**I found this post in my drafts and felt it was worth still posting. I wrote it in March of 2020.**
This Friday will mark six months since I became debt-free.
I thought I would feel an instant change in my life, and I did to an extent.
I felt lighter and had the most satisfying exhale of my life.
The constant ticker that ran in the back of my head that was constantly calculating my debt payoff date, re-forecasting projections, and counting down finally went silent.
My shoulders relaxed, I sat down, and I took a breather from the two years of intense focus on paying off my $40,611 in consumer debt. I was officially relieved to stop thinking about and talking about money. I needed a break.
Since then I have replaced some clothing items and added some new things to my wardrobe. (I literally bought about ten clothing items over the course of two years and it was SO nice to finally replace some things!) I have also done some maintenance to my car, including a new set of tires. (Total price tag of all car maintenance and repairs = $3,000).
Paying cash for all my car repairs felt amazing. That was the first thing since last September that truly made me feel the impact of two years of hustling to pay off debt. The person at the dealership came out to describe what was wrong, and how much it cost. Without batting an eye I said ‘sure, let’s just take care of it today.’ That visit was $2,000, and it was no big deal.
In the past, the last time I had a price tag like that for potential repairs I traded in my car and bought a new one!! My how times have changed.
That car dealership interaction helped me to truly feel that what once would have been an emergency, was now a minor inconvenience.
And it felt WEIRD, almost like I’m living someone else’s life. For decades I was financially irresponsible and stressed about money. I still have a hard time reconciling that this is my new normal.
Another milestone is coming up this Friday. With Friday’s paycheck, I will officially have the equivalent of five paychecks in my savings. 5 PAYCHECKS. There has never been a time in my life that I wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck. And again, it’s weird. I wish I had a better word for it, but I don’t. It’s weird.
I always identified myself as a person that is horrible with money. I viewed myself as impulsive, and a financial mess. Even during my debt payoff journey I still saw myself this way. Every day I would look at my debt number and be reminded that I was paying off some capital S Stupid things.
This has been a lesson in realizing that how we see ourselves doesn’t necessarily change overnight.