Molasses. That’s how fast it feels this debt payoff is moving. I’m sure a few years from now I’ll look back on this whole experience and use expressions like “time flies” and “the days are long but the years are fast.” Right now I mostly feel like I’m being tortured.
We are a lot like children in the afternoon at school. Zero focus. We have our budget, we follow it. But we are also great at having budget committee meetings throughout the month and re-allocating money so we can squeeze in one more social activity. Instead, we should be re-allocating that money to go toward our debt. That’s the priority. We must focus.
It’s starting to feel like there are 4 phases to debt payoff. We are silently clinging to the 3rd and praying for a push to the 4th.
The first phase is SHOCK. It is shocking how much debt there is. It is shocking to think it can be paid off within the next century. And it is a shock to think we will be able to pull it off at all.
The second phase is AMBITION. You have a small emergency fund built and already paid off a few hundred dollars of debt all within a few months. The ambition is flowing. You can feel the snowball getting bigger each month. The ambition is contagious. You look up and a year has gone by, the amount of debt you have paid-to-date is bigger than you could have ever imagined. Your ambition got you here.
The third phase is LETHARGY. The progress is real and significant. You can’t believe you made it this far. The only problem is there is still work to be done and debt to be paid. When you look back you feel proud of what you’ve done but given that progress, it seems you should be further along than you are. When you look forward you feel overwhelmed with what you still need to do. It creates an eddy of swirling emotion that isn’t moving forward and isn’t moving backward. You feel stuck. Caught in the limbo between good enough and great. In an effort to help boost our progress I do my part and start to take on new projects that cost a little upfront in the hopes of bringing in additional income. The time it takes to generate the additional money can be disheartening adding to the lethargic feeling. How do you move past this? How do you re-kindle the emotions from when you started? The cut-the-cable-and-never-eat-out girl is lost. Where did she go? How do you call her home?
The final phase is CONVICTION. What once was a lofty dream is now real. It is happening. Debt freedom is attainable. While I haven’t reached this phase yet, I imagine it as a subtle hum deep within. The type of hum great determination fosters. The gravitational pull of the end of debt is strong now and pulling you in effortlessly. Before you know it you will be debt free and moving deeper into financial peace and freedom.