Always learning…

Let me give you a bit more background on myself and why I have I am doing this blog.

I have read various blogs over the years and they all seem like they have an oddly perfect life. It seems everything is golden, they have the luck that falls out of the sky. They never burn dinner. Their pantry is in order and stays that way.

Their laundry is always done, but they joke about it not being folded and put away. This includes perfectly folded fitted sheets, the ones the rest of us wad up and toss in the closet. The back of the closet. Where the company can’t see them.

We rent an apartment in a 125-year-old house in the small town of Bellevue, Kentucky, and have for 11 years. I love living in a small town but we live across the river from Downtown Cincinnati. We have the feel of a small town but in a big town.

I am a full-time graphic designer by day at a place I love but lower pay than most designers. At this point in my life, I have decided that I would rather love my job than battle a corporate mentality and people. I have done enough of that in my life that I knew it would be a struggle.

I have done freelance design work throughout the years, but always undervalued myself and my work. I also had my own fine art studio for a few years. It was such a wonderful, soul-filling experience but real life called again.

Then Dan and I met on September 14, 2009, at 7:14 pm. I was smitten from the start. like the proverbial lightning bolt. I had to do some convincing that I was perfect for him. The picture for this post is Dan shortly after we met.

We decided to move in together on January 1st of 2011. We still are together and we still rent the same apartment.

I will say up till that time, I lead a charmed life. Really charmed. I have no children, had never been married, and lived with my mother till I was 40. I always feel my need to justify that, but I will say I believe it worked for both of us. I was able to do things with my life that most can’t do because of my choices. I also worked for most of that time.

Things changed shortly after my father passed away in 2005. I started looking at a lot of my life and the choices I had made. In all aspects of life. I did a lot of alone time. Wandering the countryside and exploring. I started to distance myself from an organization I believed in for years. I started to realize I no longer believed in that organization. I started seeing that I had limited myself in life.

In 2006 I decided to go back to college. I had my associate’s degree but felt limited with my career outlook. At 36 I went back for two years to finish my degree to bachelor’s degree. During the process of college, the final pieces that had been holding me back finally started dropping away. My eyes had been opened to new ideas and possibilities.

After college, I took two years off and had my own fine art photography studio. I sold my photos, but never enough to make a living from. Marketing your own art is hard work. I was not up to the challenge. Around that time is when Dan entered the picture. With having someone in my life that I knew I could really trust, I left that organization I struggle with leaving for so long. It was really now just Dan and I. I lost a lot of people I had known for years when I left.

What I was not ready for either was the time finding a quality job after taking this break. I did some freelance work but always small work. I was never able to re-enter the job market where I thought I should be. It is hard to do at 38 vs. 21. Much different.

I will not speak for Dan but he is a freelancer whose career also took a huge hit in the 2008 recession and then with Covid.

During these last number of years, we have traveled at times, eaten at some great places. Our lives have been feast or famine. We have had to get food stamps at one point. We cut cable. We have had disconnections at times of the utilities. We use one car for both of us. We have learned to make do with what we have and enjoy life even though we struggle sometimes.

We do without sometimes of material, but we have with joy and laughter. I have learned how to make the dollar stretch. And stretch. And stretch.

I find that I have gotten a bit lazy the last few years with having some gumption.

I am starting to have a drive again. A drive to share what I have learned. To share our adventures. To share the good AND the bad. Show you what I burned for dinner. To show my messy pantry that I have tried to organize. Then two minutes later, he starts putting things in the wrong spot. I also have learned that it is not worth getting my onions in a bunch about it.

Live and learn I believe the saying goes.

Oh…I also don’t have great grammar. I am not going to let that hold me back. The more I will write the better it will become.

I love the quote by Dr. Martin Luther King. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

At 51 I feel that I am crawling again. It’s a great place to start.

I am cheap and proud of it. I don’t find that I live a less content life.

How I look at what I need has shifted.

I am going to leave you with this. It’s a photo of my pantry. It’s a bit like looking at my soul. Messy, fully stocked, somethings hidden away but everything I need is there. I am just looking for the right recipe to make a delicious life.

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