Woke

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I feel like a drunk who just woke up in a car parked on top of a railroad crossing. My previous reality seemed so sensible. Go to a store, plunk down a credit card. Harbor a fantasy that I could easily pay for all this.

Every month when I opened the credit card statements I was in a bit of shock that all those little charges, many $10, $20, $30, could add up to thousands. And our $10,000 net monthly income never seemed to have quite enough to cover what we had incurred. So I paid as much as I could, but not all.

And that bit got added to the previous bit and folded into the next bit., which eventually added up to tens of thousands.

Clearly I’m not good at comprehending that small integers can add up to thousands.

And then I woke up on the railroad tracks.

And now I am hyper awake to every little expenditure. If feels so strange. But also it feels just right. No, I am not going to spend five bucks on some organic half and half. No, I’m not going to run off and get a manicure when I am perfectly capable of doing it myself.

I might even wake up enough to decide I can clean my own damned house.

Patience and the lack thereof

I’ve been driving myself crazy…

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…checking my bank account and Mint every five minutes, seeing if the recent payments I’ve made—which should knock my credit card debt down another $7,800 have gone through yet. I even called the bank and they said that the transactions would go through tonight. Still I check obsessively.

Clearly I have zero patience—surprise! Isn’t a lack of patience a hallmark of someone who racked up so much debt?

Rather than the thing I’m supposed to be doing—actually finishing grading three last papers— and trying not to obsess on my own accounts, I’ve been trying to distract my self by perusing the debtor blogosphere. I love this post from Amanda Page on lessons she learned from paying off more than $42,000 in one year. She writes:

You know all those folks in the personal finance community that I mentioned? Well, a lot of them have done what you’re doing. When I first started my debt payoff journey, I thought, “What if I could pay off all $48,000 in one year?” I thought it would be unheard of. I thought that I’d have to field media calls and that I’d be featured on the TODAY show. (I might be exaggerating a little.) As I got more involved in both my project and the personal finance community, I discovered more and more inspirational stories to read. I realized that the story of rapid debt repayment is no longer novel. More people are taking back their power and paying off their debt. I read these stories and realize that I am not exceptional – and that is a VERY good thing.

I’m feeling kind of lonely with this mind-boggling task of getting out of all this credit card debt. Especially since the last person I’m going to tell is my partner. (Yeah, shoot me.) Why? Because he’d make me give up the cleaning lady. So long as he never cleans toilets, that’s just not happening.

At the moment, I’m not really worried yet about the mortgage or home equity line. There at least we’ve got equity in the house. But I will tackle those as soon as I’m done with this monster.

I’ll close with another snippet from another post by Amanda Page:

Debt Payoff is a Grand Challenge & You Are the Kind Who Pursues Such Things

“I think the folks who go after grand challenges are impatient.” – Peter Diamandus, American Businessman

It’s Okay to Be Impatient As Long As You Stay Disciplined (and keep going)

“I’m not patient – and I’m getting more impatient as I get older – but I am disciplined about writing, and I want that on my tombstone: ‘He wasn’t patient, but he was disciplined.’” – Douglas Coupland, Author of Generation X