21st Century Dad
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January 9th, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad

2007 was tumultuous followed by an even more tumultous 2008. However, 2009 is looking better already. I didn’t write about my troubles here because I felt uncomfortable with sharing certain things. Renee and I have decided that telling the truth would be therapeutic.

The Downward Spiral

A chain of events that commenced in 2006 wound its way through a business startup, a battle with depression, unemployment, a car accident, a staggering amount of consumer debt, getting my car repossessed, joining the ranks of homeowners in foreclosure, the loss of two pets, and relocating to another state. We put on a good show while remaining in the closet about the status of our home. We did a disservice to ourselves and to others by hiding our problems and hiding from our problems.

Starting Over

People who can’t afford to live in New York move to South Florida. People who can’t afford the cost of living in South Florida move to North Carolina and Tennessee. The cost of living isn’t terrible here.  What’s killing me is the huge disparity between the cost of living and the typical wages paid here.

We loaded up a UHaul trailer just before Christmas, and we spent the holidays with Renee’s family in Tennessee. I returned alone on a Greyhound bus to South Florida so I can pack up, sell, donate, or throw away what remains here. I still have work here, and will be moving in a few months. Establishing some remote freelance work means I can literally pack up and move my job too.

Tennessee Homesick Blues

Is it possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never lived before? It didn’t take long for Renee to figure out that I would love Tennessee. It reminds me of a southern version of Maryland. She used to joke that if we ever visited, I’d never come back to Florida.

Leaving this place where I have lived for 28 years got a lot easier by what awaits me at my next stop. My truest of true loves is in Tennessee, so that is why I belong there.

Nobody Invited Me to the Pity Party

And I’m not going to crash that party either. It was a precipitous fall to this lowest of low points in my life, but I am rebounding well. I am filled with optimism, faith, the lessons learned from my experience, and an exit strategy.

I don’t have the use of a car without calling upon the kindness of friends. The popular perception in South Florida is that a car is an absolute necessity to get around. The supposedly inadequate public transit system here in Broward County has filled my needs. I face many logistical challenges, but it is still a viable lifestyle. It’s also far less expensive than maintaining an automobile – even one that is completely paid off. Learning how to use public transit early on has eased my transition to this car-free lifestyle. Riding my bike was a cost-cutting measure. Now it’s one of my main modes of transportation. I also enjoy watching my waistline shrink. The money I save by not having a car will have to go toward a new wardrobe soon!

I am 900 miles away from my truest of true loves. Being separated from my daughter is the most difficult thing I have ever done. Circumstances that have incapacitated me in the past seem so trivial now. As great as this challenge is, I have never been better equipped to face it. I still cry every day because I miss my daughter, but somehow, I’m finding the strength to move forward.

Turning Things Around

The circumstances we find ourselves in has inspired me to reevaluate everything. Any and all previously held beliefs are subject to questioning and discarding. My sense of fiscal responsiblity lapsed long enough to find myself in this mess. Now I’m back on track, but digging myself out of the deepest hole I’ve ever been in.

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4 Responses to “CTRL ALT DEL”

  1. comment number 1 by: Dad of Divas

    I truly hope that 2009 brings you and your family to a better place in all aspects. 2008 was not the best year for you but from what you have said here it seems like 2009 is staring out right. Hang in there and keep digging!

  2. comment number 2 by: brian schroeder

    elliott–
    your post totally bummed me out at first, but then i realized–this what we do, this is what life is. it is trying, failing, trying again. that’s it, really, there isn’t much else to it. the hardest part about it is remembering that you aren’t alone in your trying, failing and trying again; we are all doing the same, side by side. we rarely look up from the task to see that our family, our friends, our partners and children are all laboring at our sides, sometimes even picking us up and helping us back to our feet.

    so. just stand back up on your feet, brush the dust off your pants, and try again. this time, though, make only one change–look to your left and look to your right and smile at everyone who is trying with you. and if one of them stumbles, stretch out your hand to help them steady themselves. that’s it.

  3. comment number 3 by: Corina

    While I am sorry the past two years have been so hard for you, I am so happy that you are going forward with new hope and optimism. I truly hope for the best for you and your family. Share your troubles here. There are a great many who would support you in all that you go through.

  4. comment number 4 by: 21st Century Dad

    @Dad of Divas: The new year is a natural place to reset. Haven’t had an epic fail yet.

    @Schroeder: Change by definition is a disturbance in the status quo. That’s not going to happen without a chain of events trickling outward from the epicenter.

    @Corina: Moving forward with hope and optimism is what’s right for my family.

    I have an idea for my first contest here on 21st Century Dad. Details are coming soon.

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