In mid-2012 I sold off my life in the states, pennies to the dollar, and moved to London. I landed with 5 pieces of luggage holding everything I still owned. It was a liberating feeling, one I hadn’t felt since I was in my twenties and everything thing I owned fit into a Ford Probe.
I loved living in London. While small, the apartments came furnished and provided enough space to live comfortably. I didn’t need to buy a thing except clothing and small bits and bobs. I didn’t own a car because there was ample public transportation and all the walking allowed me to lose weight that dieting for years in the states didn’t do. The cash I saved on all this allowed me more money to travel and enjoy myself.
Then for personal reasons, that move turned to shit. This soured the rest of my experiences in London. Apartments became small; freedom of possessions became deprivation; not owning a car turned to a lack of freedom. I moved back to Texas 15 months later.
I was all set on my return with a job, an apartment, and a car-loan lined-up before I even packed my last bag: a car that was too new and an apartment that was too big that needed to be furnished. It was a conscious decision I made at the time to “reward” myself that with what I felt “deprived of”. I wanted space and freedom and comfort. I got all of that…
…and debt. Before I left the states I had zero debt, a household of furniture, a car I owned outright and $12,000 cash in the bank. On my return I had $3,000 in the bank and nearly $30,000 of debt, a huge reversal that I have spent a lot of time trying to ignore.
Recently there has been a slowdown at my work and I have been cut to half time hours. This is making it very hard to pay off the existing debt let alone pay for the way I become accustomed to living – which is above my means. I have made the necessary cuts to my spending but the sword of the monthly payments is still hanging over my head.
I can’t ignore it anymore. I have become indentured to the stuff I own. My decrease in pay is making these payments a HUGE percentage of my salary. I am now in a debt position I hope to never be in again. My job is now is more important to supporting my debt that to supporting me. All because I needed stuff and needed it NOW!
Like a lot of failed businesses I expanded too quickly. If I had moved over to the minimum stuff I required I would be out of debt (again) by now. I’d have been able to start SLOWLY increasing my stuff at a sustainable rate and with stuff I actually needed instead of a bunch “why” when I look around my apartment.
I’m thinking of downsizing and selling off the stuff I don’t need. But I’m loath to sell things for pennies on the dollar again. Will the freedom from the stuff be worth it?