Thursday, August 13, 2015

This Old House

A house is a home when it's filled with the people you love. When they all go away it's just filled with memories, and possibly pets too. It's also filled with a lot of dust, unfinished projects, and tons of stuff that needs to be thrown out - yeah, all that stuff that we didn't deal with because we didn't think we had time.

That's life in the USA - we collect stuff. It piles up around us or we put it in storage. Attics and basements full of boxes, sometimes we even rent storage space! It's crazy, don't you think?

What Will You Leave Behind?

When my parents passed away a few years ago they left a whole house full of stuff. They thought they were doing us a favor (bless their hearts) by putting money into things instead of bank accounts; they thought we could avoid high inheritance taxes that way. Instead we inherited a lot of stuff to sort out and my brother's still dealing with it all.

I don't blame them, I'm sure it was good advice at the time it was given. However, it left me thinking about the way I'd like to leave things for my kids. Of course everyone has sentimental things they want to keep, but I don't really think my kids will want to inherit all my junk. They have their own junk.

Moving On

I don't want to be a "past stuff" babysitter for the rest of my life. I'd like to be able to travel a bit and have a little fun, in between work and visiting family of course. But there's 25 years worth of leftovers from life with family tying me down right now (including pets). 

My husband has already moved on and is building a life for us somewhere else. We figured that was the only way we could do it, one of us would have to move on first while the other dealt with all the stuff we've collected. It's not easy but we're in a process of figuring out this next stage of life after the kids have grown up.

You can't take it with you!

We've all heard this saying in relation to not being able to take our material abundance with us to the afterlife (thank God!). But we can't always take it with us here in the now life either. If we want to move on with our lives we sometimes have to let go of stuff, and we have to ask our kids to take responsibility for their own stuff too.

Our daughter is moving across the country in a little 2 door hatchback that's about 1/10th the size of her bedroom. She definitely can not take it all with her. Our older son just moved into a nice 2 bedroom apartment so I asked him to start taking some things from the closet and attic that he has stored here for the past 4 years since he graduated college. I consider dealing with this as my karma because I still had some things stored at my parents house even after they passed away.

Our youngest is still in college but I have less concern about his things because he seems to have an easier time letting go, except for the pets. One of the kids will eventually have to take the pets.

Life is full of changes

I wish I had the foresight long ago to plan for all these changes. I hope my kids will have the foresight to live a simple scaled back life. Although we are not wealthy by any means, between raising children and running a business we have managed to collect more stuff than we need. It's time to simplify and enjoy some freedom.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Some Examples of Eric's videos

Interview Demo


Promo Demo 1


Promo Demo 2

Monday, December 1, 2014

I'm Over Here!

I've been busy in other places these days, but my heart, mind and body are still mostly at home. Come visit me here:


Create A Beautiful Life

Faith Fusion

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Where Have All the Children Gone?

Life in an Empty Nest

The nest is more tidy, but it took about 2 weeks to get it that way after the last little birdie flew off. The refrigerator seems a little empty and I miss my youngest son's cooking adventures. I miss our conversations even more. It's a strange new reality after so many years with kids around.

The Pet Takeover

Last night at a party my friend told me his dogs have gained weight since his sons went off to college. Hmmm... "perhaps you should stop giving them table scraps and take them for more walks", I said. Come to think of it, my cats seem to be hanging around the kitchen a lot more these days, and one of them has taken to sleeping at our feet at night. The guinea pig follows us around the house if we leave her by herself for too long and we've resorted to food bribery to get her back in her cage.

They're all clearly lonely and wondering where the action is. Finally, the 2 cats and guinea pig have resorted to playing chase with each other, when they're not following us around and begging for food. It's entertaining, but also a subtle reminder that we are missing our 3 significant other members of the family.

Life doesn't stop...

We're always busy; working, planning, socializing and everything that's involved with daily life. But it's a very different space, this empty nest, full of memories and longing for the familiar presence of the ones I've poured my heart into for the past 25 years.

What will you do when your children leave home?

Will you have more time and money for all those things you've wanted to do? Or will you be too busy trying to make money to pay off all the bills of raising a family and sending kids to college? Will you spend more time with friends, do creative projects, or volunteer? Or will you spend endless hours on Facebook?

I love my children and my memories, but I also like to keep living life to the fullest in the present! That may mean different things to different people, but for me it means enjoying what I have and where I am and making the best of each moment. Even though I don't have the money to do all the things I'd love to be doing, there are a lot of things I can do that don't require money.

  • Visit a friend or neighbor on my days off
  • Volunteer at a local charity
  • Do yoga at home
  • Dance around the house to my favorite songs (even naked!)
  • Clean and organize the attic
  • Be creative (so many projects, so little time!)
  • Meditate
  • Clean and fix stuff around the house
Do what you enjoy! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Parenting Adult Children

Money, Money, Money!

If you thought diapers and baby equipment were expensive don't wait until they get to college age before you start a college fund. These days kids don't grow up and move out when they're 18 like they used to, they go to college and come home over and over again. 

The food bill at home goes down, then it suddenly goes up when they come home for breaks. Expenses seem a bit lower when they're away, but then they call for money because they've run out or there's some new fee that's due. No one gets a free ride to college even with scholarships and grants, there are always loans, work study, and extra funds being sent from home for those emergencies that are just outside the budget.

I love my kids more than anything and I wanted them to go to college because I never got to finish college and that severely hindered my earning power. I just wanted them to have job opportunities that would keep them out of poverty and allow them to create a lifestyle that they could enjoy. What I didn't know was that putting 3 kids through college would bankrupt me (but I would still not be debt free because government loans are not forgivable).

Although my oldest has graduated, moved out, has a good job, and is paying off his own school loans ($40,000), our names are still attached to those loans if he defaults. Now he's putting himself through graduate school with more loans and I see a lifetime of debt ahead of him, but at least he'll have more earning power. I hope he doesn't regret this.

My daughter will graduate this year with about $35,000 in loans to pay off, and yes our names are attached to that by default as well. She's already stressed out about this because she's the frugal one, the careful one and the planner. Oh, did I mention that she's engaged and wants to get married within the next year? Just looking at wedding dresses has been the cause of emotional meltdowns. This is not the way it's meant to be.

My youngest is starting his second semester and there's a $4,000 bill that's due that will have to go on a Parent Plus Loan - that's the loan the government will give you if you're flat broke, in debt or bankruptcy but still breathing. I'm barely still breathing. 

What would they be doing if they weren't going to college? My kids all have career goals, they've been good students, they're responsible, they're aiming high. Working for minimum wage in a no prospect job was never an option in their minds. They all want to do something valuable with their lives and live comfortably. Who doesn't want that? But why does it have to cost a fortune or more to get there?

Your kids will always be your kids even when they grow up, even when they are legally adults, and you'll always want what's best for them. That's the heart of a parent. They will pay off their own loans when they get out of school because they knew that was part of the bargain from the beginning. But this is a really stressful way to start off into adulthood, and from my perspective I don't see the possibility of retirement ever happening in my life.

That's today's rant. Love is not all you need, you need money too. So plan ahead.