The Best Idea Ever

This time last year I was newly unemployed, sitting at home by the fire looking for jobs on craigslist. I was nervous about how we were going to pay our mortgage and was going to extremes to minimize our expenses. It was, for lack of a better word, ridiculous how far I went to count every penny. I was obsessed with making sure I didn’t become a financial burden now that I wasn’t contributing monetarily.

Not only did I avoid buying anything, I went to great lengths to make sure I didn’t cost anything. I stayed home and didn’t drive anywhere so as not to use gas, I didn’t cook anything for breakfast or lunch, and only ate sparingly the few groceries we already had in the house. I would go all day without turning on the heat and instead would wrap myself in blankets and run in place to keep warm. I spent my days overly aware of my financial footprint and constantly looked for ways to earn my keep. I cleaned and did some inexpensive home improvements. I cleaned some more and worked on building my portfolio and resume. I cleaned and did yard work. Some may see this as extreme, I saw it as a challenge.

Sure my husband thought I was crazy. He would come home to find me bundled in sweaters, blankets and pillows reading a book and using as little energy as possible. He would ask me if I’d eaten anything that day and I would simply answer ‘not really. I wasn’t hungry.’ He would shake his head and I would suggest we enjoy left-over chilli for dinner and perhaps add some rice to make it go further. (All the while, thinking I can eat some of the left over rice from tonight with a little bit of milk for lunch tomorrow). Yes, maybe I had gone nuts. But when the bills came, my husband finally saw the method to my madness.

Our house looked great, it was clean and I had painted and organized. I got a lot done and at little expense. But still I found myself in exactly the same place I’d started. Unemployed and feeling guilty. Obviously I had bigger issues that needed to be addressed.

I was battling with this idea that I had to constantly be doing something productive and bringing in a paycheck. For some reason, although I’d been happily married for three years by that time, I still hadn’t allowed myself to be taken care of. I’d been subconsciously taking care of and supporting myself. Suddenly, I wasn’t able to contribute a paycheck and I felt worthless. I tried to make up for it in other ways, but still came out feeling guilty and useless. It’s a hard lesson to learn, and in truth I’m still learning it, but now I understand the real meaning of teamwork sometimes involves one player carrying another for part of the course.

Sure I found little ways to contribute while I was still looking for a job, but in the meantime I had to humble myself enough to allow my wonderful husband to carry my weight until I found the perfect place to work. And I learned that one can contribute more than a paycheck to a relationship. Sometimes the real gift is letting someone know how much you need them and letting them take care of you.

Now, a year later, here I am four months into an awesome job, working with awesome people and daydreaming about what my next post will be on my new blog I have so much to be thankful for. And I have to say, this month I’m four years into it, I still think getting married was the best idea ever.


  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Leave a Reply