2013 has gotten off to a strange start for me, blogging wise. I am trying to figure out where my emphasis should be this year with regards to fiscal and physical health.
I started blogging about my financial and emotional woes in January 2008. That was after spending about 8 months in 2007 absorbing the emotional after effects of a parental visit and the disaster that their visit became. 2007 was the year in which everything came crashing down. I could no longer keep the balls in the air, I could no longer keep on pretending that everything was fine because that pretense was as far from the truth as it could be. My hoarding, my mental instability, our precarious financial situation .... all of it reached a climax.
Almost 6 years later, I am in a much better place both fiscally, physically and emotionally but there is still work to do.
Fiscally, we have zero debt aside from our manageable mortgage. We have no car loans, no installment debt, no medical bills. What we do have, of course, are the omnipresent college expenses. My main financial goal for 2013 has to be a mortgage refinance. We have a horrible loan right now .... interest only at the extortionate rate of almost 13%. We've been working on improving our credit score in order to overcome the foreclosures and the bankruptcy record but it has not been easy. Basically, this sort of debt will only be erased with time. There is no negotiation. There is no getting rid of foreclosure bad debt or bankruptcy filings until the obligatory 7 and 10 year time periods have elapsed.
Savings wise, we have done very well considering how much money flows out of our bank accounts each month in keeping a bunch of kids in college, food costs, utilities, mortgage payment and other expenses that need to be met. We have amassed over $200k in assets. That's a marked difference from 2007 when we were as broke as a joke, thanks to my hoarding and spending. Now, don't misunderstand me. Half of our assets are tied up in our house and the other half are tied up in retirement accounts. We do not have this money lying around. We would need to liquidate everything and pay the taxes and penalties too in order to actually see this money in our checking account. To make our savings goals happen, we stay at home 90% of the time to avoid spending money. Accumulating this $200k has meant sacrifices of all kinds. We miss going out. We miss having fun. But .... the piper must be paid and we cannot enter retirement on a wing and a prayer. Emotionally, I am finally beginning to make inroads into my cast iron psyche. I no longer give in to the inner voice that tells me that I am weak and stupid, that I am pathetic. "I love myself unconditionally right now!" This is the phrase that I say to myself whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed by negativity, whenever the old deep seated habit I have of loathing myself begins to surface. I always know when it's happening and I stop it dead in its tracks with that phrase. Where did I discover that simple method for preventing backslide? From a documentary that I watched last week called 'Hungry for Change'. It's streaming on Netflix and I highly recommend it for anyone searching for inner change.
Another emotional change that I have noticed is that I no longer allow people to treat me like their doormat. I didn't realize it but, over time, I have gradually become far more unyielding when it comes to protecting my emotional health and well being. Try this on for size: If you want to steal from me, don't be surprised when I cast you out. If you want to try putting me on a guilt trip, good luck. If you want to try to manipulate me, don't be surprised if I sit your butt down and give you a good talking to. And don't be surprised when you discover that the manipulative tactics that you once used on me to get what you want DON'T WORK ANYMORE!! LOL I have a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks .... I know what it is to be emotionally and physically abused to the point of just wanting to die and, honey, that just ain't gonna happen no more. I don't care who you are. Physically, I am healthier than I have been in a very long time. I no longer allow my inner voice to cause me to shirk my exercise. I must exercise. I must do the work. I call it "taking my medicine". I make a point of doing an hour long, high intensity cardio workout 6 days a week. I also lift weights. I am still way overweight .... 70 pounds in fact ... but isn't that much better than the 105 pounds overweight that I was in 2007? I seem to be winning the battle over emotional overeating. I have begun juicing again and making absolutely the best smoothies I've ever tasted :) And I am dragging the spouse along too. He spends time on the treadmill after work and walks the desert trails with me on the weekends. He knows that he has to.
It has taken me almost 6 years to get to this point. It has been a long time coming, a long time to come to terms with the lasting effects of my childhood. Today, for the first time, I accepted that I must stop blaming my father for my behavior but don't get me wrong. I needed to blame my father. In order to come out the other side of this whole sorry situation, I needed to blame my father for the deep, everlasting damage that he has done not only to me but to my mother and my sibling. We are all in this together. I needed to blame and I needed to analyze, to understand the reasons behind why I did what I did and why I still continue to do some things that I shouldn't. As a result, after these almost 6 years of introspection, anger, regret, grief and finally acceptance, I have forgiven him. I forgive you, Dad. I know that you were just a kid yourself when I came along. I know that you were mired in poverty and that my birth kept you there for years. I understand your anger even though I don't condone it. I wish you could've handled yourself better and I know that you're sorry now. So, there is no more blame from me to you. I have uncovered, discovered, discarded.
So there. I guess I just answered my own question. I know exactly what I need to do. I need to keep going. Big emphasis on health this year. I would like to see my weight decrease by at least 25 pounds. I would like to see our personal finances improve even more. I would like to see a credit score in the 700s for the first time ever. I would like to see our savings increase, however incrementally, as we continue to pay for college for 2.5 more years. I need to justify all spending and stay out of restaurants. Continue to cook at home, get rid of junk, downsize.
On a quest to bounce back from job and financial loss. One of my biggest dreams in life is to own my home free and clear of any and all bank loans. To no longer be a slave to the lender would be GREAT!