This week marks a year since I moved out of my house and started my new life as a single mom. In some ways it’s flown by but, when I think back on everything that’s happened since, it seems as if I’ve lived a lifetime. The kids were on a week-long vacation with their dad this past week and it gave me time to do some “house-cleaning” both literally and figuratively.
I remember last year as I was packing up to move out I made my first purchase on my own without having to check with anyone else. It was a vacuum cleaner. Something incidental but, in my mind, it was monumental. I didn’t have to explain to someone else why this was the right vacuum for me. I didn’t have to debate whether to “shop around” to find another. I just was able to do it and, let me tell you, it was the best feeling in the world!! Renting a house on my own was certainly another big step. I negotiated the lease, dealt with the paperwork, dealt with the utility and cable companies, coordinated the move…everything. It seemed overwhelming and exhausting but I remember the first night I was here I toasted myself for having done it. Now this past week I did the one thing I never thought I would be able to do on my own – I bought a car. I really do think of myself as a successful and intelligent business woman but, when it comes to dealing with cars, I feel completely naïve. I was completely stressed out this week because I knew I had to handle it and I was dreading it. But, once again, I rose to the occasion, quickly and efficiently found a car, negotiated the price and bought a car! The sense of accomplishment I felt can’t be described. Now I know I can do things on my own!
My life has changed dramatically in the past year. I went from owning a home, where I had to worry about repairing whatever broke and maintaining it, to renting a home where I could call the landlord to fix it. I turned in a leased vehicle, for which I was making monthly payments, to a car I bought outright and got rid of one big monthly payment. That’s when it occurred to me – not only do I feel empowered by accomplishing these things on my own but, by changing my lifestyle and not being burdened by certain financial responsibilities, I feel so much more less stressed!
And that’s when it occurred to me. One of the lessons I didn’t even realize I learned this year was that by getting rid of the material “stuff” in my life and simplifying I feel even more free! And so, I’m taking stock of everything around me and deciding what really needs to stay and what can go. This includes my kids toys, clothes I haven’t worn in years and yes, even some people who have filled my life with negativity rather than support. My new life is filled with less stuff but also less stress and more happiness and peace. I intend to keep it that way.
Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.