A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

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Coming To You LIVE From The Debt Repayment Pain Cave

There's a point in every long race that's known as The Pain Cave.

It's the point where you can't remember why you ever thought this was a good idea in the first place and where the finish line seems about eight million light years away.

It's the point where the only things you can think about are the giant blister on your big toe and how much your quads hurt and how you'd love to eat something except that if you do, you'll probably just puke it right back up.

It's the point where you want to punch all of the cheerful bystanders who are yelling that you look great and just keep going! (WHAT DO THEY KNOW. THEY'RE JUST STANDING THERE.)

It's the point where you say to yourself, You're closer to the finish than you've ever been! and somehow that doesn't help.

It's the point where your only motivation for persisting is your allegiance to your selves: your past self, who worked so hard to get here, and your future self, who will reap the rewards when you somehow make it to the finish line.

Yeah, you'll do it for them. But it's hard, because for once in your life you are so 100 percent in your present self, and your present self is miserable.

Right now, I feel like I'm in the debt repayment version of the pain cave.

Real talk (and don't you dare lecture me for being totally honest): I'm sick of it. 

I'm sick of 1/3 of our salary going to our student loan companies every month.

I'm sick of saying no when friends invite us out for dinner or to other activities that cost money (why can't we stay in and play board games? But they don't want to.)

I'm sick of the FOMO that comes with watching other people travel to amazing places and eat amazing food and have amazing experiences.

I'm sick of my kid complaining that we never go anywhere.

I'm sick of feeling alone in this. I know other people have debt, but so many of them don't talk about it. I wish they would.

I'm sick of certain people on social media acting like I'm a complete idiot because somehow my student loan debt is "bad" while their mortgage debt is so much... better?

I'm sick of financial success stories that provide no details. "One day I was working in fast food. I quit, and the next day I just put my mind to it really, really hard and now I'm a millionaire! If you work hard, you can do it, too!" 

I'm sick of being stuck doing something I intensely dislike because I need the paycheck and the health insurance.

Cold hard truth? I'm sick of feeling like a financial failure.

I'm fully aware that these feelings, though difficult, are temporary.

No worries: I'll keep going; I'm too far in to quit now. Present moment self isn't feeling great, but I'm doing this for the self that started the journey and the self that will end this journey with a $0 debt balance, a much higher net worth, and the satisfaction of finishing something so hard that many people never even start.

Sometimes life, like a long race, is going to be difficult, and the only way through is through.