11 March 2014

One step at a time


I have a big dream list. Sadly I can't do most of it now, either due to work restrictions, money, or time -- otherwise known as Life Circumstances.

I've had to delay school for quite a while, once because of debt, once for love and now for debt once more. When I moved to Washington, I was planning on moving back to Arizona and finishing my degree at NAU, starting in fall of 2015. When Riley and I ended things, my plan was kaputt and I had to make some decisions. Then I got into my dental debt.

I made the decision to stay in Washington, mostly because moving is expensive and a pain in the ass. Also, there's really no place I'd rather be right now. I made a series of steps I need to take, no matter how long it takes to do them.

STEP ONE is paying off my "smaller" debt (the step I'm currently on).
STEP TWO is saving for my two trips this year (July and October).
STEP THREE is paying off my student loans and calling Dave for my debt free scream.
STEP THREE POINT FIVE is applying for scholarships.
STEP FOUR is attending community college using grants, scholarships, and my paycheck.
STEP FOUR POINT FIVE is saving everything I can for step five.
STEP FIVE is transferring to university using grants, scholarships, and my paycheck/savings.
STEP SIX is graduating debt free and getting a teaching job.
STEP SEVEN is funding grad school for library science.
STEP EIGHT is finally doing all the things I can't do now.

That's a lot of steps, and I'm only on step one. The other day I let my brain skip to step four and naturally, I freaked the hell out. I sent myself into a panic and got extremely discouraged when I added up the numbers and compared it to my income.

But what I was really doing was throwing a tantrum that I can't have my cake and eat it too; I'd have to delay my Wants, and, prioritize what's really important (school and staying debt free).

Even though I really have 3 years of coursework left, I may have to take some time off school to save. To most people, this sounds stupid. School is important, yes, but as a teacher, I won't be making much money, and if I want to do all the things I want to do, there's no way I can support myself and do those things on a teacher's salary. As much as I want that degree, I want to be financially free when I graduate even more.

I've felt the chains of student loans and other debt. I've added to the amount of money I've spent on debt the past few years and it makes me sick what I could've done with that money if it hadn't been going in other pockets besides mine. It makes me sicker to think about the amount of debt I would be going into if I were to take loans vs. the average teacher's salary. I'd be poor forever and never get to do what I want.

Sometimes it's hard to remember I have my whole life ahead of me. I can't compare my life to others. I can only compare it to mine. I don't have to travel while I'm young. I don't have to finish college in four years. If I'm patient, stay focused on the now with the future in mind, and work hard, things will fall into place.  It's okay to be a little different.




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