In October of 2010, during the week I entered my fiftieth year of living, I lost the job I’d held for 20 years. Though it was a job I thought I loved, it turned out that I was actually doing it just to be doing it. Because we all need a job to pay the bills, right? Well, I started to think about that premise (I didn’t have a whole lot occupying me at the time.) I started to think about what I would do if bills weren’t a factor.
Then, my husband lost his job (unemployment spreads like a virus, folks,) and we concluded that nothing prevented us from eliminating as much debt as possible; in fact, we actually needed to in order to avoid negative repercussions like foreclosure or bankruptcy. Starting with our mortgage, then a car loan, and mowing through the various other little monthly bills that add up over time – Netflix, gym membership, magazine subscriptions, etc – we eliminated everything. We gave away our substantial library of books. We had a “house cooling” party, in which we invited one and all to come shop our furniture, kitchen gadgets, linens, and appliances. When it was all gone, we packed up our Jeep with our camping equipment and our dog and set off to see the country (all detailed in my husband’s blog at www.mrshambles.com)
Now, he is returning to Stanford complete his degree in the fall and I am off to the Peace Corps. These were the dreams abandoned when we detoured into adulthood in our twenties and began amassing bills that required jobs to pay. Now, 50 is the new 18. We are debtless, possessionless, passionate, and wide awake. We can’t wait to see what happens next!