The day that everything changed…

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11752614_10153452935057445_4987833713088427603_nJuly 1, 2015, I married the man of my dreams…He’s gorgeous, talented, thoughtful, smart, hilarious, and he loves me like crazy and knows how to show it (yay me!)  But I didn’t need a marriage certificate or ceremony to prove it – I’ve known those things since a few minutes after I met him.

That blessed day set into motion a laundry list of paperwork that led to a name change and savings on health insurance.  On July 30th, I had identification, bank cards, a paycheck, and a name-plate on my office door that told everyone I was legally Angie Ruth (yay me!), but the role was one I had played for awhile, so it wasn’t a huge adjustment.

The day that everything changed kinda came and went unnoticed.  It was a Saturday, we were in San Antonio for the Ska Festival, and what happened that day didn’t even make it onto my radar until yesterday, August 22nd.

I had a terrible week at work, and for the first time in the past handful of years, I – right at this moment – am not looking forward to the weeks ahead.  I have made my way from teaching first grade to college and finally made a vertical career move to Junior High Language Arts Curriculum Specialist (yay me!).  But this week I contemplated a first grade teaching position, full-time subbing, and sacking at Kroger.  I had figured up how much I could make earning less of a salary and compensating with more piano students, more advertising for my personalized paintings, and maybe an Etsy store for my little homemade artsy things.

Then it hit me – My whole adult life, I have wanted to own my own business…In theory, it would be a store-front with rescued resale shop finds, repurposed furniture, and piano lessons going on in the back.  What has stopped me?…Fear, and the need for insurance coverage…but mostly the need for insurance coverage.  As a single mom for eight of my 19 years of parenthood, and a virtually-single parent for the nine years of my first marriage, I had prioritized my life around a steady income and a job with benefits.  I had always worked multiple side jobs because I knew better than to squander the gifts God decided to give me (yay me!)

On August 1st, however, my employer-provided insurance was no longer needed as I was officially covered by my wonderful husband’s policy.  Simultaneously, over the course of the last few unpleasant weeks at my job, my interest in upping my game with my side jobs has suddenly surged.  Yesterday, I figured out why…

Now that I don’t need benefits, the world is my oyster!  I could – feasibly – one day do all of the things I love and make the money I make now, and I could control my own work life.

Now that I don’t need benefits, I am going to do my job within the means of my sanity, I’m going to live my life and take care of my family and invest in my talents and interests with reckless abandon, and if my job no longer fits AND is no longer financially needed…buh-bye!  Now that I don’t need benefits, what seemed scary now seems like what I am supposed to be doing.

If you are reading this, you’re at the beginning of a journey that I have no idea where it’s headed…We might do just like I did when I moved to Dallas as an 18 year old and drive around lost for what seems like forever just to end up where we started.  But even then, it was the journey – not the destination – where the learning took place.

We’re going to try a few new things in the coming weeks – redecorating a camper, trying Skype piano lessons for the first time, starting a children’s book, and juggling a 7th grader in school band and sports, a 4th grader who is gifted in areas that I want to nurture more, and a 19 year old who is attempting online classes to work around a full-time job.  My husband is coaching two sports and working on his MBA, and I like to cook and clean and paint my toenails, especially when I should be doing other things.  Thank goodness I have a hot husband.