I've lived in California for most of my life. I love it here-the local mountains, the beaches, the weather, the food. I could go on and on. But since my family moved to Oregon almost ten years ago, the joy I have felt here hasn't been the same. There could be a million things to do, but if your loved ones aren't there to enjoy them with you, what's the point?
I have made so many friends here, some of whom have been around for what feels like a lifetime. The mere thought of leaving those friends behind brings tears welling behind my eyes. I have certainly enjoyed countless memories in this beautiful state with them.
When Mr. Case and I first began to consider moving out of state, we had to list the pros and cons. Both lists were extensive. We fought, we plotted, we cried and we basically stretched the issues to every far corner of our mind trying to decide what would be best for us.
Mr. Case's family lives here and it will be difficult (at best) to leave them behind. His grandfather is elderly and will not fly so the only time we can see him is when we visit California.
So we began to look at real estate here. While modest, our income was strong. We qualified for a sizable loan but the options for us were mainly condominiums. While we have nothing against condos, we intend to have children someday and had concerns over having enough room. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were of roaming my neighborhood, and a small condo with a zero lot line wouldn't allow for that.
Mr. Case's income is directly affected by the economic climate. When people don't have money, there is, quite literally, no work. Because of this, we had concerns over whether we would be earning enough to upgrade to a bigger home when kids came. The high cost of childcare and my desire to stay home with our kids also factored in. We would need to live in a home we could afford off of only one income. With no foreseeable improvement for his industry, it became obvious we were not going to be able to rely on only one income.
Then, in August, I got laid off. As the sole employee of my company, I incorrectly assumed my job was safe. Oh how quickly the mighty fall, yes?
Being laid off taught me a lot about myself and really confirmed many beliefs I held about priorities, standards, expectations and the like. Thankfully, we have been able to stay afloat. But just barely. I'd be lying if I didn't say things were tight 'round these parts. But that's OK. In fact, it has been a blessing. We've really been able to examine our spending and firm things up. We are running a tight ship.
All this to say, I often fantasize about what it would be like to not have to pay rent, plan for a mortgage or worry about, well, shelter. I can say with certainty that if I were to win the lottery, the first thing I would do is secure a home for me and Mr. Case. The second thing I would do is move both of our parents into homes where they can grow old and not have to worry about stairs, paying a mortgage on a fixed income, etc. And the third thing I would do is help displaced families. For those of you who know my family's personal story, you know that we know displacement well. Thankfully, we are resourceful but mostly we have been graced by God with opportunity to continue working as hard as we can to remedy as much of the displacement as possible. If I'm being too vague, feel free to email me and we can discuss anything you'd like.
Our goal (while lofty considering my lack of gainful employment) is to purchase a home within the next year. My wish for anyone in my same boat is to not lose hope. Know that "this too shall pass" and that there is hope for improvement. Sometimes losing everything is what it takes to appreciate what you do have. A valuable lesson can be learned from losing money: money is helpful and at times important, but it does not define you and you can't take it to the grave so you might as well enjoy the life you do have!