I don’t beat myself up too much about my debt. It was stupid to get myself into this situation, but it happened over time and as a result of all kinds of circumstances and bad decisions, and I’m happy with where I am now in my life. It’s enough for me to be righting the wrongs now, and I think I’m learning more about money from this experience than I ever would have without it.
But, I must admit to regularly asking myself, “What was I thinking?” Three years I let this build. I was growing in so many ways and becoming a more responsible adult and getting a great deal smarter, but all the while I was ignoring this huge problem.
Sometimes when I’m thinking about it, my debt seems to undermine all the other things I was doing then. I read journal entries and blog posts and think, “how could you have been having all these realizations and feeling like you were really being honest about things when there was this big debt monster in the closet?” It definitely keeps me from romanticizing the me of the past. Before I started losing weight again, I was reading through things I’d written the last time around and thinking, “Oh, I was so motivated then,” and then I remember that for all I had going for me then, I wasn’t doing anything about my debt except for adding to it weekly.
More often my thoughts go to, “Why wasn’t I terrified by my total lack of a safety net?” When I think of how close I was to having to ask my parents for money, I cringe. What would I have done if I’d lost my job? I wouldn’t have even been able to pay rent for another month. And in this terrible economy, that was a real possibility. My company laid several people off just last Summer.
When I think of how carelessly I was putting my whole future at risk, especially my life as a student, it’s really hard to imagine what I was thinking. I guess I wasn’t. Or, I couldn’t believe I was just like so many other people, getting in over my head. Or, the problem was so huge that I had no idea where to even start. Or, I knew what it would require and I wasn’t ready to put in the effort. Whatever was going on, I’m glad it’s not going on now.