I never imagined myself getting divorced.
I thought I would really have that whole ‘happily ever after’ thing.
4 years ago, the reality of the possibility of divorce started creeping up on me.
And 3 years ago, I filed.
I didn’t have any money in savings. I used a credit card that my ex wasn’t on to pay my attorney’s retainer, and American Express LITERALLY decreased my credit line while I was sitting in her office after they ran the charge. I think they knew I would be flopping around financially for a while.
I didn’t have a job. Not a full-time one, anyway. I had two very insignificant part-time gigs.
My main focus was staying home with my son (then 2).
Once it became clear to me that I was going to be taking this road, I had to start figuring out what on earth I was going to do for a source of income. My ex is a high school teacher in one of Southern California’s highest paying districts. We weren’t living in the lap of luxury, but we never missed a bill or came anywhere near it.
I had recalled reading about various ways to freelance on Lifehacker. So I started digging and discovered ELance (now Upwork). I bid on some jobs for administrative work. And I got one. Then another. Soon, I found myself with a client paying me more than my part-time job was, so I quit it.
Then that client realized he was not managing his money wisely and promptly canned me.
I tried a multi-level marketing thing for a while, thinking it safer than the run-your-own-biz thing. Let’s just say that did not pan out.
So, in February of 2014 I stepped back into running my own business. And it started to come together and actually work.
And now I have a “job” that allows me to live and work anywhere in the world. All I need is an internet connection and my laptop and I can continue to make an income that would be downright luxurious pretty much anywhere but where I live now.
My reason for thinking outside of the J-O-B B-O-X in the first place…
I wouldn’t dream of tearing him away from his dad. Okay, that’s a lie, I do dream about it. But not because I don’t think his dad loves him – he does. But because it’s just so damn hard making enough on my own to live in Southern California.
And because there is so much that is strange about the way we do culture. So disconnected. So screen & technology oriented.
Often I wonder if he would just be better off if I disappeared and his dad and his new wife could pretend I never existed. My kiddo wouldn’t have to do a 40 minute commute 4-5 times a week. He wouldn’t have to have the culture-shock of life at his dad’s vs life at his mom’s (two very VERY different animals, I assure you).
If it weren’t for my son, and my tether of a certain radius to my ex, I could be living in Bali right now.
Yet, I am here. Desperately trying to keep everything afloat. Trying to keep clients happy and take good care of myself.
It just feels, like in some strange way, my reason for making it all happen – is also my reason I stay put in spite of the struggle. I guess this is what sacrifice is. When you could be doing something a lot more fun, appealing, enjoyable… and instead you stay in something that’s hard, uncomfortable, challenging. Something that tests every bit of your mettle.