Thursday, April 23, 2015

Turning Points

I believe I've mentioned once or twice before I don't believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason. And at the time they're supposed to happen.

April 2015 has become a turning point for me. As did September 2010 when my husband emailed me his decision wanting a divorce. Thus began a long healing process for me.

Three things occurred this month.

After years of stating I wasn't looking, not wanting a relationship, suddenly I find myself already in one. I think. It's still unclear where we're headed, but we're exploring whatever may lie ahead. And that has caused me to stop, take a breath and wonder when did it happen?

But, the two biggest events that happened this month are somewhat related. Okay, very related.

When my ex left, I kept the house, the furbabies, and my personal debt. I knew I had to keep the house for the sake of the furbabies, but I couldn't manage my debt and keep the house and furbabies. So, I turned to a debt management company who did just that. They took over my debt and managed it. They negotiated with my creditors to come up with a payment plan, and I sent my first payment in November 2010 with the plan to be debt free within five years.

Over the last five years, I witnessed my progress of paying down my debt and eventually watching my various accounts being paid off. With my final payment approaching, I arranged to send the payment a week earlier than scheduled. Why not? I mean, the money was already in my budget and I was getting antsy. I wanted this done. And, what's more, this final payment to this final creditor was now actually less than my regular monthly payment due to the rollover process- as creditors were paid off, their portion of the monthly payment was rolled into another account, thus accelerating the pay off. So, I arranged to send the payment to the management company on a Tuesday, and when I checked my account on Thursday, I saw the payment had posted and had been sent to the creditor.With this last payment to the management company, they were saying I was now debt free, and my dashboard on the website was changed to read "Next Payment Amount: n/a". Yet, we were still waiting to hear from the actual creditor, once the payment posted on my account with them.

On arriving at home that afternoon, I found a check in the mail from an insurance company who claimed I had been paying for a portion of a premium they had canceled a few years before. They discovered this error when auditing their books. The refund check even exceeded the final payment amount I had just sent to the management company! I felt like the Universe was saying, "Congratulations! You've done a great job, the last payment is on me and here's a little extra!"

The second major event to occur, coincidentally deals with financial issues. My school district and union have been negotiating a new contract as we've been without one for over eight years. Things had been escalating, to the point of strike talk. It's all posturing, I know, but that's the reality of labor negotiations. Having taught for thirty-two years, I've been through many negotiations, and only once did it lead to an actual strike.

The week after the final payment posted to the management account, I got an official email saying they considered me to be debt free as, according to their records, I had paid off my accounts, though we were still waiting for that final word from the final creditor, which we then got the next day, and that last credit account was finally marked 'inactive.' On Friday, the very same week, the district and union came to a tentative agreement which includes a salary raise higher than the union's last demand. And  a portion of the increase is retroactive to the beginning of this school year!

I find the timing of the two financial events to be somewhat interesting, coincidental, freaky. I get an official notice that I have paid off all my personal debt and no longer will be making payments to the management company, and the very next day my district and union settle for the first decent raise teachers in my district have seen in over eight years, after having had to endure pay cuts. It seems my finances are really turning around.

Perhaps the Universe is simply rewarding me for the struggles I've been through. And now, I can truly move forward.

I'll simply take it, and not say anything.

Except "Thank you."