As I was looking thought posts I had written in May of 2011, I almost skipped over this one post on May 10, but the first paragraph grabbed me and shook me up a bit, especially the fact that we still had over $33,000 worth of consumer debt at that point (outside of my student loan). In almost a year and a half we had paid off an equal amount of debt but we still had such a long, long way to go. In other words, we had reached a point of celebration, but one strongly tempered by the reality of what still needed to be accomplished. I knew what lay ahead and was dreading it.
All the feelings I carried back then came rushing back as I read – especially the sense of anxiety that always seemed to hover over me. I remembered feeling proud of all we had accomplished at that point as well as feeling very motivated to continue, but also feeling tired and overwhelmed by what we still had to do to get to the end. Of course, I know now that we did finish, and accomplish our goal of moving to Hawaii, but at the time I honestly felt anything but accomplished.
Fast forward to the future though, and I remembered that we saved a little less than $30,000 in the same amount of time for our Big Adventure, but only by selling most of our stuff and our car, so I am amazed by how well we did in our first 18 months of debt repayment. The amount we paid off from January 2010 to May of 2011 was something to be celebrated, especially after all that had been thrown at us in 2010. What I know now though was that it never really got any easier, and that slog is the perfect word to describe the journey. And, that we didn’t quit.
I don’t remember searching for employment at this time, but I guess I was. And, Hawaii must have really been coming into focus at this point, although I still don’t think we had made a final decision. What we were focused on at this point on going to Japan to meet our first grandchild!
As of this week we have paid off more than half of the debt we started with in January 2010. While paying off more than $33,000 worth of debt in less than 18 months is certainly a milestone to be celebrated, it’s also extremely sobering to realize that we still have that much to go to become debt-free.
I told Brett last week that while I want to feel like we’re standing at the top of a mountain with an easy downward walk to the finish, it instead feels like we’re at the bottom of a deep valley looking up at a difficult, vertical climb to our goal. In other words, the “easy” part of the journey is now over, and the real work to the finish begins.
I have created a budget to get us to the end of the year, and with everything we have coming up, the amount we can put toward our debt is going to slow up some. So far I have not found any additional employment, although I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. We no longer have anything as major as a second car to sell, but hopefully, we will be able to find additional items around the house that we can part in the coming year to bring in some extra funds.
In spite of what we still have to accomplish, we remain extremely motivated to be debt-free by the end of 2012, for several reasons. Brett will retire then, we want to take a special family vacation, and we are now focused on relocating (to Hawaii?) in 2014. In the meantime, the slog continues!