Monday, 22 April 2013

Free

At least a little. Credit card debt free, that is.

Almost two years ago to the day (well, give about seven days or so), I stood in front of a nice lady at the bank and started crying. I was crying because I was, at the time, so bogged down in student loan and credit card debt that I literally couldn't breathe -- I couldn't see a way out, I couldn't imagine a life lived outside of my parents' house, I couldn't envision any way that things would work themselves out. It was a dark time.

Today, nearly two years later (give or take seven days or so), I paid off the last of those credit cards. (We'll ignore the student debt for the time being, as it's basically a mortgage. It's so very omnipresent, so there, that it doesn't really feel like debt so much as just another monthly payment. I know that probably makes no sense, but there you have it.)
I mention this today for two reasons. Reason The First: I cannot tell you how good, and yet how odd, it feels to have that credit debt off my back. I feel shell-shocked, that's how strange it is. The wildly superstitious parts of my mind are freewheeling in overdrive and saying you don't know yet, just wait and see, tomorrow they'll  come back to you and SAY THEY DIDN'T GET THE MONEY, yadda yadda. Etc. Still -- the payment was made. I did everything I was supposed to do. And now I feel unmoored without that credit payment looming in the future. (Blissfully unmoored, to be sure, but unmoored nonetheless.) I feel, dare I say it, somewhat lost.

But -- and here's Reason The Second -- I also feel awed. Awed at how it is possible for things to change so slowly, and yet so totally, over the course of two years that it's almost hard to recognize yourself looking back. I remember that Amanda of two years ago. I remember how tired she was. I remember how sure she was, and how terrified, deep down inside of her soul, that things would never change. Sure she'd never find a decent job, never get out of debt, never see those writing dreams really launch themselves into the sky.

And now look. The credit debt is gone, and in exactly eight days that little book with my name on it will make its way into the world.

Don't get me wrong--there's still a helluva way to go. Launching that book is not the be-all-and-end-all that I once imagined it might be--there are, in addition to this, so many other exciting things to embark on, to dream about, and to do. But there will (oh how I hope) be other books in the future too. And more decent jobs that wait in the days ahead.

It can all happen. I have my feet back underneath me now and it feels freaking fantastic. Things seem possible now in a way that they didn't two years ago. Possible even in the sense that maybe, just maybe, I can embark on some of these new dreams without credit cards!

Lord knows, I've had enough practice in the last five years of living without them...

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