Debt of Forgiveness

money and forgive.jpg

February 11, 2019

Dear Diary,

Today’s the first day I’m ready to forgive myself.

I tend to live a life of no regrets, but have you ever had a moment in life that you wish you could take back? One wish? Or one poor & irresponsible decision that haunts you?

In the spirit of being transparent, my one and only regret would be applying for my first credit card at 18 years old.  Oh man, so many poor spending decisions emanated from the naive thought that I was going to work on building up my credit.   While it is true that having credit helps you build up and maintain a good credit score for your future, if not used moderately, it can affect you down the line.  

If I knew then what I know now, I would have never embarked on the journey of borrowing money at an early age without the proper guidance or financial wherewithal.   

I promise I’m an otherwise uber responsible individual.  In my early adult life, I did all of the “right” things that my parents and society asked of me.  I went to school, I was productive and had various jobs throughout undergrad. I saved a bit of money, so I was able to take care of myself during grad school. However, when that was all said and done, between student loans and consumer debt (I went on some fab trips to Europe) my debt was $100,000 heavier!  After grad school, I landed a pretty sweet job with a fancy sounding title in the financial district of the BIG CITY!!! During that time, I tried to shave off some of that debt, but I couldn’t make a dent in the massive balance. Like most 20-something millennials, I was living cheque to cheque and having difficulty managing all things finance.  I can easily admit, even though I try, I’m hardly a master in this area! As I progressed in life, the more money I made, the more of it I seemed to throw away on useless material needs. Somewhere along the way of becoming a responsible adult, I messed up badly.    

So began my first lesson in Adulting 101.

For many of us, money management, savings, and investments aren’t readily taught in the home or in schools. As a result, the feeling of being young and making decent money can be exhilarating, but when bad habits are created, they can be difficult to break.  The silver lining in my experience was that I had to learn to forgive myself in order to move forward in a positive direction. Adulting 101 meant acknowledging my past screw-ups, forgiving myself, and creating a plan to resolve any underlying fears I had surrounding adulthood.  My greatest fear was facing and owing my debt; for you, this may be something else. Whatever your regret is, the first step in moving forward is to forgive yourself. I’ve had to accept that most of this fly wardrobe in my closet was bought on credit so I could begin to acknowledge my poor spending habits in the past and make changes.  Why? Because it is what it is. I cannot think of what I should have, could have, or would have done in the past. The fact of the matter is the money was spent and those feelings, of wanting to undo the past, are counterproductive to my overall progress.

As for me, it took looking at my poor spending habits, getting real about what I wanted for my future, and forgiving myself for making dumb decisions in my 20s!  When I was able to do these simple things, I freed my mind of regret and started to create practical solutions to get out of debt. I can proudly admit that for the first time in my life, I’m on a budget & and I’m actually sticking to it!

The catalyst for change, is simple, start with forgiving yourself for the past and getting your ish together for the future!!!