March 31, 2008

“Cleaning Out My Closet” — Eminem – Part I

Posted in Backstory, Finances tagged at 12:15 am by otherdeb

Part I

I didn’t just wake up one day and decide my life needed changing. My life has been changing as far back as I can remember, although it seems to have picked up steam since 2002. Since then, I ended one relationship, began another, got downsized, found a new job, got engaged, lost my apartment, lost weight, gained weight, graduated college, and managed to clear up a significant portion of my financial problems.

While it is not my intention to turn this into a blog about my personal life, knowing a bit of what went into the current spate of reformation might be useful as a background, so here goes.

When my last relationship changed from a romantic relationship back to a friendship (and it has been a very successful friendship!), I decided that some changes were in order. I realized that, over the course of the previous fourteen years, I had tried to become what I was not in order to please someone not myself. Foolish? Perhaps so, but please remember that I was born in the early 1950s and raised to believe that pretty much everyone’s needs came before my own. Shortly after that, I met my fiancé, who was recovering from a bad relationship.

We were both making pretty good money at the time, so it was easy to ignore the deepening financial problems we both had, at least until he broke three ribs and couldn’t work for almost six months. Instead of reassessing our finances, I was determined to not let him worry about anything, and kept to myself some really bad decisions I made, which eventually contributed to my being downsized. It took me over a year to find a new job (at a much lower salary, sadly), but the unemployment insurance I did qualify for was enough to let us handle the day-to-day stuff which was, at that point, pretty much all that mattered to me.

However, when Dee proposed, I did some long, hard thinking. Here I was, in my early fifties, in debt up to my eyeballs (not counting the student loans!), and thinking about joining my life to someone else’s. We did a lot of talking about that. One thing I was adamant about was that I did not want to go into a marriage with both of us owing sufficient money that, if anything happened to one partner, the other could be financially crippled for decades. We finally agreed that, while we would get engaged, any further developments would have to wait until everything but my student loans was paid off. We had great intentions, not much of a plan, and an incredibly unrealistic goal for the time frame we had in mind. Still we managed to make a little headway – at least, we did until disaster struck, in the form of our landlord selling the building we lived in to a company that wanted to turn the apartments into offices.

See, while we were managing day to day, we had no emergency funds. On top of that, our credit reports were a mess. Further, somewhere in the four years since I had gotten the apartment, it had become industry standard for landlords to pull credit reports on prospective tenants (and at the prospective tenant’s expense, no less) before renting to them. To make a long story short, we were unable to get a new apartment. Dee moved back to Florida to live with his sister who offered to put him up rent-free. I moved in with a friend I had helped through various financial problems of her own.

And, as they say, thereby hangs a tale…

(To be continued)


1 Comment »

  1. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

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