As we go through life we develop habits, a way of doing things. Some of them are our own, some of them are done to accommodate the likes/dislikes of those around us. As we cycle through life those things change.
We develop likes and dislikes, ways of doing things, and personality traits from our parents, grandparents, siblings, other relatives and friends as we are growing. Then we become adults and move away from those we have grown up with. Some move away to attend college, some branch out on their own, living the single life, and others, like me, leave their parent’s home when they marry. Each of those different events will impact the individual person and their overall personality.
I grew up in a small town far away from distant relatives, I left my parent’s home when I married just before my 21st birthday. With my marriage I moved about two hours away from home. The person I married was not controlling, but he was nine years older and had far more life experiences than I. He had served overseas in the military, been married and had a child, and purchased a home. Looking back I adapted to his way of doing things more-so than he adapted to mine. He paid the bills, serviced the cars, did home repairs, and was the driving force in any major purchases. I was more willing to keep things as they were, to more or less “make do” with what we already had. That is how we lived for 34 years until he passed away in December 2015.
When he passed away I was living on my own for the first time in my life. I spent a couple years in a bit of a vacuum, going through the motions of life without really experiencing it to its fullest. I learned to do things I had never done before, such as yard work, getting cars serviced, and paying bills. You could say in that way I grew during that period of time, but I didn’t really evolve, I simply functioned.
With the help of a friend I began to re-evaluate where I was at and what changes I needed to make. I took a good look at the investments I had, and the company my husband had us with was not making me any money, in fact after paying the service charges I had lost money over the course of the two years since his death. I’m not a math person, but I’m not stupid. I needed a new financial advisor and I followed the recommendation of a friend and made a change. It has been a good one and I feel my financial future has a more positive outlook.
In looking at my investments I also took a good look at my living expenses v. income and realized that while I am making my bills with the assistance of my husband’s life insurance, I can not really consider that “living in the green.” Let’s face it, the life insurance savings won’t last forever, and living month-to-month is not the way I want to spend my retirement. I also realized that I can not retire and continue to live where I am at. The decision, I need to downsize. Now there is a lot of stuff in this house that I must sort, decide what to keep, what to toss, and what to sell. That will take some time. I would like to be out in six months, a year is more realistic, and it may take beyond that. However the longer it takes the more money I am spending on this house that I could be saving or using for more fun things.
Fun things. I am going to do some fun things this year. For the first time in about three years I am going to take a real vacation. I have to admit, once I made the commitment, put down the deposit and booked my airline flights I had some difficulty sleeping for a couple nights, but now I am looking forward to it. My first international flight on my own, I will be flying to Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the Calgary Stampede and spending 11 days out there. I have a friend who will meet me in Calgary. We will be staying in his motor home and taking in some of the scenic sights of the area, doing photography in addition to attending the Stampede. It should be an awesome trip and I am looking forward to it.
I have a girl’s weekend planned in Mackinac City. The weekend is a yearly event with my sister and two cousins, and we always change locations to keep it interesting. There is also the possibility of another weekend trip into Canada with a friend, but that one is only tentative at this point.
So, where am I in the cycle of life? I am in a growing stage. I have broken free of the “me” that I was when married and becoming the “me” that I am as a widow. I have started to walk around my house doing a visual inventory. “That was him, it goes.” “That is me, it stays.” Sometimes it is “That was us” and with those items, some will stay and some will go. When I move out of this house it will be a good, clean break and I will be continuing the ride as I cycle through life.