The Times, They Are a-Changin’

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.  ~Anatole France

This is a summer of change for us. In early June, our landlord notified us that they would be changing our rental terms; if we stayed we would henceforth be paying them a larger amount of rent, which would include utilities.

Unfortunately, that amount was about 200 dollars per month more than what we had been paying for rent and utilities combined. So we had to decide whether to try to manage the new amount or move someplace more affordable.

I had the prospect of a higher-paying job, but no certainty, and I haven’t had even a cost-of-living raise in three years. Steven has been getting step raises, but that’s not enough to make up $200 per month.

So, we decided to look for a lower-cost rental, and found one. It’s a three-bedroom apartment, just about a mile from where we lived before, and within the same school district. Everyone goes to their same schools in the fall. And my two (TWO!) middle-schoolers will get to ride the bus now, because we moved further away from the middle school (this is good, because before they had to walk over a mile).

But we’ve moved from a decent-sized triplex unit (about 1700 square feet) to a smaller, second-floor apartment (about 1100 square feet). We sold or gave away quite a lot, including some furniture, a piano and…my Xtracycle. But we’re still struggling to make everything fit.

And it’s just hard on everyone to leave our home. We’d been there for eight years. We moved in just before our youngest was born, so she had never lived anywhere else until now. She cries about having left. She’s not the only one.

But, here we are. And it IS a good apartment, and the complex seems well-managed. There is a pool. We are all together. We have enough money set aside for next month’s rent. The girls are still going to their camps, thanks to cookie sales and scholarships.

And we still took our family road trip that we had planned for June. We had reserved a rental car on Priceline back in April, which is GREAT for getting a lower price, but also means you can’t cancel and get any kind of refund. So we decided to go ahead with the trip (which was important to us because we were visiting family, as well), but canceled a few things we had planned to do. And we’d already planned to camp and stay with family everywhere, so we didn’t have hotel expenses.

But still, change is hard! And I’m seeing a pattern here…I keep saying BUT and AND. Obviously I am conflicted. There are good things happening, and there are disappointing things happening.

For instance, I didn’t get the higher-paying job that I was hoping for. I’m disappointed, BUT I am going back to a decent job at a good school.

I’m sad about not having the Xtracycle any more, BUT, I am glad that I was able to get money for it, which is helping us get through the summer. AND I still have a bike to ride; a Schwinn Avenue that came from a family friend. It has no carrying capacity as yet (I need to get a rack and/or panniers), BUT it is lighter and faster and can be carried up and down stairs.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.  ~Victor Frankl

Where do we go from here? I’m still feeling some uncertainty. We are working on income for the rest of the summer, but I’m wondering about my long-term career options as well. Every time I’ve applied for a different job within my school district, I’ve been told that my application was good, that I interviewed well, but that someone else had more experience. I’ve been there for eight years, two as a special ed assistant, and six as the computer lab specialist. I’m most interested in either library or technology jobs. I’m not sure how I can get more experience, unless I try for a lower-paying library assistant job, which is not really a feasible option right now.

So I’m pondering options. Should I take some technology-related classes to increase my skills? Get a teaching credential? Get some volunteer experience? Look for jobs elsewhere? Be happy where I am?

I don’t know. I sort of have time to think about it. I don’t go back to my regular job until the end of August, and I can’t really afford to take classes as yet. So I can work on getting this apartment unpacked and organized and take time to ponder things.