It's Been 9 Months...

My life has changed, dramatically, over the last 9 months.

I lost myself. I divorced. I moved. I was lonely. I made major mistakes. I was depressed. I gained weight and was unhealthy. I lost interest in hobbies I once had. I hit rock bottom.

I was picked up my my friends and family. I am loved. I am supported. I am strong. I am happy. I am reclaiming my health and my life. I am even more independent than I ever have been. I found myself.

Life has been rough for a few years now, but I've made it through and I'm proud of all of my accomplishments - personally and professionally. I feel like I'm on my way back up. I felt like I was in a very dark place for a long time over the last 9 months. I was miserable and lonely. I felt like I had nothing.

My divorce wasn't messy. It was mutual. It was a soggy marriage for quite some time. Realistically it was a marriage that never should have happened in the first place. We were stuck in the motions of what comes next in a relationship. We were young and misinformed. High school, college, move in together, 2-year engagement, graduate college, marriage...rut. I know, everyone has ruts. But this was one we weren't ever going to get out of. It's the same one we had always been in. We've talked since the divorce and both agree on these things, and we're okay with it. We understand that we should have found ourselves separately before completely depending on each other and holding resentment for what the other "wouldn't allow" us to experience. There was no fixing that. We're great friends, but nothing more beyond that.

The divorce was hard because I was with my ex-husband 24/7 for 9 years of my life. I'm 26 - which means I was 16 when we started dating. {Yes, I can do math - I was 25 when we divorced.} I never lived alone. I never really had a day without someone there for me the way he was. I didn't know how to completely be alone and be happy with myself.

The best advice I received from a few of my coworkers was you have to love yourself and be content with being alone before you can even think about starting up a relationship with someone new. I ignored this and started dating right away because I believed I was fine. Free. Happy. I had known that things wouldn't be fixed between my ex and I for awhile now, so I thought I was ready to just "get out there" and start casually dating. I was wrong.

I jumped into a relationship with someone that was nice to me, but who I didn't truly feel the same about. He was willing to be there for me, whenever I needed him. He was actually too accommodating for me. Within two weeks of our first date he was calling me his wife {as a joke}, telling me he loved me, talking about plans for us to move away to a different state together to "start our own life together". It completely freaked me out and I knew that it wasn't what I wanted. I told him things were moving too fast for me and I wanted to slow down, considering that I had just gotten divorced months earlier. It wasn't something that was okay with him, and he changed in the way that he treated me. Eventually I realized that I just had to break things off completely because it wasn't worth staying in a relationship, even for another day, with someone that I wasn't absolutely invested in. It was a waste of both of our time.

I took a few months off completely from dating. Not even a date just to get out of the house. I was in a dark place. I just felt like my future was dull because I'm 26, divorced, unhealthy, and now heavily in debt, living paycheck to paycheck. I thought about giving up my life here in Utah and moving back to Pennsylvania because I felt alone. I thought "things" would help fill my void I was feeling from not having someone to take care of in my life anymore. Little did I know, I needed to be taken care of more than anything - and possessions weren't going to fix me. It's tacky, because you hear that all of the time, but when you're sinking, you seem to lose sight of everything that you once held in your "common sense" box as a "duh" piece of advice.

I leaned on those in my life who were there to support me. They reminded me of the things I do have that I should be grateful for. They reminded me of my great qualities. They reminded me that I do deserve someone wonderful in my life who I am completely head over heels for - and who feels the same about me in return - and that eventually I will find that. They reminded me that I am strong.

I focused on myself. I started to get back into my hobbies that I used to love. I found new hobbies. I started to exercise three times a week and eat better with the support of my friend, Kelli-Ann. I have built relationships up with people who I'm acquainted with, but didn't know well. I'm a better communicator, a better teacher, a better person all around. I feel alive again.

I share my story because it's healing for me. :) When soul searching, I looked for the same motivational stories online to inspire me to keep my head up. Maybe this will help someone else who is going through something similar.

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Tech Tuesday: Windows Apps for Finance Management #WindowsChampions

Are finances on top of your mind this month? With taxes due April 15th, there’s no better time to catch the budget bug!

Whether you’re interested in maximizing your refund or streamlining your finances for the year ahead, apps from Windows and Windows Phone have your back.

1.       Check Your Status

Everyone has the same question as they’re filing their taxes – what’s my refund going to be?! Apps on Windows and Windows Phone remove the guesswork. Try TaxCaster on Windows Phone, utilizing the same calculator found in TurboTax, to quickly enter some basic information and watch your refund amount add up. Once you’ve filed, MyTaxRefund on Windows will allow you to quickly check the status of your return and give you an immediate estimate of when you can expect your refund.

2.       Make the Most of Your Refund

Sure, you’ve probably already made plans for how you want to spend some of your refund once you get it. What about the rest? Invest and maximize your refund with Bing Finance on Windows Phone and Windows, which helps you stay on top of fast-changing market conditions so you can make the most informed financial decisions. Keep an eye on all of your investments with SigFig, and sync all of your accounts in one place to track all of your stocks, funds, 401ks and IRAs in real time, available on Windows and Windows Phone.

3.       Budget Tips

Get in the mood to save more money for next tax season. On both Windows and Windows Phone, Mint helps you understand where you’re spending your money with helpful charts and graphs that make saving easy. Use Billminder on your Windows Phone or laptop to keep an eye on all of your monthly bills so you never miss a payment (and know how much you have left to spend!). Save for the next step of your life with MoBu Financial Management on Windows Phone and Windows. MoBu allows you to view your current financial assets as well as the opportunity to simulate your future savings with how much you can save in 5, 10, or 20 years!

Disclosure: I am a Windows Champions blogger and I received loan of a laptop and tablet, and may receive other equipment from Microsoft to assist me in evaluating Microsoft products and services for my blogging activity.

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Get It Together: Snap Photos of This Information...

Get It Together is a series of small tasks you can do to help get your home and life back in order. Each task is meant to only take 15 minutes or less to complete. Get ready, get set, get it together!

Snap Photos of This Information...
  • There are some things in my life that I just have a hard time remembering. For those things that I don't remember but may need to know while I'm not at home or at work, I snap photos with my phone so I have the info at my fingertips at all times.
  • I use the Google Keep app on my phone to organize the information.
  • Ink Cartridges: I have two printers - one in my classroom and one at home. They are both different brands and therefore take different cartridges.
  • Clothing Sizes: Now I don't have photos of this one, but I do have a note in my app for each of my family members with their clothing sizes. It's not much of a surprise when you call every time you are going to buy something for them to ask for their size.
  • Recipes: I take a picture of a recipe I'm going to make before I go grocery shopping. That way I don't have to take the time to write down all of the ingredients and I make sure that I get the right amount of everything I need.
  • Travel Info: Confirmation numbers, flight info, etc. - all easily accessible without having to search through my emails.
  • Current Prescriptions: When I visit the doctor and they ask about current prescriptions, of course I know what I take, but I cannot for the life of me pronounce them or remember the dosage.
  • Access Codes: Okay, so you might be thinking that this isn't smart. But I have a few in my phone and they're not labeled. I just know which is which, but I don't use them frequently enough to have them memorized.
  • Things I Want to Price Check Online: I don't like spending full price on things that could potentially be cheaper somewhere online like Amazon. I take pictures of these things and then look into them when I get home to see if I can get a better deal.

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Get It Together: Organize Electronics Cords

Get It Together is a series of small tasks you can do to help get your home and life back in order. Each task is meant to only take 15 minutes or less to complete. Get ready, get set, get it together!

Organize Electronics Cords
  • These days everything takes a cord of some sort - whether to charge, download, or power. Having these cords organized and easily accessible will save you time and frustration later.
  • There are lots of ways organize and label your cords. I've compiled some ways from Pinterest. PLEASE visit the websites by clicking through the links. Please do not pin any of these from this post because they are not my photos/work.

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Get It Together: Monitor Your Monthly Service Subscriptions

Get It Together is a series of small tasks you can do to help get your home and life back in order. Each task is meant to only take 15 minutes or less to complete. Get ready, get set, get it together!

Monitor Your Monthly Service Subscriptions
  • These days many people subscribe to services that charge monthly. They could be entertainment services, business services, or some sort of club.
  • Review your credit card and bank statements from the last two months to see what you're currently paying for monthly.
  • Sometimes we subscribe to something and stop using the service, forgetting that we're still "conveniently" being charged on a monthly basis.
  • Cancel subscriptions that you no longer use.
  • Decide if it's worth keeping subscriptions to things that you maybe really don't have a use for or that didn't turn out to be as great as it sounded.
Bonus: Create a calendar reminder about these monthly charges so that you don't forget that they're being auto charged to your account.

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