They say it’s all in the timing, but it’s a little more difficult to accommodate when you’re not the one choosing it. It’s more complicated when the time for something announces itself and imposes on you whether you’re ready or not. I feel that strongly this week after several days of severe adulthood that left a bit of a nasty rash on my pride and a bad taste in my mouth for responsibility. In fact, I have some responsibilities leftover if anyone is interested in taking some. No? No takers?
I work for a smaller pipeline company in an administrative support role. It’s nothing fancy but our group is very significant when it comes to ensuring we meet certain regulations and assisting with audits. And most importantly, I enjoy my job. It’s the sort of work I prefer, it lets me manage my own projects and timelines, and for the most part my colleagues have learned to leave me alone and let me be the introvert I am, listening to music most of the day while I drink hot tea and reformat margins. After only ten months on the job, I had every intention of staying there for the next few years to see what the position would developed into. Earlier this week, however, the company announced that our office would be moving from downtown Houston to the edge of the outer loop, roughly 20 miles west. Visually, it looks like a simple move, and it is a smart one; I understand their motivation to make the changes they are making. Unfortunatelt, in a city as large as Houston with as much traffic as it has, it is actually a complicated change because what was a straight shot, 30-minute drive downtown for me has now become almost an hour drive with over $200 in tolls a month. If I choose not to take the toll road, I’ll have to take three separate arteries into, through, and then back out of downtown, spending anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day on my commute. Our bank account doesn’t support the first option and my mental health doesn’t agree with the second one. And regardless of encourages route I take, the extra gas, mileage, and time will eventually get old.
While I’m working with the company to see if there is any way they can assist with the cost of driving the toll road, especially since we were given just over a month’s notice, the entire situation made us stop and think about our financial situation. I make decent money but we live on 1 1/3 income. My partner is currently working part time with a company that has plans to pull her into a full-time position once an individual retires, but that means limited hours and pay at the moment. And Houston is an expensive city to live in. Our current complex comes with a lot of amenities that most other ones don’t have, but we primarily pay upper-medium range rent for the area, comfort, and safety features of our building. But it didn’t sink in until recently that we are using half my monthly bring-home pay on rent alone. Given that it’s an apartment, there is no equity, nothing we can get back to see that as any sort of investment, and that has started bothering me more and more since I’ve turned thirty. After living in apartments for eight years, I long for the seclusion of a house, and while I understand how expensive they can be with repairs and insurance and whatnot, I would like to know there will be some gain from writing that check every month. As much as I we hate to say it, we need to reconsider our living situation.
When we moved into our current complex last October, we actually downsized a good bit but we improved convenience and quality as well. But with our possible financial change always at the back of our minds, we’re wondering if it would be better to look at complexes in the area that give us a better deal. In the end, if we do move and downsize, it seems like my interest in minimalism is well timed–never is there as good of a time to declutter and reconsider possessions than when looking for an excuse not to buy more boxes and pack more items!
Have you ever discovered that your decluttering or an aspect of your minimalism journey was perfectly timed? Or have you ever found yourself forced into reconsidering an aspect of your life that led you unknowingly to something better?