Fully and Thoroughly

I am exhausted. I feel as though today and the past few days have really worn on me. However, I’m not tired in the usual way, limping defeated into bed. I am inspired and gleefully exhausted at the notion of being so fully inspired that I lack the containable energy to even contain it. I suppose in some way I’m physically on the opposite side of the spectrum than how I feel inside. I had a lightbulb moment earlier this week. It was simple, radical and filling. Why not take the time to actually and deliberately come out of debt. We all live with it, the albatross that is with us every waking and resting moment of each and every day. I am so meticulous that I know to the penny how much I am in debt at all times. What finally dawned on me was that since this is my first year as a small business owner it provides me with a very unique opportunity to pay off debt. Since I have not established a true baseline of what my monthly income is, I have not yet started paying estimated taxes. And while it is quite possible that I’ll end up with a tax bill at year’s end, there’s a very big chance that I won’t. Regardless, the best thing is that even if there is a tax penalty assessed, it will be far less than the interest rates of the debt that I’ve accumulated.

I suppose what I’m feeling is a bit of euphoria. I can’t remember the last time I was this poor. Financially poor. I am wealthy with love and support but financially I am not at all where I need to be to stand on my own two feet. It’s a stark contrast to where my life was a year ago. Last year I was gearing up for another Library Fair, another period of being fully committed to a job and a purpose that a year later would be a mere glimmer in the rearview window of life. I feel a bit destitute in some ways but empowered and revived in others. I love my new life. I hate the debt and I hate the occasional house drama, but I love living with my brother and his family and I love the time I spend with my husband. I honestly didn’t think that after having had a failed marriage in my early 20s that I’d remarry. The taste that left in my mouth was pungent. It was a very long time before I was even able to entertain the idea of me being with another person in any way. And then, as they say, when I wasn’t looking, when I’d given up, that’s when my now 50-year-old husband came knocking at my door. There is a calm that I feel with him. There is a relief in the way that I feel, knowing that he loves and accepts me just as I am. For better or worse, he’s there.

Most days I still struggle to muster up the needed drive to mentally escape the walls of my home office. It’s difficult when you deal with depression to see past and through all the trappings of one’s mind. It’s not easy. Life never is. But living with depression can ravage a relatively sane person. You can go from being just okay to battling bouts of despair in moments. As silly as it may seem, I’ve resorted to tracking my really good and really bad days by sticking yellow smiley face and red frowny face stickers on my wall calendar. I only mark the occurrences that are the strongest. So my best and worst days are now something that I can visually see every day. It was not meant as a means of increasing or decreasing any one type, although I can now see how that would be beneficial, its original intention was to see if I could find patterns and isolate them and analyze them to see what I can do to find a better balance for myself.

I’m finding that I’m starting to finally be able to breathe. It’s taken a great deal more time than I expected and I know that I have a lot more to learn, but I’m finding myself again, learning more things, things that I never knew or understood. That in itself is exciting and calming. Age brings wisdom. And so it seems that is what is finally happening for me. I’m no longer the second in command of a public library system, nor do I own my own home. There is a lot that has changed in a relatively short period of time. But I know that I just need to keep at it, keep at finding the things in my life that make it truly worth living. In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” but I, I now stretch out towards my future.

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