Sugarland music has been inspiring, encouraging, and lifting me up for years. I’ve never been to a live show, but I have most of their CDs and I know any time I’m feeling stressed out or having a bad day, putting one in the player and setting it to repeat is the best cure.
When my husband and I were married almost six years ago, money was tight. Tighter than tight. We were making rent payments on a credit card, paying the minimums on our bills, and racked up more debt than I care to admit. Neither of us had family we could turn to for financial help, so it was sink or swim. For years our heads were barely above water. Just Might (Make me Believe) was my life. I look back now and I don’t know how we made it; financially or personally. I listened to that song countless times and just told myself that love had to get us through because we had nothing else! We slowly started to emerge from the sinkhole and I created a to-do list for us: pay off bills; buy a house; go on a cruise; have a baby. Bills are still a work in progress, but I’m happy to say our credit cards all carry a $0 balance, we bought a house almost 3 years ago, we just booked a cruise for this October, and hopefully baby will follow. I once thought this was a “dream” list that would never materialize, and now I’m living my dream.
I took a job and worked my way to the top of the ladder, reporting to the President of the company in just three short years on the job and I had a paycheck to match the position. It’s the reason most of our debt is behind us. I knew I was unhappy, that couldn’t be hidden. The job had some very stressful, horrible moments. Deciding to walk away from a job that on the surface I loved, to walk away from the fat paycheck, was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. While I do regret walking away from the money (if only I’d hung in there we’d have more bills paid off), I knew there had to be something more, had to be more than that, I needed a little less hard time and a little more bliss, I had to take my chances, take a chance that I might find what I was looking for, I just knew there had to be something more. I walked away from that job and took a nearly $25,000 pay cut. A year and a half later it’s come full circle and I’m in a job that I love. I make a little more money than I did when I first walked, but I’m working my way back up and most importantly, I love what I do and I feel like I’m making a difference.
I’ve always been overweight. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t. Working in a stressful job just packed on more extra pounds. It got to the point where the amount I needed to lose was so huge that I didn’t think it was possible… so I would eat more! When my father died of a heart attack at the age of 54, I knew I needed to turn my life around. But, it was such a daunting task. It wasn’t possible! I couldn’t even think about it. Too hard! Last year, I decided I ain’t settlin’ for just getting by, I’ve had enough so-so for the rest of my life, I’m tired of shooting too low so raise the bar high, “Just enough,” ain’t enough this time, I ain’t settlin’ for anything less than everything. Days when I didn’t want to go to the gym, I forced myself to. And if I had to, I’d put Settlin’ on repeat on my iPod and listen to it for an hour straight as I worked out. I’m proud to say I lost 30 pounds last year and have a goal to lose 40 more this year! To me, it’s no longer just about the number on the scale. It’s about being healthy, happy, living a long life, seeing my future children grow up, and never settling for anything less than everything!
I now realize that since the beginning, nearly six years ago, I’ve just been looking for a happy ending. I’m still dreaming big and I probably always will, and still just getting by. But, that’s how it goes in everyday America. I live in a little town, I have a great big life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you Jennifer and Kristian for inspiring me in so many ways, even more than I’ve mentioned here. Please continue making great music, and I promise to keep listening!