I was reading blogs today (my daily hobby) and came across photos of one blogger’s trip with her family to Hawaii. And then I felt it: envy, strong as thirst in the desert.
I am not so pure of heart that I will claim to never feeling this way. I am used to wanting what other people have. Beauty, thinness, great hair – all things I covet in others. And of course the tangibles, things like cars and clothes, I have wanted those too.
But this thing about the vacation pictures, well, it is a little bit different. It is not that I want the trip to Hawaii. I have been before, it was
hot nice and expensive fancy. It’s not even the idea of taking a vacation.
It’s the life.
I really look forward to the day when I can turn to my husband and announce that it would be nice to plan a vacation. And then actually do it. I look forward to planning a trip that does not revolve around the fleeting interests of my young children. I anticipate the day I can decide that we will plan something in the future and then put that plan into action. And how great would it be to go someplace without finances impacting every. single. decision.
Two years ago, we walked away from the life we were muddling through on the west coast. The economic crash wreaked havoc. We left two homes, one job, one foster child, several friends, and whole bunch of debt. We filed bankruptcy, and then struggled paycheck to paycheck for the next year until I went back to work.
We learned a painful lesson: we don’t know anything about money.
Now, I don’t buy anything on credit. Well, that’s not true – we had to re-establish our credit which meant we had to open a few high-interest accounts. Right now the only balance I carry is on my interest-free account with Dell. We had to buy a second vehicle after turning the minivan back in to the bank, and bought a used Honda with an obscenely high interest loan. After a year, we were able to refinance it at a pretty low rate. We comparison-shopped health insurance. I use coupons and cook more.
Although I feel like we are heading in the right direction – we will probably buy a home in the next year – I still often feel like I am moving through quicksand. We are able to “get-by”, even with my sudden, unexpected job loss. But we are not able to really “live.” Although I can pay all the bills and get the groceries we need (and a few items we want), we can’t do the typical family things like take trips or even enroll the kids in regular activities because of the cost.
I know this is temporary. We are rebuilding. We will be okay. We will plan vacations. We will have our own home again.
The envy isn’t about the money. It’s about being in that stage of life, the settled contentment that comes with believing you have things figured out and a clear plan that you are following.
I just wish I could fast-forward for a little bit, and get us to the point where we can relax a little bit and enjoy life.
Until then, I guess I’ll keep dreaming.