I’ve been blogging for over a year now and if there’s one thing I’ve learned since joining the realm of ~bloggers~, it’s that it is SO EASY to lie.
Instead of explaining how you spent 90+ hours a week to grow your million dollar business, it’s easy to simply say, “Hustle hard, ya’ll!” Early retirement? No more coffee or cars. Paying off debt? “Side hustle.”
The problem with these one to two word answers is that they barely scratch the surface of what is required (and what is sacrificed) in order to accomplish big money goals.
There are A LOT of things I don’t talk about on my blog. Sometimes I leave things out because it’s not my story to tell. Other times, it’s because it is too painful to talk about. Regardless of the reason, I can assure you that my money situation is more complex and nuanced than it appears.
Which leads me to today’s confession: I have a $3,000 car loan.
When I paid off nearly $14,000 of student loans last year, I swore up and down that I would NEVER take on debt again.
Debt was my greatest enemy and I was happy to bid it farewell.
So what changed?
Throughout the past year, I’ve done a deep dive into what actually matters to me. I’ve stopped chasing happiness and started chasing meaning.
I’ve also tried to come to terms with the fact that life is maddeningly, absurdly short.
As I was on my way to a UCLA math final in 2014, I received a phone call from my sister. She was in tears as she explained that they weren’t sure if my mom was going to make it. Due to one nurse’s mistake, my mom was unexpectedly experiencing kidney failure and no one was sure if she would survive.
I was forced to think about what life would be like without my mother, but I couldn’t imagine it.
She is the glue that holds our family together and the rock upon which my sisters and I lean. She is my very best friend and my role model. With my mother in a small town in Oklahoma that was a two hour car ride from the nearest airport, and me in California, there wasn’t anything I could do as I waited for updates. My sister told me to take my final and I did. While I calculated complex probability problems, tears fell on the page.
Three years later, my mom has recovered and she is as wonderful, loving and fiercely loyal as ever.
But even though three years have passed since that horrible day, I’ll never forget it.
It was the ultimate lesson of the fleeting nature of this world and the fragility of our human lives.
Nothing is guaranteed.
My (very, very small) car loan seems unrelated to my mom and the fleeting nature of life, and maybe it is. But in many ways, I think my car loan is a sign that I’m continuing to grow into the person I hope to become.
I hope to be a person who sees manageable amounts of debt as a useful tool.
I hope to be a person who looks at the big picture and not the irrelevant details.
I hope to be a person who is not obsessed with money or trapped in the past.
I hope to be a person who contributes in meaningful ways to society.
I hope to be a person who always tells my family and best friends that I love them.
I hope to be a person who doesn’t waste my life on trivialities like saving a few dollars.
I hope to be generous with people and organizations I care about.
I hope to be gentle, kind, humble and hard-working.
I hope that when my time on earth ends, I have helped to make it a slightly better place for someone else.
What kind of person do you hope to be? Have you ever had a change of heart about money?