When I first decided to pay off my entire debt in one year, it was intended to be a year of financial short-term pain for long-term gain. But five-and-a-half months in, and £8k down, and I have learned so much about myself and where I want to go with my life.
About one month into the journey, I recall seeing a beautiful sunset from my front garden and took my time to stand and watch it for the duration. I realised then, that paying off debt, and subsequently getting out of my nightly routine of scanning shopping sites, allowed me a lot more time in the evenings to just ‘be’.
Around three months in, as we started swapping our date night from weekly to a fortnightly occurrence, as we sat in our living room with a drink and Spotify, chatting until 3 a.m., like we used to do in the good old days when we first started going out. I realised by stripping back all of the bells and whistles of date night, we actually had more energy to talk to each other again. I felt like I’d got my best friend back.
At five months in, with Christmas less focused on money than in previous years of excessive panic-buying and exhaustion, I realised that I’d missed the quality time with my family, which had always come second to the consumption of the season, and this year, I made time for my family and in-laws.
Nearly at the six month mark, however, I have found my ‘why’, that is to say, I now know the reason I’m doing this.
I make no secret of the fact that I struggle with keeping my anxiety in check and sometimes tend to panic-spiral if I’m burning the candle at both ends. I don’t think people who know me, but don’t know know me, realise how bad it is. I’m really good at hiding just how bad I feel sometimes when I’m sitting talking to someone but I feel like I’m so stressed that I just wish I could pull my bottom lip over my head and hide until I’m alone again. Or when I’m in a crowd of people and get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that feels like I’ve just digested vulnerability itself, and I want to get the hell out of there. Or when I’ve ignored either of those feelings, or my various other warning signs, for too many days in a row and my mind can’t switch off because it’s racing with the tired panic of having to always react to situations it isn’t comfortable with. When it’s too late, I find myself navigating through the familiar roads of depression, painting a smile on my face because I’m tired, failing and tired of failing. It’s not pleasant.
My why is- I want to leave my job. I want to go back to writing the book I was writing when I started my job nearly four-and-a-half years ago. The book that was put on the back burner while I got started in this new role. Then getting our dog, then our first home, then renovations. There was never a good time to go back to it and the creative part of my mind, at this point, feels like a tiny raisin; still there, but shrinking, unused.
On 25th August 2018, I will have paid off my debt and my outgoings will be pretty low. So I’m going to go back to writing, to peace and quiet every day, to learning to express myself creatively again.
This is what debt freedom permits you; the chance to make choices, to take control of your life, to be free, to be happy again.
What material thing could make you as happy as actually being happy?