Last week, a notebook slipped out from underneath my bed. (Oliver helped with that; he was doing something Important under there, and I had no idea it was there in the first place.) When I saw it, I picked it up and opened it.

It was from 2007.

It only had a few pages of notes and thoughts and lists and suchlike, but it opened a window in my mind about 2007. The year I gave up High Fructose Corn Syrup for Lent. The year I started reading about local foods, and affluenza, and how we all have too much stuff.

Seven years ago.

I started out with good intentions. Cleaning the house, decluttering; those two things have been on my lists for years and years. It's only last year and so far this year that I feel I really have a handle on things, however, because by the end of 2007, despite all my reading, I had purchased the following items:

--2 harps to the tune (pun intended) of $2,500
--1 serger ($100)
--1 new camera ($500)
--an XO Laptop ($350-ish, IIRC)

and there's probably something I'm forgetting, but I'm not going to go back and look for it now. Also, it seemed I was going to auctions every weekend.

Now, this was when we could flex our schedules, and I was working four days a week, 6:30am-5pm. I hated the hours, but liked the day off. And even with that schedule, I was able to have a pretty good garden that year, among other things.

But oh my gosh. Talk about blowing my budget!

I tend to stress-buy stuff. If I'm really worried about something or stressed about something, I tend to buy stuff. Not necessarily junk, but stuff I don't really need. The months before I bought my house, when I was waiting to hear when I could move in, I haunted Tuesday Morning and bought house stuff. Constantly. None of it cost a bundle, but even so. A lot of it I did not need.

By 2008, I had a plan, however. And had implemented it. I intended to have my credit cards paid off by 2012. I was well on my way to achieving that goal; transferring balances to 0% interest, etc., and attempting to ignore the rumors at work that had already started about layoffs, early retirement, etc.

By 2010, that had fallen apart.

In 2008, I bought my first loom. I also purchased many other looms over the course of the summer of 2008. In October 2009, I purchased a Harrisville 4h/4t floor loom, which was pretty much the end of the loom acquisition push, because in January of 2010, I had started spinning.

By 2010, I could not pay my credit card bills, because I was spending the money I would have used to pay them on spinning wheels and spindles. It wasn't even a question of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Life had gotten too complicated, so I started shutting things down, and paying my bills was one of those things. (To be honest.)

At work, the rumors were in full-force about layoffs, possible office closures (another thing I "did not hear" and ignored, because it was too painful to contemplate) and my response was to buy to alleviate stress. Which only made me more stressed, which is a terrible circle to be trapped in, let me tell you.

Around November-December of 2010, I finally woke up and realized that if I didn't save myself, I would drown in this. So I (slowly) started to make some tentative plans. By January of 2011, I'd made payment plans with most of the credit cards.

And then we got the news that the office was closing and we'd be forced to commute downtown.

2011 was HELL. I sometimes had to call in sick because I didn't have enough gas money to get to and from work. I was very stressed and very unhappy, and everything I used to enjoy reflected that. I had hoped to pay off my car early; that didn't happen, and by the time I paid off my car, I'd almost sold every spinning wheel (and looms) I'd bought the previous years, just to have enough money to pay my bills.

I ate peanut butter and jelly toast for breakfast, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, because I had no extra money to afford to eat out. For MONTHS. I also posted weekly auctions on ebay, just to keep things in the black.

My house suffered. I "didn't have time" to do the dishes, so I'd wash a dirty plate to use it every morning. I tried to keep up in spurts, but it didn't work. I did a lot in 2011, yes, but I was also very, very depressed. On the days I took off (and there were a lot of them), I sat and watched Netflix and spun yarn. Classic avoidance.

By 2012, I had begun to realize that this Would Not Do. And I determined that I needed to make some changes. Allow myself to reorganize; to heal. That's where the Year of Completion came in, for 2013.

Also, I had kittens by the end of April of 2012. And, well, kittens. And while there were spots of 2012 that I would consider setbacks, it was a better year. I even cautiously made a couple of purchases. I started to weave again. Things looked a bit better.

Last year, I can safely say that things were a lot better, although the work situation remains unchanged. I don't mind as much right now, however. (Depending on what day you ask, lol.)

2014? Seven years later from that notebook I found under my bed? A lot of those things on those lists I made still apply. I think it's time I cross some of them off.


knit said…
I really have missed you.

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