I was talking to a friend recently about some of the goals that I have. There was a pause in the conversation and it hit me – where I am today is so far from where I was three years ago. That I am in a place where I can make life choices instead of having to roll with whatever life lobs my way is pretty huge. I do not take a single minute of my current life for granted.
Three years ago my family was inches away from being homeless (that would come a few months later) and I was fighting complicated emotions about Millie’s health daily. I had this adorable three month old baby. I was exhausted. I was stressed. I wasn’t thinking about a career or the future – I was living in the moment and worried about how my family was going to survive.
I was not independent.
This year I am thriving at my job, relishing creative side projects, and in love with every inch of my toddler son. I am just beyond living paycheck to paycheck but I don’t have a panic about surviving.
I am free!
And that? That scares me.
I work hard. Very hard. I work like at any moment I could find myself without work. I work before W wakes up. I work while he is at school. I work while he is screaming at me and demanding my attention. I work on weekends.
When I hear that there is more work to be done I push myself to not only complete it, but complete it swiftly and perfectly. There is always a voice in my head whispering, “this could all go away.”
Because just over three years ago it DID all go away. Without warning. Without notice. Without any reason. My Mother, who was the primary bread winner of our family while I was the primary caregiver to Millie, was let go. And within just months we were in the scariest position we have ever been – dependent on friends, on strangers, on government agencies, on whether or not the grocery store accepted food stamps.
I live with that remembrance hovering over my head every day, all day. I don’t worry about buying groceries for my family NOW, I worry about being able to do it tomorrow.
When does the fear go away?
When I think about independence, as our country is about to celebrate its birthday this week, I think about the long meandering journey my life has taken so far. There have only been small legs of the journey that weren’t mired with fear. It’s a horrible way to travel.
I do know that I would be stuck in my head with this anxiety if it wasn’t for my friends, my family, if it wasn’t for this blog and those of you that cheer me on. I wonder how many of us are afraid and what it would take to make it go away.