Stability & Security

10-Work-Life-Balance-Ideas-for-a-Happy-Home

We are set to close on our house in less than a week. It still seems surreal, like it’s not happening yet. It’s been a summer of ups and downs, learning about the housing market and the process of buying a home. It’ll finally be all over soon. These last few weeks have been ones filled with waiting for the appraisal to process and the loan paperwork to go through. Now we’re finally moving to the last step of closing. Still, many things to prepare for the move and to set up with the new house.

It’s not our dream house but it’ll do for now. It’s a house and it’s ours. That means more than anything. Ever since I can remember, my family has always rented. In the over 20 years that my family has been in the U.S., we have always lived in public housing. My parents were too afraid to take the risk of venturing out to buy a home in the case that something happens, we foreclose, lose the house, lose a place to stay.

I don’t disclose to many people that I live in public housing. I never did and I still don’t. I’ve never admitted to anyone about this but I am glad that my family never lived in townhouses or “the projects” where your building could easily be identified as a public housing unit. Where you would be labeled a child of poverty, less than, because you lived in public housing. While I hate all the paperwork involved with public housing re-certifications, all the prodding into your personal business, and the scrutiny into all the details of your life, I was grateful that I was shielded by the facade that my house was a normal house. I could for a moment, after our annual re-certification period, pretend that I lived a normal life, in a normal house and not a public housing unit.

Our eligibility technician (as they are called) was a stiff, mean lady. I detested having to go in and meet with her for our re-certifications. All members in the household over 18 had to be present at the re-certifications. 5 years. 5 re-certifications. (I was excused from the 4 others I should have been at because I was away at college). How many have my parents had to go to? Too many. Too many more than they should have. 5 was already too many for me. I don’t know how they did it for all those years. That unbearableness of waiting in the office for your appointment. The hum of the lights. The feeling of being less than the staff that worked there. Going into her office, having her be upset because not everyone was present, having to explain to her they were away at school and they sent their verification forms, having her go through all the forms and talk to you like you don’t understand. She’s trying. I give her credit for that but she still hasn’t quite got it yet.

The public housing life is not one that allows you to live with dignity. Every and each aspect of your life is subject to scrutiny. Your privacy is constantly intruded upon. Any little change can disrupt your housing. The constant moves to adjust for increasing or decreasing numbers in your household. The rent changes if your income went up or down even if it was only minimal. I’ve wondered if it would be possible to move out of public housing giving how rent and income are tied. Make a lot of money? Trying to save up and move out of public housing? Don’t worry. Just pay flat rent which often equates to the cost of a mortgage each month. How can one escape this cycle?

20+ years later, we are finally moving out. Through it all many low-paying blue collar jobs, 1 layoff, 1 shift in the primary breadwinner, 4 children transitioning into adulthood, 4 college degrees obtained, 1 entry level professional job, 1 aspiring career pursuit. All of this and we are finally moving out and moving on.

I have put in so much, so much more than needed (but by who’s standards anyways?) but there’s still so much more that is needed. It has been a difficult journey but they are all I have. Who am I if I cannot lift my family up with me? What does that say about me? We have been in public housing for too long. It has become a lifestyle. I don’t want my family to live in public housing for the rest of their lives. If not me, then who? If not now, then who? I can only hope that my younger siblings will be grateful for what they have and give back in return.  It is a worthy sacrifice. To know that my family has a stable place to live, a secure home to call their own; to know that they won’t be upended from their residence when the household size changes; to know that they don’t have to worry about not knowing where their next home will be and have to accept the option they are presented with if they want affordable housing; to know they have 3 days to move all of their belongings out into the new home; is all worth it. My contributions seem minimal compared to what they have to gain.

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“Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.”

(Sonnet 116)
― William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets

 

Life

Move Forward

Life likes to tease you, give you hope, bring you down, throw challenges at you, tempt you, give you happiness, open doors, throw roadblocks in your way. It seems like it relentlessly does these things again and again. We just have to learn to move forward, to leave the past behind, to push on, to start anew. Whether we have the courage to or not, whether it’s easy or hard, whether we are ready or not, we must, we must.

Ramblings on Faith

“Faith is defined as confidence or trust in a being, object, living organism, deity, view, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. Faith may also refer to a hope or belief, a rational or irrational, in a certain outcome. Faith refers to a belief as it is not based on proof. The word faith is sometimes used as a synonym for hope, for trust, or for belief.”

Lately, it has been harder to keep my faith alive – faith in humanity, faith in the greater good, faith in a better future for all, faith in relationships, faith in myself and if I am doing the right thing, if I am on the right path. I find myself wanting more out of life, striving more, doing more, yet I find the world is cruel and my efforts seem to have been in vain.

I find I have always taken a more proactive approach to life. Shaping my own life’s path and future and how it will be. I find myself enraged when I encounter those who are passive about what they want and let opportunities pass them by or don’t put their best into their work.Perhaps this is a sense of empowerment… yet I don’t feel very empowered. Is it others passiveness or is it my own that I am enraged by? I know I am not perfect. I have my own faults, my own fears.

“Let your faith be bigger than your fears.”

I have always counted on things turning out for the better and this has been how I have always lived my life. Not having someone I can count on, someone I can trust and relay my hopes and dreams and my fears to, I have always just had faith that what I thought was best would eventually work out in the end. Now I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I am only doing more harm than good to myself. If by having faith in others and by being soft-hearted, if I only leave myself more vulnerable and more exposed and in the end more prone to disappointment and heartache?

我很快就跟他在一起两年了。两年。。。好像没那么长的时间,也就那么长一段时间。我不知道接下来该怎么做。我发现我自己在问自己,“我们真的合适吗?可不可以在一起一辈子?”。他也那么问他自己。他比我还不知道,还糊涂。他说 可能他不会是最好的跟我在一起的男人。我就想,如果你不是最好的但你喜欢一个人,那你就把你自己变成最好的给她。为什么你要觉得你要退路?你那么觉得就告诉 对方你已经放弃了。我不知道接下来该怎么做才是最好的。就看着办吧。

Updates, A Look Back at 2014, and 2015 Hopes & Aspirations

Hmm… looked through my blog today and it has been a really, really, really long time since I have been on here – at least half a year’s time. Read some old posts I had written and took a little walk down memory lane. When I started this blog, I was in a very emotional, dark, intense time in my life and this was a place for me to pour all those emotions and thoughts out. I am a different person now, in a different place, with a different focus. I will most likely be writing less and less here for a while as I refocus and find my new direction for this space.

This past year has been one of aimless wandering for me you could say… I found myself doing everything and anything I could to learn more, make more, and be more productive. Towards the latter half of 2014, I found myself experiencing some work-life imbalance that I had never encountered before. I am an individual who likes to be busy and have a lot of things going on but do a pretty good job of keeping myself energized and having time for myself. There were days where my energy level and motivation were so low I didn’t want to do anything. There were also a lot of personal things I was thinking about and I think pondering about all those things really made me uncertain about my future and what was next. Then I stopped thinking about it but it was like I was mindlessly going through each moment of each day. I changed my attitude and told myself I needed to get certain things done and to hang in there for the last few weeks that were left in 2014. I just had to reconnect with my optimistic, goal-oriented, carefree self and focus on what I wanted to be and where I wanted to be.

2014 was not an overly exciting year nor was it – thankfully – one filled with various obstacles and challenges. As the perfectionist and overachiever that I am, I guess I had a moment of wondering where I fit in and where I was going, questioning what was I accomplishing. As the last few weeks of December drew near, after an impromptu chat with a good friend, I came to the realization that while I don’t know exactly where I am going, I have come a long way and all the various and – in some ways – random events that have happened these last few years are in their own way laying down a patchwork foundation for the future.

I hope for 2015 to be a year of building and re-enforcing the foundation that 2014 has been. I submitted my application to start a graduate program and hope to start this spring. I will be doing more with my council and building on the work that has already been done in 2014. This will give me more experience with policy and having an impact on community needs. Lastly, I want 2015 to be the year I find my inner child again. In the 25 (soon to be 26 years) of my life, the majority of them have been years where I have had to be responsible, practical, and logical. I hope for this upcoming year to be a year where I have fun, am spontaneous and have many wonderful experiences without thinking too much about responsibility and costs.

Here’s to lessons learned in 2014 and adventures in 2015!