I recently had the chance to go back to my hometown in Indiana for a few days. My hometown is in a small town in Indiana and as my boys have gotten older and involved in more and more activities, it’s been harder and harder to sneak away for a visit. I had the opportunity to take a few days off work on my son’s spring break though and since he was going to Florida with his girlfriend’s family and my older son was busy with his college classes I decided to slip away for a few days.
The drive from Louisville to my hometown is about 2 ½ hours and the majority of the drive takes you through various small Indiana towns. I love taking road trips and making the drive by myself this time around gave me a lot of time to think about everything I have going on and the goals I’m wanting to accomplish soon, most specifically trying to get my house ready for sale and figuring out if we’re going to have to go into an apartment for awhile or possibly be able to buy another condo. As I drove I passed some lovely homes with pretty wrap-around front porches and I found my feeling a little sorry for myself since my impending move is, in all likelihood, going to be a downsize and downgrade from what we currently have. Man, I’d love to be able to have a gorgeous house like that, I found myself thinking. It really sucks that I’m as old as I am and still struggling so much just to find something decent we can afford. I’ll be honest, I was having a serious pity party.
A few miles down the road I drove through another small town and now I saw a broken down modular home with an air-conditioner unit hanging precariously out of a window. There were broken down cars and car parts and couches and broken toys in the front yard. I thought at first it was an abandoned property but then I saw a little kid run around to the front of the trailer. And just like that I felt ashamed of myself for my earlier pity party.
Yes, it’s true, money is tighter then I like and in another year it’s going to be a whole lot tighter when my youngest graduates high school and we lose his Social Security money. We have what we need though. I don’t worry about the lights or water getting turned off, we have food in our fridge, all three of us have vehicles to get us to school and/or our jobs. The mortgage gets paid every month on time. Do I get a new outfit every week? Nope. Do I get my nails done every month? Nope (although I do have a gift card I got from my boss at Christmas that I hope to use soon). I just got my hair cut yesterday, 14 weeks after my last appointment. I think you get the drift. None of that stuff is important to me though. Spending $5 to get into my son’s lacrosse games and then maybe having dinner afterwards, or having breakfast on the weekend with one or both of my boys, or occasionally catching a discounted movie. These are the things that I’m happy to spend a little bit of money on.
I can’t even imagine the struggles the family in the modular home probably face. I know people that can’t pay their bills, I know other people that have experienced a medical crisis recently and I’m sure they’re struggling mightily. It’s definitely a matter of perspective and I have to remember that when I start feeling sorry for myself. Yes, I’m almost certainly going to have to find a second job soon and yes, we’re going to have to downsize but Michael is already in college and living on campus the majority of the year, and Nicholas will most likely be living on campus somewhere in another year too, so although I definitely need to carve out room for them for their breaks, it’s not going to kill us to be in tighter quarters during those times. In fact, I honestly felt we interacted more when we were staying at my aunt’s smaller condo during the repairs this past summer to our flooded place. Our current set-up has Michael’s room on one side of the condo, mine on the other, and Nick downstairs so sometimes we tend to gravitate to our own spaces. If I’m going to have more limited time with them on their breaks then I really won’t mind the closer space.
So that’s it, I’m sure the pity party will show up again when I actually get my current house on the market and have to find a place in my new tighter budget but I’m going to do my best to remember that trailer and focus on my blessings rather than my hardships. Hopefully my friends and family will help keep me in check.