The video above is a song that Sabrina Signs wrote about her experience being homeless with us. It was completed when we got back on our feet.
Once upon a time, I was one of those people who always said, “That will never happen to me,” or “My kids will never do that.” Growing up in a stable household with hardworking parents, I was convinced that I could control my life and ensure that nothing ever we nt wrong. I was arrogant and so confident that things would always go my way.
As I got older, I got married and had children of my own, I still held on to the belief that bad things would never happen to me. I continued to make these bold declarations, but I was about to learn a harsh lesson.
My husband lost his job in 2008 and again in 2009. In August of 2009 his arm detached from the socket in what we considered a freak accident. That accident was that his laptop that was on a shoulder strap slid off his shoulder and took his arm with it. At the time we did not know he actually has Ehlers Danlos a connective tissue disease that is genetic. Well when that happened our family began to struggle financially as he was the sole breadwinner. We struggled in ways I still find difficult to express. We had to leave our home and move into an our RV, and I had to figure out how in the heck to get back on track financially. It was a difficult adjustment for the kids, but I still thought I had everything under control.
When, things took a turn for the worse. We were unable to pay our bills. The recession of 2008/2009 was devastating. It effected so many people we knew we were not alone or unique in our struggle. We moved into our RV and left with nowhere to go. We drove within the Silicon Valley limits trying to keep a low profile. We had to stay within a days drive of my husbands doctors and physical therapist. We searched for discrete parking lots and ideally ones who had a business that left their free wifi open 24/7. We never stayed more then 2 nights in any one spot.
For the first time in my life, I found myself homeless and bankrupt. I decided at that time to actually file for bankruptcy. We were on Disability, we also had some severance pay from the layoff that happened while my husband was on long term disability. Having used up savings and all other resources I was forced to rely on the kindness of others for help. This was such a foreign concept for me. Ironically because I wanted to keep my daughter out of depression I let her perform for a gathering at a dance studio for a drive for food cans to help the homeless, but we never mentioned to the people that we were indeed ourselves homeless at that time. That was a surreal moment for me, and my daughter. One upside of that day was that we got to snack on the goodies after the show. Later, when the studio knew that we were also homeless they let her take a dance class and perform with the dance studio. The owner also took my daughter out for a nice hair cut and spent a day being sweet to her. People have no idea how much kind acts help out when you are down in the weeds of being homeless. I always tell myself people won't remember what you do in life, but they will remember how you made them feel. There were people who made us feel better and we won't ever forget them. One person, a hotel clerk also was super kind to us. He gave us a super discounted rate, because while we were homeless my husband also needed a surgery to break up his kidney stones. We needed a clean restful space for about a week for him to recover and all of us enjoyed the shower and having solid ground for a few days. He would also bring us any hotel leftover breakfast items for the kids. Everything helped. Months later we were in another city at a diner celebrating our Christmas Dinner. He saw our RV and us celebrating Christmas for the kids and we had no idea he was there and he paid for our meal. I will never forget him and his kindness to us! He left before we could thank him. I think of him every Christmas and send positive thoughts his way.
Being homeless was a humbling experience that shattered my belief that I was invincible. As I worked to rebuild my life, I began to reflect on my previous mindset. I realized that my arrogance had blinded me to the realities of life. I had been so convinced that bad things could never happen to me that I failed to prepare for the worst. In my head I heard my Mom's word of caution, and my Dad's warnings that recessions and bad times usually occur every 10 years or so. I had never wished I had listened to my parents wise words more than at that time.
Being so darn depressed and angry with myself and my decisions. I decided to change my mindset. I began to work on trying to have a positive mindset with a twist on educating myself on financial planning and budgeting, teaching my children the value of hard work, savings, planning and preparing them for the challenges of life. I became more empathetic and understanding of others who are going through tough times. It was a real transformation for me.
Over time, my hard work paid off. My husband was able to find a new job, we started to rebuild our credit in a specific way. We rented for two years while I worked as hard as I could to get our credit good enough to purchase a home in 2013. We also saved enough money to move into a new home. It was a journey and a process. I strongly believe that because we took certain steps and we remained focused on the goals we were able to turn it all around. Our children thrived and grew into responsible, empathetic adults. I feel like the “Homeless” experience taught us all a lifetime of lessons.
Some of these lessons I will share with you throughout my blog. Things like going bankrupt, rebuilding credit, planning to purchase a home, building a successful business and more. I will also share information about cost cutting, budgeting, and ways to creatively make money so you can reach your financial goals sooner. In my blogs I will also share other passion projects of mine such as cooking, music, gardening and more
Looking back on my journey, I realized that my experience of going homeless and bankrupt was a wake-up call. It forced me to reevaluate my beliefs and change my mindset. I learned that bad things can happen to anyone, no matter how well-prepared or confident you may be. But with hard work and a willingness to learn, it is possible to overcome even the toughest of challenges. If I did it, you can too!
I wrote a detailed guide about how to approach recovering from bankruptcy you can read it here – How to Fix Your Credit Score After Bankruptcy: Tips and Strategies
So now I know, anything can happen, and happen to me. It was a lesson in humility I don't wish onto anyone.