“We’ll finally know what it is to not struggle.”

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Josh told me once that he knew I was the one for him because I was the first girl whose eyes didn’t light up with dollar signs when he said he was in school for air traffic control. I had no idea the amount of money that they make. Once I found out, I couldn’t really fathom it anyway because I didn’t know anyone who made that kind of money (I’d later find out that I actually did know people with 6-figure salaries, but they just didn’t flaunt it like people so often do).

Once we were in this thing and I realized that I was going to marry this man, I allowed myself to think about the money. I dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom while he was off working for us. I feel silly typing that now as my life is so drastically different from what I had pictured when I was 22…
I remember thinking, “Wow! We will finally know what it is to not struggle!” [A little background: I grew up with a single mom with 3 kids. We were not crazy impoverished or anything – there was always food on the table- but things were definitely tight].  I remember feeling such an overall sense of relief at this possibility.

Josh got hired at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport in late 2009, early 2010.  We were so pumped. I got certified to teach in Kentucky and we were apartment shopping – this gorgeous life that I pictured for us was coming to fruition.

And then.

It all came crashing down.

On Dec 24th of 2010, we got a letter. I will never ever forget that day. Christmas Eve. And Josh’s birthday.
It said that because of his history of migraines, he will never be able to work as an air traffic controller. Liiiike. Ever. “Sorry, not sorry that we didn’t tell you this before you spent years and tens of thousands of dollars in school.”

At this point in time all of our dreams came to a screeching halt and I felt pretty lost. Josh was obviously dealing with a lot and I was so sad for him, but I also had separate thoughts.

Wait. I will never have money? We will forever only be making end’s meet? (In hindsight this is such a funny thought process because why was it only one or the other? But we were devastated and I couldn’t imagine what life would look like now).

It’s 8 years later and I can say that that whole situation turned out pretty great. I’m sitting in my condo in Florida writing this before I head off to the beach in an hour. (In MARCH… couldn’t do that in Kentucky!).

I think that this terrible experience really shaped a lot of our life and thoughts on money/work/everything. And for that, I’m so thankful.

 

-jess

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