On Friday, The Man found out he did not get accepted into PTA (Physical Therapy Assistant) School. Again. This makes 2 rejections in 6 months. While we know that the reasons are mostly related to some less-than-stellar grades from undergrad, that he earned over 10 years ago, it is still disappointing.
And then today as I was doing dishes (which I never do, because it's The Man's job in our house, but maybe I should start), it occurred to me that for the first time in our married life, 8 years, we are facing career stability, and financial stability, for both of us even without the PTA program.
Hm, maybe I should explain a bit. Two summers ago The Man approached his current employer because he needed to make more money. Now, he wasn't just asking for a raise, his rate of pay is actually quite good, it was a problem with hours (he is a massage therapist and gets paid on commission). He basically told them he would do whatever they needed, wash toilets, clean, anything, if he could get paid an hourly rate during the hours he was not doing massage therapy. His bosses responded in a way that has worked out beautifully for both The Man and the rehab/fitness clinic at which he works. He started to work with the person who does all of the brace fitting and orthodics fitting in the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) part of the clinic with the plan of attending PTA school in the future. Well, he gained so much experience with the DME that he was able to become a certified orthodics fitter and is plenty busy between that and massage therapy.
While attending PTA school would indeed lead to an increase in salary overall, and that is always nice, it is not something we need. It would also mean a crazy, stressful schedule for the next year to end with 6 weeks of no paid-work due to rotations. We were planning to take a student loan to help us through those 6 weeks. As we talked last night, we pointed out these positives and others and agreed that it wasn't God's will and that was OK.
But today was really when it sunk in. Now, lest you think I am a callous uncaring wife, I hate that The Man had to be rejected twice. He works so hard and is such a good person, I would love to call the department chair and really let her have a piece of my mind. Yet, today, a new sense of freedom, of peace settled in, a new sense of normal.
For the first time in our married life, not only are we financially OK, but we are not waiting for something to be finished; we are not trying to figure out what is next. No, I'm not trying to say we've "arrived" or anything like that, and we certainly still have hopes and dreams...The Man has a big one that will be amazing, and of course we are still praying and trying to become parents. Yet, this is a new feeling. Rather than dreading 8 months from now when the financial floor becomes very unsteady, we can plan. We can really start to save and know that there isn't something there that is going to drain that savings.
Now, I realize financial issues are just as big a part of our cross as IF is, so I'm not forgetting all of that. I know we can return to the uncertainty just as quickly as we got here. What I am doing is facing the future in a new way - a way that we have dreamed of for 8 years. With 2 steady paychecks from 2 steady jobs we can truly start to save and work towards owning a home again (we jumped into that way too fast the first time). We can think about vacations, and paying off cars. We can realistically think about what we want life to look like if a child joins us. (We've of course thought about this, but it was always with the understanding that it would vary greatly depending on when the child arrived and where The Man was at in his schooling.)
While I know this can all change quickly, I am going to relish and enjoy this new normal. We are going to take a fresh look at our finances and begin moving forward. When we moved back to Morgantown, in a lot of ways it felt like we were moving backwards - selling our 3 bedroom house to move to a 1 bedroom apartment; a huge career change for me; a leap of faith regarding The Man's career. Yes, moving into our rental house almost 2 years ago felt great. But now, almost 4 years since our move back to Morgantown, it feels like we are moving forward again. Truly moving forward. It is a new normal for us. I haven't felt this much anticipation since we were married.