There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I recently found out that I will be able to decrease my work hours to 32 hours per week. This is really good news and could not have occurred at a better time because I was beginning to realize that I may have been experiencing burnout. I like my field of work but full time was beginning to work against me.
I purchased my townhouse in August of 2015, nine months ago. It has a small yard that is just large enough for me to manage. The landscaping is handled by an outside company so I do not have to spend my precious time with its upkeep.
I believe that my decreased work hours will enable me to strike out on some projects that I want to start at the townhouse. I am looking forward to this because this is the first time that I have owned a property. For many years I scraped and saved with the goal of saving for a house to purchase in full or by placing a large down payment and taking out a loan. I knew the latter would be challenging since I never owned a credit card and did not have a credit score. I applied for a few credit cards to establish credit but was always turned down.
When I landed my new job after graduating from college for the second time in 2002 I was 28 years old and lived in a 350 square foot apartment and slept on an air mattress. I did not purchase a washer and dryer until I was 36. I did not have any furniture. I just worked and saved, worked and saved, and in my free time went outdoors. The area in which I lived was a beautiful area, full a rolling green hills, fresh air, lots of space, and hillier areas for hiking and biking. I purchased my first laptop and digital camera during this time. Android phones were not yet on the market. Everyday was a struggle but I felt great. I was in my 30’s, I felt healthy and had lots of energy and vitality. I could also eat whatever I wanted and did not have to be as careful as I am now, in my forties, with every little thing I do. If I had a bad day I could sleep it off and the next day feel 100% again. Because I wanted to remember this phase of my life I took numerous pictures of the local and long distance trips I took to the mountains and beaches of North Carolina. They were my visual memories and I placed a high value on them.
I was not fervently investing during this time period but had been a saver for most of my life. Five and half years after getting my new job I moved to another city after acquiring another job in the same field. I was leaving a small college town that I really enjoyed. It was full of studious college students and nice, friendly locals. Looking back I think that residing in this upbeat and dynamic area sheltered me from the problems associated with larger cities.
I moved to another city, a small town that was just outside a larger city. The apartment from which I moved, in the college town, was 350 sq. feet and $350.00 per month rent. The walls were thin but it was clean and I did not have any trouble while living there. I moved in January 2008. The new apartment’s rent payment was the cheapest I could find, $500.00 per month.
For some reason I did not realize that the new apartment was dirty and grimy until settling in. I really did not like the new apartment but felt stuck. Spots could be seen on the carpet and there was unpleasant smell that I have noticed in various apartment complexes.. It was a small town so I assumed it would be like the small college town I left. This could not be farther from the truth. I felt uneasy at this place. People seemed to wander the streets at midday with no direction, they could not have been working because they were wearing sweatpants. Why weren’t they working? It quickly dawned on me that this was not like the town from which I moved. I believe that I experienced culture shock. And yet I was paying more money to live in a shabbier place. In order to find a rent payment comparable to my previous rent payment I would have had to qualify for subsidized housing. But I was determined to save as much money as I could so I decided to stay where I was because a nicer place would have cost $800 to $1000. At that point in time I had a mattress set so I did not have to sleep on an air mattress but I had little to no furniture, just two bar stools and boxes full of items, and I was 34 years old. I think my net worth might have been $90,000?
Looking back I can recall how difficult the situation was. I returned to school in 2001 in order to obtain a higher paying job. So the furniture that I owned up to that point had to be stored away and eventually given away after I returned to college. It was pointless for me to try to set up house with insufficient financial earnings. My return to college took place in my late twenties; I still had the vital energy and stamina of one’s twenties to rely upon and it helped to power me through.
So by the time I was 34 I was still trying to set up house but it still eluded me. The dreadful apartment smell affected my clothes so that I had to be careful how I stored them. I had to drag them to the laundromat weekly.
One night I returned home and noticed that a hallway closet door was open. I was alarmed because I never used the closet, most of my items were stored in boxes… a chill ran down my spine and I new something was wrong buy quickly made myself forgot about it.
After settling in for the night I reached for my camera to view pictures from a recent trip to the beach. “Oh where is my camera,” I wondered. I kept looking, and looking, and then the chill returned and a very loud and clear voice stated, “You know your camera was stolen, you know that it happened, it was stolen when they broke in!” I brushed off the voice because there was no way that someone broke into my apartment. Why would someone ever want to break into my apartment? I had nothing! No one ever bothered me.
Scanning my bedroom, I saw my laptop. I thought, “If they broke in, they would have stolen my laptop, but the laptop is here, so no one broke in!” But as I searched, with my heart racing and mind screaming, under my bed, in the kitchen, on the countertops, and in the bathroom, and was still unable to locate my camera, the clear voice rang out, directly at me, announcing, “You know they took it, it is gone! They took it, your camera is gone!” “They took it!” “Your camera is gone forever!” “The pictures you cherish are gone!” “Can you believe they did it?” “Aren’t you mad?” I was furious but contained myself because I was afraid I would lose control which would be futile. It continued: “This is the reason why your closet door was open, they were in here just before you returned home, they were looking for things to steal!” “You just missed them, it is true!” This was a direct voice that I had heard deep in my gut and was impossible to ignore.
Somehow I managed to get to sleep that night. As the days wore on I never recovered my camera but managed to talk myself out of the belief that someone burglarized my apartment. I could not grasp this possibility and decided to ignore it, unable to accept the fact that someone could have broke in. Besides, my laptop was not stolen. I came to the conclusion that I accidentally threw the camera away.
One night, several weeks after my camera went missing, I woke up from a startling dream. I was in my apartment and heard people moving towards me. I knew they were dangerous. The group was in single file and they had a leader. When the group reached me the leader of the group grabbed me and then reached down and took out a very long and shiny knife, I could see the knife and knew what was coming, he then stuck it right into my side. I could feel the emotional effects of this event, I was really hurt, something was taken from me, I was pierced. I woke up immediately and still had the leader’s general appearance fresh in my mind and remember it to this day.
The Trouble that Others Cause
I woke up one day early before work. I had to do laundry. I still did not own a washer and dryer so I had to make a trip to the laundromat. As I left my apartment I noticed several of my neighbors outside. It was Friday and they seemed to be looking forward to the weekend, they were being loud.
I finished my laundry early so I was able to go jogging before getting ready for work. I took my laundry home and got ready to go to the park. I would try to jog before work as much as possible. It was a nice day in September. I jogged for about thirty minutes and returned home to get ready for work. My neighbors were gone and it was very silent when I returned from the park. As soon as I stepped into my apartment I noticed that my kitchen’s ceiling light was turned on. At that moment I knew something was wrong because I never turn the kitchen light on, it is a fluorescent light and I do not like the light it produces. Some of my kitchen cabinets were open as well. I had a very bad feeling. I ran to my bedroom and saw that my laptop was gone. My heart was racing and it was undoubtedly true this time, someone had just broke into my apartment, it occurred while I was at the park. I was certain this time, they took everything, I had a jar of coins on my kitchen counter, they were gone, and my flute was gone. They took almost everything I had, it was not much, but it was all gone.
I called the police. The officer seemed to think they climbed up a tree and got through my patio window. He also suspected my neighbors, the loud ones, because he “knew” them. I was so angry but most of all pierced with grief because my computer laden with pictures from the past five years that I treasured were gone. They just took them. I was so angry I felt sick. I ran outside but it was eerily quiet, everyone was gone. They broke into my apartment that day after seeing me leave for the park and took my most valued possession.
Here I was slaving at work, day after day, minding my own business. I had goals and stuck to them, not deterred, looking straight ahead, focused upon the goal and little else. I was determined to purchase a house. But I realized there are other forces at work in the world. These people do not work but they are predators who sit, at home, watching. They watch their neighbors especially, since they are nearby and easily accessible. They saw me leave everyday and return and I am certain they learned my patterns and decided to steal everything I owned. Looking back I remember times, when I returned from work, where I would see my neighbor open her door when I reached the stairs to go to my apartment. She would open her door, look at me, and then slam her door shut. I think she was watching me. I know she was and I think I must have somehow sensed it. I also recall the dream that I had of being stabbed, I felt, after being burglarized the second time, that I had been stabbed, I was pierced with pain and grief from the loss. After it all happened I realized that the leader of the group resembled my neighbor’s boyfriend who I saw outside being very loud on that Friday. I am certain that he climbed up my side tree and got through my patio door as the officer suggested, using a backpack to collect items. The coincidences kept adding up, one day I passed by me neighbors apartment and saw a full backpack on her patio…
I believe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. These “neighbors” moved in shortly after I moved in. If they were not there I think I would have been left alone. After all of this happened I began to piece together the things that happened to me after I moved into that apartment. I have no explanation for it other than that something was trying to tell me something. In my case it seems to try to tell me through vivid dreams that leave deep impressions.
One day, soon after I moved in, I awoke from a dream. In the dream I woke up but was actually still dreaming. I woke up and walked to my kitchen and living area, in this area was also the patio door. Looking at the patio door I saw someone with a beard looking at me through the patio door. He did not break in but was standing on my patio with the left side of his face looking at me through the glass. He had a dark beard and I remember the way his face appeared through the glass, with the left eye peering at me. I woke up from this dream rather startled and walked to my door. My dream was very vivid, appearing just as it did in waking life. I eventually calmed down from that dream, but was surprisingly shook up with my heart racing. This occurred before the burglars moved in.
So I was piecing together these odd occurrences that happened to me. The last episode that I reflected upon occurred at the park where I often jogged. This was not a dream but happened in real life. I went jogging one day before work, shortly before they broke in. After jogging I sat down to stretch and heard someone pull up in a truck and park behind my car, I was seated in the grass next to my car. It was a spacious park so the driver had numerous areas in which to park, it was early in the day and was not crowded and I wondered why he parked next to me. I am not a paranoid person, seeing trouble lurking in every corner, but even I was annoyed that someone would park that close to me without even leaving his car, he just sat inside. I was trying to stretch but was a little freaked out by this apparent lurker. So after about twenty minutes I decided to leave. I got in my car and left. As I left, the driver of the truck started his car too! I was very aggravated by that he decided to leave when I left. The park’s road had a loop and I drove clockwise around the loop. The driver of the truck drove opposite of me and as I neared the park’s exit the driver of the truck met up with me and got in front of me. This was very strange. But as I drove behind the truck, my eyes noted the driver’s side mirror, I could see the driver’s reflection in the mirror, I could see the left side of his face, he had a black beard and dark hair and I could see his left eye…
Not to sound like I am sensationalizing my experience in that town, but I believe I was being watched, and I also believe there was some sort of criminal activity going on there. Relatives of mine who visited the area even said they thought the small town was strange. I believe that my neighbors had been watching me and I believe they were working with other like minded individuals in the area. I also believe I was being watched in the park that day and that the dream I had where the man was standing on my patio was a forewarning of what was to come. As the truck drove in front of me out of the park that day, he pulled into an apartment complex area that I looked into moving to but decided against it because of the bad vibe I picked up from it. I spoke to the manager of the complex and experienced a sinking feeling after speaking with him. I knew it was a bad area, the vibe I got from this experience made me wonder if I would have cameras planted in my apartment. It was very strange. I think there were very shady things going on there, everything came full circle.
Two months after they broke in I moved out of there, strangely enough the burglars moved out about a month before I did! I found a place near one of my friends with comparable rent. The dreams ceased. The odd thing about the 1.75 years that I spent at that apartment was the noticeable succession of dreams I dreamt with so many connections to other dreams and real life experiences. I still experience very vivid dreams today but have never experienced them with a woven purpose like I did during 2008-2009. Nowadays I am more aware of my surroundings and try to keep valuables limited since I know that they can be quickly stolen. I also really miss my pictures and memories I cherished from a decade ago but have moved on and am happy to have achieved my goal of purchasing a house.