Some Thank Yous are Unexpected
July 3, 2014
I am not sure why I’m writing to you. I’m not sure why I’m sharing any of this information with you. And perhaps I will never send this letter to you.
These stories, thoughts and beliefs are how I feel at this time in my life.
Since we divorced, there have obviously been many changes in my new life. Some of these changes were a result of a conscious decision on my part, while other decisions were made for me due to my lack of control. Some decisions I gave a lot of thought, while others just happened on a whim. Regardless of how the changes came about, they all happened for a reason…to make me the woman I am today.
For the first year after the divorce, I completely ignored dealing with my finances. Maybe not deliberately, because I had never had to do it before. I was receiving the monthly spousal maintenance check you were so kind to deposit into my account, and I had my own income from my teaching job to add it to. As long as my bills were paid, I just floated along up in the atmosphere in the white, fluffy, enormous money cloud. Then I realized that I could not continue living my life floating from one money cloud to the next, so I decided to take my head out of these puffy clouds and face my finances…I was now a financial planner with my feet planted on the ground. Not much to my surprise, I made zero contributions to any savings plans. I never had done it in the past because you always took care of it, so I didn’t know I needed to make investments. As a matter of fact, I never had to worry about money because I had you to do that for me. I rarely physically touched $1, $10, $20 or $100 bills; I had plastic to do that. Furthermore, I never had to look at or pay a credit card or utility bill; I had you to do that.
So after a year of not perusing my account balances and investment statements, I made the decision to learn about money…MY money. I am now taking a financial class through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It’s informative and eye-opening for me. It’s presented by Dave Ramsey through a series of DVDs. What was quickly served to me on a large, piping hot piece of humble pie were Dave’s philosophies and beliefs, which just so happen to go along with what you believe and practice…minus a few practices here and there. While eating that juicy piece of humble pie, I swallowed my pride and can now say that I am beyond grateful to you for the way you spend and save money…and I share that with people all the time. I am not ashamed to admit it, and I give you all the credit for the financial situation I am in. I am grateful for the financial principles you instilled in me, whether you meant to or not. I may not have felt that way at the time, but it is very sound and intelligent advice. Hearing about the financial situations of the other classmates, I realize how blessed I am and I owe most (if not all) of that to you. I am learning to live my life debt-free and it feels amazing. I’m saving for retirement and vacations. It’s been a life-changing experience for me. I view money with intelligence and in a positive light now. I am learning to make responsible financial decisions and I have an accountability partner to keep me in check. I have a budget and control where my money goes. I believe you would be impressed and proud of me…not to mention a possible “I told you so” coming from your mouth.
More changes continue to transform my life. Slowly, gradually, and with medical guidance, I stopped taking my anti-depressant. I choose to remove habits in my life that are not constructive. I eat better. I exercise. I watch less television, but I still have a few limited guilty pleasures. I choose to work out four times a week with a personal trainer and a group of supportive people (at 5:30 in the morning, mind you). My diet, while not perfect, is focused on proteins, veggies and fruits, which help to support my healthy lifestyle. My soda intake is reduced, but not completely eliminated, as you probably know I still love my Dr. Pepper 10 and Coke Zero.
My teaching career continues to be rewarding. While teaching 6th grade special education students continues to be stressful and consuming, I do not imagine myself doing anything else.
It was very difficult when Austin moved out of my house. It was inevitable and most necessary for each of us to live happy lives. While I miss my son more than you could possible imagine, I needed him to move out for my sake, and he needed to move out for his sake. He was going nowhere fast, and I was allowing it to happen due to my own personal struggles. I am a better parent for him. The living arrangement was toxic for both Austin and me. It needed to change, and I had to be that change. You may or may not understand or agree with what happened, how or why it happened, but it doesn’t change anything. It has been and will continue to be the right decision for our son. I was not the mother he needed, and he was not a productive member of society.
I proudly and without any regrets take complete responsibility and credit for making these positive changes in my life. I am determined to continue these physical, mental, and emotional life changes in my life. They have become who I am. However, all of these changes are in some part because of you. Although I hope you would be supportive and proud of me, I am doing them for myself. So I thank you for being the catalyst that brought these changes in my life. I am grateful to you.
Knowing what I know now, the hopeful part of me believes the life lessons I’ve learned would have changed the path our lives took if only I had learned them sooner. I am also hopeful that these changes may bring about a change in our future relationship.
I do miss you every day, Andrew. I want to show you the changes in my life. I honestly believe the Andrew I fell in love with would be excited and proud. I would love nothing more than to mend and repair the marriage that we once shared. However, that is not my goal. My goal is to continue to be the woman that I have become and will continue to be.
For more information regarding Financial Peace University: