If there was one picture that could describe where I’m at right now, that would for sure be it. That’s me about 95% up, dawdling in the most ungraceful way possible, as I figure out where my next step is to reach the top. While I knew I had the security of a rope – physically in that picture and figuratively in the form of savings and having a steady job – I do find myself a little stuck on accomplishing this whole debt repayment process even though I’m so close. Sure, I’ll reach it, but I do find myself getting a little distracted with wants, which I’ve admitted to feeding into the past couple of weeks (albeit justified in some sense, though I won’t harp on the details. Sorry if that sounds cryptic).
So I thought perhaps a good way to motivate me to get this done with already is to state how I truly got into debt. While I started this blog about $12k or so in the hole, that wasn’t the totality of it, unfortunately. It isn’t very linear, since while some debts were being paid down others were incurring, but these are the primary “big hitters” of my debt over the last 15 years or so:
1) student loans
2) credit card debt (going out to party when I lived in college and LA, shopping profusely, spending recklessly)
3) traveling abroad and domestic when I didn’t have the means
4) medical treatments (which at least saved my life despite the hefty price tag)
5) car payments (Got reamed on the total cost of it as it was my only option, though still have it actually, at 240k miles strong (knock on wood to hit 300k!)).
6) attending weddings (10 in one year, some that I was a part of, some destination), and subsequent baby showers (a couple where I was a godparent)
I do know at some point, the highest it peaked was $30k not including the car payments (since in my then-financially illiterate mind, I didn’t count it for gosh knows why). Cumulatively, I think $50k is a reasonable estimate, not including the interest. Thinking about the interest pretty much guts me, to think of all the wasted money due to it and my stupidity.
So now, that I’m about $4k shy to debt freedom, I feel stuck. I do admit, the “wants” still get at me, tries to make me justify that the debt balance is so small so just go for [insert-want-of-the-moment-here], or try to make it up with another justification. And while there were a few expenses that incurred, for the most part – I just have to swat that away and refocus. Refocus and find that friggin line to get to the top.
I think a part of it is, obviously, the self-satisfaction of finally getting rid of this. And I would be lying if, since I tend to be a people pleaser, that another motivation is because I don’t want to disappoint the readers who have graced me with their time and kind words through this process (seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart!).
But it seems like in some ways, it’ll also symbolically help me let go of some crap and some demons from the past. All the recklessness, foolishness, feeling lost, doing dumb things over and over again. I know I’m not that person anymore mentally/spiritually/physically/emotionally, but I also view it that once this debt is off the books, that it’ll close that chapter(s) in the financial sense. I have a tendency to harp on the mistakes of my past, so once this debt is paid off, it is my hope that I can fully let all that past shit go.
Because what’s next is truly exciting – (hopefully) starting a family with a kickass partner (digression: who is so awesome, since I was super nervous for a presentation and knowing this, the guy shined my shoes the night before as a confidence booster for me. That’s love, man!), being financially literate and responsible, and essentially just having some financial freedom to accomplish beyond what I thought life was going to be. That motivation is exciting, and I just gotta keep that in mind over the next few months (months!) as I find my line to get to the top of this debt repayment mountain.
It took me quite a few years to get it – so much so that it probably wasn’t even a line for me, but I probably circled the rock a couple of times before I figured out which was was up. 😉 But at least I eventually figured it out, and the top is right there for me to accomplish. Motivation and focus – centered. Let’s do this.