I'd lived in the same house for 18 years and then after that, I moved house a lot. I can't be bothered working out the number but it's probably over 20 times. I never actually owned a bed before, on my own. Any bed (and the odd couch) I'd slept in was either owned by someone else or was co-owned. I got married in my early twenties (now divorced).
Divorce is a painful thing to go through but on the flip side, I don't need to try please someone else at my own expense. I don't see myself getting married again. I can't even be bothered dating. I am too busy with my own projects. It's actually freeing to have this mindset.
Today, for the first time ever, at the age of 50, I bought a bed. All by myself. My own bed. I'm really adulting now (best I can with my disabilities).
King Single on king's Birthday weekend
Here in New Zealand, for my entire life, until now, the first Monday of June was a public holiday known as Queen's Birthday. So the weekend plus the Monday was called Queen's Birthday weekend. For the first time (in my lifetime anyway), now called King's birthday weekend.
My big savings goal this year was for a bed. I wanted as good quality as I could afford, as I am prone to chronic back issues. I was saving up and waiting for a half price sale. A half priced sale was advertised and I bought my bed. I get it in three weeks.
some things take time
I don't want to rehash the past here but I did end up with nothing after divorce and have had very limited means to build up. I don't actually own much but what I do own, is mine.
I was recently mocked for being middle-aged and living with my parents (I also lived in a hostel for a year). I would love to be fully independent but the circumstances don't currently allow. I was recently accused of not being disabled (or having disabilities) whichever way, I don't really care. Some people are too thick to comprehend that not all disabilities have wheelchairs. Yes, I do have diagnoses but I don't want to keep repeating them as I am trying to move beyond being seen as though that's all I am.
I might write a book about the hostel one day. Non-stop drama cohabiting with those abusing alcohol and drugs. A bit of an 'education' though. I jotted down some notes to possibly revisit one day. I have a few book ideas in the works. Writing books is incredibly challenging for me as I have short-term memory impairments (yet I can have an incredible long-term memory for certain things).
I'm a saver and I saved up on a low income for what I have. Some of my friends with lots of things are inspired by my attitude. I work around 8 hours per week which helps give a bit extra over a benefit I receive because of my disabilities. Overall WAYYYY less than a fulltime minimum wage job. At times, my income was only about a quarter of the income of a fulltime minimum wage job in New Zealand.
With a housing crisis in New Zealand, there aren't many affordable options to live. Safe and affordable accomodation is a necessity.
some firsts in middle age (with disabilities)
I don't want to rehash too much in this blog what my disabilities are but you can check out my archived website Bipolar Courage if you want to know. I simply don't want to be defined by them anymore, even though it's pretty obvious to anyone who talks to me for longer than a few minutes. Even though I am still affected every day of my life.
Some things I did for the first time in middle age, after divorce (after getting nothing), with disabilities:
broken bed to whole
I have a memory of when my ex and I bought a cheap bed (as a guest bed) and my ex insisted on hiring a trailer to take the bed home. Well, the bed flew off the trailer, we could see it sailing in the mirrors and it smacked into a gum tree. The base snapped in half. Dunno if that was a sign of things to come (divorce) but it was an exciting story my son had. My writing is inspired by my experiences and I love symbolism and metaphor.
I have been sleeping on a king single bed for years and it's a good size for me. I don't want to share a bed with anyone ever again.
When there was a sale, I bought my own linen and blankets. Things took time but I gradually bought my own stuff. I'd had a borrowed purple blanket for years. At Easter, I decided to swap out the blanket (and the symbolism that went with it) to a yellow and a red blanket.
It's been two years since I had my eyes tested, so I will be looking at that next. I probably won't get new glasses though. My expenses are pretty limited and I have them set up on automatic payments, as otherwise, I would forget. It's good that I get reminders by emails for some bills etc. I got a reminder about the eye test. I've had my progressives for 2 years. They look nice but I haven't really gotten used to them and default back to my comfy older pair (not progressives) when I get home from work. Had the comfy ones for around 5 years, I think. I also have a 'cheap, nasty and ugly' pair for using on the computer.
The progressives are too hard on my eyes to look at the screen. There were only two frame choices for the ugly ones and the lenses have no coatings, are not thinner etc. So kind of look like the ugly glasses I wore as a teenager, with the reflections and coke-bottle effect (yes, I was a nerd and looked like one too). One year, I couldn't afford the airfare for my son plus glasses (that needed updating). If I do decided to upgrade, I can put some of it on an interest free payment of under $10 per week if I wish. My current old comfy pair are like wearing a comfy pair of trackpants though.
I don't spend much on clothes and I tend to buy one pair of shoes for cool weather and one pair of shoes for warm weather. If that. I don't fit a typical stereotype for women in that I don't care for fashion, own less than half a dozen pair of shoes (including sneakers), don't own high heels, rarely buy makeup. I am proudly low-maintenance. My mother is always shocked if I actually buy some clothes. Most of my clothes come from a discount store or the op shop. I wear them again and again and again. I've actually had one top for nearly 20 years.
My biggest expense after rent is food and that is something I could try manage more but I don't like to have to add up every cent. Living with family means I keep an eye on my elderly parents, which means they can live hopefully their entire lives in their own home. We don't always see eye to eye but we respect our differences. I get my fierce determination and wanting to be independent from both my parents.
I haven't travelled outside the country since I have been back in New Zealand and don't drive far. Petrol is pretty expensive here and I can't drive that far anyway with my disabilities. When I decided to go on a longer trip to visit one of my sisters, I took the bus. It was cheaper and safer for me than to attempt to drive that distance. Plus it was rather scenic. I am unable to cope with driving in big cities like Auckland or Wellington now.
My paints (my treasures) for my interests in art last me a long time. The paints were actually from art grants. But before I had a set of nice paints, I was painting with anything I could find, including old garage paints onto old cardboard. I still have a few blank canvases in the wardrobe. I would buy them when on sale.
freedom to do my own thing
I know some local artists from my interest in art. I was informed about an event running over the 'long weekend' (here in New Zealand, we say 'long weekend' when there is a public holiday linked to a weekend). Today, I decided to go check out some artists. Was a short drive and I went to a place with a Scottish name (hadn't been there in years). Managed to find the artists on the list.
Had a bit of communication issues (mixing up speech today and yesterday) but I just laugh it off. Some of the artists are lucky enough to have their own studios (my studio is my bedroom, which technicially isn't even my bedroom). I recently purchased an inexpensive rechargeable square fill light which I am hoping will provide better light when I paint and also better lighting if I decide to film a few snippets with my phone.
What stood out from my outing today, was two rows of letterboxes either side of an entrance to a private residential area in a semi-rural community. The letterboxes have nothing to do with beds, but I guess could represent my little outing plus having moved house many times. Also a road of possibilities.
Just like my vision for Soar Purpose.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.