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Looking Up From The Routine

Warning: I guess this post may end up sounding like a humblebrag. It isn’t meant to be– more that I’m trying to word-vomit out the things I need to hear in text form. But if shit like that bothers you, ahhh… maybe don’t read this one.
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I’m going to assume that the majority of the people who read this have, at one time or another (or always) worry about financials. Our society has us constantly wanting more and more. Never settling for what we have– never taking it all in. Looking around and saying, “Well, if I only had that one item I saw online/at Target/at Sarah’s house….”

I panic easily. Part of the disorder I live with — I am easily stressed and full of the anxieties of life. I cope as best I can but I am burdened by the thoughts and what-ifs constantly.

Paying the bills each month is always stomach turning. This bill and that bill, taking more and more of the dollars in my checking account. Wondering how next month will be — checking for coupons and savings and seeing where I can pinch and save. All to keep those numbers higher and higher.

I have a thought that lives in my brain that checking accounts should be a certain number. If it drops, I panic.

The thing is, when it drops, it’s because I’ve paid all my bills. When it dips below that magic number, it’s because I’ve bought groceries and diapers and pet food. I’ve purchased tickets to take my children’s to fun places.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Tonight I was doing my routine before bed– I check in on the kids, feed the cats, lock all the doors, and prep the coffee maker for 4am (the obscene hour that Kayla wakes up and goes to work). It was as I was filling the carafe that I glanced up and looked at my house. You’ll recognize this feeling if you’ve ever gone long enough in a house, but never truly looked at it.

I looked up and saw my house– the furniture, appliances, electronics, toys and games, shoes, the clutter and the decorations… This is my home. Our home… Where my family lives.

When I feel so down about finances and stress– I try and look around. I force myself to get grounded in reality. What do I actually have?

I have new cars. I have a gorgeous house full of furniture (even if it’s all Ikea!). I have a full pantry, fridge, AND deep freezer. I have a washer and dryer (IN MY HOUSE!). I have TWO bathrooms… do you know how great that is? If I have to pee and someone is in the shower… I just go use the OTHER BATHROOM (instead of peeing in the sink in the kitchen which I may, or may not, have done while pregnant once… It was a one bathroom apartment). I have bills paid, gas tanks filled, clean clothes…

But the most important? I have a fiancee, three incredible and amazing children, and four badass cats. I could live in a shelter as long as I had my babies and we were safe and happy.

I’ve been so much farther down. I’ve been food stamps, WIC, food pantries, stealing condiments from McDonald’s down. I’ve been sharing a phone with no minutes, washing my clothes in the sink with a bar of off-brand soap, feeding the cats instead of myself, begging my family for money month after month after month down. I’ve been locked in a psych ward for a week, on the edge of a parking garage ready to jump, staring into the void down.

I am NOT down anymore. If, in 2009, when I was at my lowest, weakest, most broke (both financially and mentally), you had told me eight years later I would be where I was today… I would not have even understood it as reality.

The road has been so horrendous at times… the bumps were violent and the struggle to keep myself afloat so difficult. But every so often I am confronted with all the reality I should be grateful to have.

Sometimes all it takes is looking up from the routine.