It’s been more than a month since I turned 40 and I have been almost totally radio silent. The last 4 months or so have been a bit of a whirlwind (i.e. shit show) that completely threw me for a loop and totally threw me off my game. Because it’s been so long, I want to bring you up to speed in digestible pieces. I’ll rewind a bit to the point where things started to go a little off the rails for me.
At the end of March, I quit my job. It was a move a long time in the making and I was thrilled to finally step out on my own and be my own boss. I wrapped up my last day at the job I’d been at for more than 6 years and packed up for a long anticipated camping trip with family and friends. It was going to be the perfect break from reality. I knew the place we were going had no cell service and I was relishing the thought of being totally disconnected for 5 days.
We packed up early the next morning and hit the road. The drive north would take us about 6 hours, not including the minor incident we had with our camping gear flying off the back of our car on the Grapevine. About an hour out from our destination and only 3 hours behind schedule, I got a text from my next door neighbor.
“You’re moving?! I just saw the FOR SALE sign and I’m so bummed!”
My stomach dropped. We rent our house. We had plans to buy a home of our own before our little guy started school in a couple years but we weren’t ready now. My landlord had the house appraised recently but she assured us she had no intention of selling and was happy with our timeline of a couple more years. I was stunned. I frantically texted my neighbor back to ask her to take a picture of the sign. My text wouldn’t go through. We had no service for the next 5 days. 5 days of wondering what the hell was happening and what we would do. I had just quit my job. I had clients and money coming in but not a steady, direct deposit, every-two-weeks paycheck. My mind was racing.
I was, of course, narrating the text and every single thought that raced through my head to my husband, who was driving. He took a deep breath and said, in classic dude fashion, “Nothing we can do about it right now. Let’s just enjoy the trip and worry about it when we return.”
It was a logical, solid piece of advice. It’s also the exact opposite of my natural state of being. I think the fact that I knew deep down that whatever was going to happen, I had zero control over it somehow allowed me to push the thought away. We had a great trip and I only thought about it once or twice. I felt very zen about it. Very not me. Very roll with punches. And then we got home.
There were the guilty emails and texts from my landlord. The flurry of calls from the realtor wanting to set up showings. The panic about where we would go and how we would pay for it all. The anxiety over choosing the right neighborhood and school. The regret over quitting my stable job and planning a couple of big trips in a year when we had an expensive move happening.
My focus shifted from 40 Reasons and my list of personal goals to packing up an entire house and finding a new place to live. I pored over our finances to find ways to cut spending and bulk up our bank account. We kicked ourselves for not being more prepared for this and not ready to buy a house. We never EVER wanted to be in this situation again.
Building my new business took a back burner. My personal goals fell by the wayside. I spent the entirety of April and May packing and trying to find a place to live while juggling work, family and a bunch of other trips and social engagements that we’d planned.
But as things tend to do, everything fell into place. Not without a massive amount of anxiety and sleepless nights, but things worked themselves out. I shouldn’t say they worked themselves out entirely on their own. I did play a role in them working themselves out. I finally got a hold of myself and smacked the freak out away. Actual footage of me getting a grip below.
The thing that really stopped me from spinning my wheels and put me back in forward motion was not, in fact, being slapped repeatedly by strangers. It was some really great advice from a friend. I was bemoaning our lack of options in affordable housing to her. The rental market in San Diego is crazy right now. It looked like we would have to spend more AND downsize if we wanted to be in a decent school district. I kept thinking about what I would have to give up and what I was willing to live without. Yes, I know that these are first world problems, but they are things that have a very real impact on me and my family. The places we were looking at all felt like a step backwards for more money than we were currently spending. And that is a hard pill to swallow.
My friend told me to stop thinking about what I could do without. She told me to get really clear on what I wanted in a home and in a neighborhood, down to how I wanted to feel in my home. She advised me to take the limiting factors like money out of it. I would, of course, have to determine the amount we were willing to spend each month, but I shouldn’t omit anything I really wanted even if I believed we couldn’t find it in our price range.
As soon as she told me that, I slapped myself one more time for good measure. It’s what I’d been practicing all along to work toward my goals. Getting clear on what I want is the first step to getting it. You have to know exactly what you want if you want to have a chance at actually having it. DUH!!! I made the list that same day. Within 2 days, I found 3 listings that matched the description. I’d spent the past month searching listings daily to no avail. Within a week we had signed a lease and paid the deposit on our new house. And yes, it has every single thing that was on my list including the price.
We packed up and moved out of the house that my baby took his first steps in. That we had huge family gatherings and parties in. It was the first place we’d live that I’d really loved and I wasn’t ready to leave it behind. I cried as I drove away for the last time. I had expected to leave that house to move into a home of our own. It felt like a failure. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing but I had no choice.
I somehow managed to do the #31days31workouts challenge in June, which was the month that we moved. After that, it was a whirlwind of holidays, trips and celebrating my 40th birthday. Before I tell you about that, I should tell you that our new home has been an unexpected gift. It turns out that people live in the burbs for a reason. The closets are massive. The cul-de-sac is teeming with little kids on bikes. We have neighbors that are good friends, which means playmates AND date nights. There is a pool in our community, which means free entertainment. I wish I could’ve done a better job of sharing while it was happening, but I needed time to get some perspective on the situation. And I don’t like to barf a bunch of negativity all over everyone.
The longer I went between posting, the harder it was to sit down at my computer and continue to share my story. I turned 40 exactly 40 days ago today and it’s time to get back on the horse. The first step was explaining where I’ve been and why I’ve been radio silent. The next steps will be to let you know how I fared in my project overall, where I’m at now and what I have planned next. Because this thing ain’t over. It’s actually just getting started. Thanks for taking the time to read my update and for hanging with me. Stay tuned for parts 2, 3 and 4.