even a possibility let alone a reality there is no time to weigh out and consider options. You are behind the eight ball and all you can do is act to make the right decisions to protect you and your children.
Ellen DeGeneres said in a recent interview about the cost of publicly declaring she was gay on her sitcom: “It was hard but it was great because I lost my career for 3 years, I lost my money, I lost everything and I got to be stripped down of everything and start all over again. It was a wonderful gift to be able to start all over again and to realize I was strong enough and talented enough to come back…To lose it all and start over again, that was a good thing. I’m just saying it is all right now. It wasn’t at the time. It was horrible at the time.”
I feel as though I have gained in other respects. I have no mortgage and I have no debt. I don’t have a home that I have to maintain with things that require repair or replacement. I don’t have property taxes. I have eliminated some of the bills that I had to worry about before like hydro, gas, water/sewage and garbage pick up as those utilities are included in my rent. My insurance costs have dropped. I no longer have as many time consuming chores. I don’t have grass to water and cut, weeds to pull, bushes to trim, outside windows to clean, or as much space to clean inside.
At this point. I do have children and pets to consider, but if I chose, I am able to go where ever I want to go and do whatever I want to do. If I want to move, I can, very easily with little expense. Possessions to me now are only anchors. It is my goal to rid myself of anything that doesn’t hold significant meaning or bring me great joy. Minimalism, lightness, and space is my new goal.
Financial security can be a trap. It, like my marriage, can be an illusion of something that only exists in your mind or on paper. Any security I felt in my marriage and with my financial stability was false. One decision out of your control or even a poor decision within your control, a disaster, or country and world problems can leave you with nothing. The more you think you have, the more you feel the loss and the harder it is to recover.
The two friends who spoke to me are stuck staying in jobs they don’t love. One laments of the win fall financial position he would be in if he were still married yet he was miserable and unloved. Both my friends are tied to the cities they currently reside likely until they die. I have an opportunity now to really determine what I want, where I want to be, and what will bring me joy. I moved here for my husband. I have zero regrets but now I get to live for me.
I believe that everything I have is a gift from God. If he wants me to have less, I will have less. If he wants me to have more, I will have more. I am grateful for all he has given me and all that I do have right now. I am excited, though, to see what God has in store for me. There has been great change in my life and I believe there is a reason behind it. I am preparing for wherever he wants to take me next. I plan to be ready.
I have an abundance of what really matters to me in life. My children are healthy and doing well. I am healthy and doing well. I have a body that is nourished, strong, pain free and mobile. I feel safe. I have a well of friends and family who I can draw from on a daily basis. I am able to give to the food bank, to charities, and donate items and my time and resources to help others. I feel joyful and happy despite my circumstances. I laugh all the time. I have hope. I have options.
There are great lessons to be learned from my experience. Ellen Degeneres, in the same interview as above also said, ” Unfortunately, the bad things are the greatest teachers and you have to be grateful for them.” I am more mindful and live in the moment. What my future looked like in my mind before is completely different. I can’t even picture my future anymore and that is maybe one lesson. What I saw before never existed. Maybe even limiting. My future is a blank space. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have a future. I can still hope and dream. It only means that all that matters and is real is right now.