It's Saturday night and I'm sitting alone in a quiet living room. This afternoon I left my friends after a fun afternoon to spend my night playing pretend and eating Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets. My Friday night looked eerily similar. I love the kids I babysit, I truly do. But once the kids go to bed, it's not the most exciting way for a 27-year-old to spend a Saturday night. And I'm starting to be ok with that.
I have started and stopped my path to paying off debt several times in the past 6 years. It starts off with great intentions. I work really hard juggling multiple side jobs and oftentimes pull in a decent amount of extra money. Yet every time money comes in, I barely make a dent in my debt. Why? It's hard to spend your 20's saying no to fun events in exchange for a small extra payments to your student loans. Success is boring. Really boring.
Don't get me wrong, I assume the feeling of success itself will feel the opposite of boring. But getting to that point is a whole other ball game.
I've been terrified of setting up a ho hum, boring life for myself and I was convinced that how I spent my 20's will define how fun and exciting the rest of my life trajectory will be. So when given the chance, I always took the trip or went to the cool restaurant or bought fun new clothes.
However, that extra income I made? It flew out the window in fear that I wasn't taking every opportunity to get the most out of life. It rarely went towards debt unless it was in the form of credit cards I was using to fund more fun. With my behavior, I still had the nerve to pout that my debt was such a burden.
I'm ready to make debt a priority. And this time, I know I can't give up when the going gets boring. I won't be able to travel as much as I would like to. I will have to say no to fun events with friends in place of opportunities to work. I will have to get more creative with the food I already have in the fridge instead of ordering takeout when it sounds delicious or when I get particularly busy. I have to focus on what I should be doing instead of what feels fun and easy in the moment.
It doesn't have to be as miserable as that sounds though. I live in a great state full of cheap or free entertainment and technology will help me stay in touch with all of my long distance friends and family. My friends are all supportive of me getting out of debt and they know I will join in the fun when I can. I truly enjoy all of the side jobs I have so most of the time they don't feel like work. And hey, I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen and I've been wanting to grow my cooking skills.
Despite my best efforts, occasional boredom is inevitable and I need to work through it instead of splurging. Being aware of it is a good start at least, right?
I have a dream of being debt free by 30 and if I don't tackle my bad habits now, I won't be able to make it a reality. Starting now is my last chance to hit that deadline. And don't get me started on how ending these bad habits will help my long-term goals too. It might be an uncomfortable 2 years and 9 months but it will be worth it.