My financial situation changed drastically after my divorce. I’ll tell you one thing – divorce is damn expensive.
Even though I made the right decision, there was a time shortly after that I questioned if I should have stayed unhappily married and financially secure. Instead I chose happily single and financially destroyed.
I’ve been very fortunate and seen success in my career over the years. I didn’t make the best financial decisions for a time in my life (which I talk about in my book Concrete Boots), and had I stayed in a double income family I would have turned it around.
But because I chose to leave I have struggled. I think the valuable lesson from God was something I really needed to learn – and is a saying I have on a wood sign hanging in my kitchen.
Side note: I had filed for divorce and knew I was soon going to be broke. Walking around Target or Hobby Lobby or somewhere drowning in my sorrows (poor me, I’m broke) I saw the wood sign saying: Live Simply ~ Remain Grateful.
I had not lived simply or grateful for many years! Omg, this sign was truly a message from God! It is still hanging in my kitchen and whenever I’ve felt sorry for myself (poor me, I live in an apartment) I look at this sign and thank God for making me a stronger, happier and more compassionate soul.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m still rebuilding from this financial difficulty. I am still living simply and (most of the time) grateful.
To finalize the divorce I had to trade in my beloved Audi A4 and purchase …. A Jetta (poor me, a Jetta). Oh was I bitter about that for a long time. Isn’t that sad? It’s a car. I was walking around the dealership crying. I shit you not. I was crying and telling my (soon to be) ex that I hated him.
I pointed to the Jetta through teary eyes and said, “Fine. I’ll take that one.”
I remember signing the papers without a care in the world. My Audi’s gone, my house would soon be gone, what was happening to my life?
But, see, this was God teaching me that these things don’t matter! I am happier and more fulfilled in my apartment with my smashed up Jetta. Yes, it’s smashed.
Side note: I hit a median in the road on Father’s Day 4 years back driving my Uncle Frank, RIP, to the bus station at Yorktown Mall. Yeah, that sucked. Then, just recently I hit a gas pump. Yep, that really happened. At the time I remember thinking I wished the whole thing blew up and took me and the Jetta down in flames. But no. God again, teaching me a lesson. This is just a car, it doesn’t matter.
Now that I’ve driven this poor Jetta into the ground I desperately needed a new car. I have painstakingly researched – also a new phenomenon to me – gas mileage, safety, reliability…I’ve looked at so many cars over the past couple months. I’ve test drove. I’ve bounced around from SUV to sedan, American to foreign, I mean, we might as well have looked at golf carts as an option because I’m telling you I would have researched those as well.
Even today as I signed the papers I was having hot flashes. Is this the right decision? I looked up and said, “I’ve bought cars, houses, signed divorce papers; yet I still feel like I’m going to shit my pants right now.”
And I realized, wow, this is the first huge purchase I have made since my divorce. It’s like I’m 22 again except I have a human mouth and a cat mouth to feed. My dad said something to me, too, that I’ve been thinking about.
He said, “You deserve a new car.” And it got me thinking. Do I feel like I don’t deserve it?
I think that is part of what was holding me back. I have been living simply and gratefully for the last four years and don’t want to lose the progress I’ve made in becoming who I am today.
I am still rebuilding. And I am still learning and growing. But, that doesn’t mean that me – or you or anyone – doesn’t deserve a comeback. Just remember to Live Simply ~ Remain Grateful.