From the Ashes

“I no longer feared the darkness once I knew the phoenix in me would rise from the ashes.”

-William C. Hannan

Things fall apart.  It is almost inevitable that when something begins, it will eventually end.  It may seem to be pessimistic to think in that way when you are just beginning something new. Your budding venture will likely be absolutely fabulous and well worth all of the effort you put in, despite the fact that it may eventually end.  If, instead, you are on the tail-end of your adventure, simply remembering that all things ultimately come to a close is a very pacifying and calming thought.

The worst endings, it would seem, are the abrupt, unexpected endings; the ones you never see coming and that hit you hard like a right-hook.  Even though long and drawn out endings can be excruciatingly painful in their own right, at least, when there is writing on the walls and some foreshadowing of what is about to come, you can prepare yourself, get your feet set, and then wait for impact.  Abrupt endings don’t allow you time to prepare. Because of this lack of preparation, it can seem that you fall even farther down when the unexpected endings occur. If you find yourself already in this unfortunate position, you can read about some tips to start working your way through in this associated post, aimed at helping you start to rebuild.

Women in our society are often told to be reliant on their surroundings instead of on themselves. This can lead to serious problems when their surroundings start to crumble, with seemingly nowhere to turn for help.  There are a few basic things that everyone should be doing, even when things are going well, simply because it is always good to have the basics covered. Having a bank account in your name only with a bit of funds, reliable transportation that you own, necessary documents organized in a way that they are safe and easily accessed,  hands on knowledge of your debts and payments, and a support group not affiliated directly with your relationship are all things you can do to ensure that, no matter what happens next in your life, you will be starting above “ground zero”.

Bank Account:  Whether it is a divorce or separation from a significant other, a death, or needing to disconnect from other loved ones that are causing you harm, money can be a huge barrier.  It is not suggested that you have “hidden funds” necessarily, but there is no reason that a significant other should be offended by you having your own bank account.  In the event of death or separation, these funds are not tied up in the chaos and are accessible for you to maintain your life.  If a loved one does not want you to have this type of security account, it would suggest that there is an underlying flaw in the relationship and should cause a red-flag in your mind.

Transportation:  An inability to leave a situation because of a lack of transportation is a terrible feeling. You don’t need to own your own car if you live in a city where public transportation is reliable and readily available, but, if you live in a more rural area, having a car in your own name would be preferred.  A car registered to you and of which you hold the title is ideal. This will limit anyone’s ability to claim that the vehicle is “their property” and therefore allowing law enforcement to be involved should you wish to leave. 

Organized Documentation:  Having a vehicle in your name is absolutely useless if you don’t know where you put the Title of Ownership.  It is very important to have a single place where all of your important documents are kept.  Your best bet is at a bank in a safe-deposit box, but sometimes this solution is not a practical one.  Alternatively, you could invest in a small, portable “fire safe” as a great way to keep everything together and safe.  Having two small individual safes (instead of one large and cumbersome safe) can be a good reason to keep your items separate from your partners.  Keep your vehicle titles, birth certificates, social security cards, and passports for you and your children, any savings bonds, travelers checks, or emergency cash, and other things you might find necessary, in your safe. (A quick search on Amazon will give you a lot of options, like one of these… SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Box with Key Lock 0.15 Cubic Feet or First Alert 3031F Deluxe Locking Steel Security Box.)

Knowledge of Debts:  It may seem easier to have one person in the household handle all of the bills, but it is also a setup for potential disaster.  If your loved one is handling all of the bills and something should happen to him, you will have no way of knowing how to pick up where he left off.  In a more confrontational situation, you may find that a family member or significant other has run up debt that you are not aware of, but since you let them handle the bills, they have been able to hide the deception until they disappear, leaving you holding the bag.  It is best to always know about all the bills and debts in your household, and working on these things together can add a lot of clarity and bonding to an already strong relationship.  Again, if your partner does not want to share these items with you, it should be a huge red flag that there may be more going on than what you see on the surface.  Find out what they don’t want you to know, and find out quickly.

Support:  Having friends or family that are not directly affiliated with your relationship is beneficial in many ways.  Having these outside connections will add interest to your daily life and, as a bonus, you will have more things to talk about with your partner and friends. This will add to the richness of your conversations and relationship.  In the event that something tragic does occur, you will have friends that you will know to be “in your corner” right from the start.  Not knowing who you can trust can be a real issue at the end of a relationship, and having these reliable friends and family who will not have loyalty issues to contest with will be real life saver.

It is always the hope that what makes you happy today continues to be what makes you happy into your old age.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Instead of putting yourself in a situation where you have no way out of bad circumstances, or no way to handle things on your own if something changes, take the time NOW to make your life a bit more secure.  This way, if something goes wrong, you will be ready to rise from the ashes like a phoenix instead of sitting among the rubble of a crumbled life.