Anyone know where that quote came from? I bet you don’t. Ten points to the first person who knows it! And NO GOOGLING (I’ll know because I will test you).
A lot of you guys wanted to know how I was able to pick up my life and live in an RV for nearly a year. And now, continue to live a life of freedom and joy. Truthfully for me, it was a lot of things coming together at the same time, but it didn’t start there. It started with a desire to change my life. So I’m sharing!
God, I hated my life. I had the typical corporate job, had the typical three, bedroom two bath house with a stupid mortgage (I didn’t even want to buy a house, but I was shamed into it by an ex-boyfriend who thought I was too old to still be renting. Well screw you, dumbass! You’re still in your shit condo that you can’t sell, and I’m free as a BIRD!), and went out on typical dates with typical guys all living the same typical life. It was soooo boring. And for me, totally pointless.
But I thought I was trapped. Since the crash of 2008, my house was underwater. Anyone know about that? Rrrgh. I had been wanting to sell my house for two years already ever since a narcissistic shrew had moved in across the street and let her dogs out every morning at 3am to wake up the entire neighborhood, but nobody wanted to buy it at the price I had to sell it for (not to mention the shrew). Talk about a nuisance. I nearly sprinkled her lawn with raisins. Thanks everybody for listening to me bitch about that for seven years!
I knew getting out of my house – for me – was the first step to freedom, however that was going to play out (living in an RV wasn’t even a thought at that time). But I certainly didn’t have the cajillion dollars necessary to make up the gap between what people would pay for my house (I put it on the market five times. Five times! And…. nothing.) and what I owed on it, and even if I had a cajillion dollars, do you think I would give it to Bank of America? Um… NO. They have enough of our money.
But you know, I wanted to be responsible, I wanted to keep up my end of the bargain, blah blah blah. Never mind that banks certainly don’t keep up their end of any bargain, but I digress. The reality was, I was SCARED. I was paralyzed by FEAR. I was afraid of what might happen if I let go.
Fear can stop everything, and often we don’t even know that is what is stopping us. We call it “shyness” or “I didn’t have time” or “I’ve got kids to support” or “I need more education” or “I like chocolate and Fritos” or “I’m a responsible person” or any number of other plausible reasons for why we can’t don’t do the things we need to do to achieve the goals we say we want to achieve. And for me, my goal was to get the #*$& out of my house and be free again.
I had two choices. First choice: I could continue working in a job I hated that paid me enough money to keep forking out for a mortgage I didn’t want to pay, and be bloody miserable for the next ten+ years until I had reduced the mortgage balance enough to sell the house at the price reasonable people would be willing to pay. That meant living where I didn’t want to live, across the street from a neighbor who made me want to commit murder every day, driving every morning to a job that sucked the life out of me, over and over and over again for the next… ever. Really? All to be… “responsible”? To save my reputation? What reputation? Who really cared… except me?
So now, not only FEAR was paralyzing me, but it was also a case of MISALIGNED PRIORITIES.
How often do we say we want to do something, but don’t do it because we “can’t”?
Try… all the time. Maybe you say you want to build a website for your new online business that could give you financial and personal freedom, but you can’t because you have to spend three hours clipping coupons so you can save $15.34 at the supermarket cash register. Maybe you say you want to end an unfulfilling relationship but you can’t because that would mean you have to move, find a new place to live, etc. Maybe you say you want to start exercising three times a week, but you can’t because you have to finish your marathon of Knight Rider. Maybe you say you can’t make temporary financial sacrifices that could lead you to something better because your kids will whine and cry all the time if you cut back on buying them the next latest iPhone.
Really? Are all these things more important than living a life you love? In my case, my misaligned priority was worrying about what other people might think. I said I wanted to get rid of my house so I would be free to live wherever I wanted, but I couldn’t because I didn’t want to appear irresponsible. I was actually prioritizing what people might think about what I was doing like anyone gives a shit, over doing what would make my life better for ME. Ke-rist.
So, this brings us to my second choice: I could say sorry mom FUCK YOU to the rules, and live my life the way I wanted to.
I decided what other people might think about my choices was not a priority. At least, not to the extent that it would stop me from moving forward on what I wanted most, which was unloading my house in a way that would not break me financially.
So, I quit the job I hated, and got a job I loved (thank you Alan). But it paid me half of what I was used to. You’d think that would be a bad thing, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Why? I temporarily gave up the option to buy all stupid things I was wasting my money on to make up for my misery, in favor of an option that could give me what I really wanted – happiness. Because not only was I doing work I enjoyed with people I adored, but the salary made me look poor.
How is that a good thing? Wellllll… it qualified me for foreclosure on my house. And, yes, bankruptcy. Gasp! That’s terrible! Your life as you know it is OVER. You’re a loser! I could never do that (yeah, a lot of people do that – even Donald Trump. But most people do it really really badly). Um… no. For most people, this is the end of the world. For me, it was the ticket to freedom!
Now I will tell you about the foreclosure process and how declaring bankruptcy was the BEST thing I ever did financially in another post. I have more money now than I’ve ever had in the last ten years, and it’s all MINE. I owe NOTHING. And, my credit score is 740 – in less than two years after I declared and dumped the house. I keep getting offers for more and more credit, which I don’t use because I have plenty of cash to pay for anything I really want, now that I don’t owe anybody anything. How I did it is all detailed here.
But the point of this post is about FEAR and MISALIGNED PRIORITIES. Getting clear on letting go of fear, and what my greatest priorities were, were the most important steps when it came to creating the life I now love. Dumping your house or declaring bankruptcy may not be the answers to creating your fulfilling life, but chances are, what is stopping you is fear and not making creating your dream life a priority. You can’t do it if those things are blocking you. You just can’t.
Fear and misaligned priorities will take anyone down. They took me down for many years, so don’t think I don’t know how it feels. It blows.
But here’s another thing: what changed for me is when I realized ditching both weren’t going to make my life worse. Isn’t that was we all really are afraid of? That our lives could get worse than they already are, if we make a change?
The reality is, it’s not like life couldn’t get worse… it always could. But any number of things can make your life worse than it already is. Driving in traffic in your $40,000 car to your boring but secure job every day might put you in the path of a wayward garbage truck. Your partner could leave you because you complain about your life all the time. Spending all your time in front of the tv could lead to brain atrophy (not to mention seriously violent nightmares from too many CSI marathons but I don’t know anything about that). Staying at home every night instead of going out to meet new people isn’t going to keep you safe from slipping in the bathtub and breaking your hip.
There are always going to be ways your life could get worse than it already is, even if you don’t change anything. It ends up really being about the opportunity cost of not doing what you need to do to get life to go your way. If you don’t ask out that cute girl at the coffee shop, you might be avoiding the possibility of rejection, but you’re also giving up the chance at the romance of a lifetime. If you don’t quit your egregiously horrible job to start your dream business or get a different job that you love, you might not be giving up the myth of the secure and probably lame paycheck, but you’re also missing out on potentially unlimited income and career fulfillment. If you don’t give up the $500 car payment for a cash-paid car, you might get to drive to your awful job in a prettier car for two hours a day, but you give up saving that money so you can quit your awful job. If you don’t give up that giant box of donut holes every morning you might get to avoid the staff meeting because you’re in a sugar coma, but you’re also missing out on being able to wear those awesome skinny jeans that are so irritatingly popular right now.
So think about it. Really, which is worse? Taking the risk of having life be the way you want it to be… or… taking the risk of keeping the life you have? I chose having life be the way I want it to be, and that let me experience the joys of living in an RV for nearly a year – a dream I have always wanted to fulfill. What’s your choice?