While I was treading water in the ocean that is student loan debt, I preferred the path of indifference. The debt soon became a part of my daily life and I had just assumed it would be with me somewhere between a very long time and forever. I had never felt that there was any other way and at times, the thought of tackling my debt would make me anxious or upset, on both an emotional and physical level.
So, when my friend Saraa and I discussed making a plan to get out of debt, I was a little more than hesitant at first. Sure, it was a nice idea but did I really want to sit down and take a look at those insanely high numbers that just seemed to be taunting me? That sounded like one of the more unpleasant ways to spend my evenings. However, I knew what my ultimate goal was and that’s what drove me to do this more than anything. I wanted to be debt free and take control of what I was doing with my money. So, I gathered all my necessary information and she came prepared with construction paper, markers, and even an adult coloring book for those stressful moments. I must admit, she was a thousand times more excited than I was. (She really digs the finance stuff.) But, I’m glad she was because even though it was sucky at some points, it was also fun. She really inspired and pushed me to tackle this sleeping monster in my life. (Thanks by the way. ♥)
After 2 – 3 grueling nights, we had finally formed a concrete plan and it felt great. Well, to be honest, it didn’t feel so great initially. It felt more along the lines of the climb of one of those really high roller coasters, glancing at the view from the top, and then wondering what you were getting yourself into as you plummeted down the descent. Yeah, that sounds about right.
A few days after we had made my budget and plan to get out of debt, I had to make a call to one of my lenders for my student loan. They are my least favorite people to call….ever. It makes me sick and my stomach gets that sinking feeling whenever I even think about it. Anyway, I made the call, had a conversation about what I was trying to accomplish, and was basically told no. In that moment, it seemed as if this one conversation was setting the tone for how I felt about getting out of debt. I was scared and overwhelmed by what could only be deemed an impossible goal. Feeling defeated and weak, I started crying and texted my friend. Being the sweetheart she is, she immediately called me to talk me down. Yes, it wasn’t easy. Yes, it might be scary. But also, YES…YOU CAN DO THIS. Having somebody on my side cheering me on made all the difference that day.
So, where is all of this going? Well, I needed to lay the groundwork for this story to unfold properly. If others are experiencing something similar, you need a starting point. That is the acceptance part. It isn’t placing blame or guilt on everything you’ve done. Naturally, you know what you did to get into the financial situation you are in. Maybe it was credit card debt, student loans like me, a gambling problem, or just bad luck. The point is, now you are no longer running from it. You aren’t keeping it hidden and feeling ashamed. You are stepping into the sun and saying, “This is me. This is where I’ve been. I am creating a better version of me but I might need some help getting there.” Just like with any sort of baggage, you gotta own it before you can grow. The people who love and care for you will stick around to help you unpack it. The rest of them? Well, sometimes you travel with fewer friends for parts of your journey but you’ll get there all the same.
Good luck friends! Wishing you all the best in your financial journeys as well. Looking forward to sharing more of my story and budgeting tips down the road.
Have a beautiful weekend!