In 2014, I was renting a closet sized room in a basement, working on the weekends as a waitress and taking public transportation to both my jobs. Motivation was abundant. Every time the winter wind smacked my face as I waited for the bus (which, naturally was always late) I found the motivation to keep saving for a car. Every time I heard my roommates argue about something, I found new ways to cut costs and save for a down payment on a property. Dealing with obnoxious and entitled customers motivated me to save aggressively, and quit my weekend job as soon as possible. Adversity brings out your survival skills, makes you want to stay disciplined and be resourceful.
Fast forward two years into the future, I’m struggling to find ways to maintain that level of motivation I had a couple of years ago. I know its possible, but it takes a lot more work to stay disciplined and focused on a goal now that I’ve managed to get the basics out of the way. I know I cannot afford to be comfortable. I am nowhere close to financial independence. I have a mortgage and mounting student loans from the MBA program I’m currently enrolled in. My emergency savings will not allow me to maintain my life style for too long. I have credit card debt.
So why? Why do I struggle to maintain my discipline when I know how big of a task I have to accomplish?
Part of me feels like its because society encourages financial complacency. It’s acceptable to pay the minimum on your student loans even as the interest compounds daily. It’s considered the norm to hold a mortgage for 30 years. Some people even refer to these as “good debt” Oxymoron much? How did we as a society come to accept such a fate? And more importantly, how do I unlearn this dangerous complacency?
Another part of me feels that, what I’m trying to accomplish is too overwhelming for me to take on. The sum of all my debts, including mortgage and student loans is well into the six figures. Sometimes looking at it alone makes me feel exhausted and hopeless. So why bother trying to eliminate it when there’s literally no end in sight? Ugh.
These are the thoughts I constantly struggle with. The road to financial independence is not always gold stars and bravos, sometimes the enormity of the work you have to do creeps up on you. These are the times I want to relapse. Buy that pair of shoes I saw online the other day. Book that resort trip I think I deserve. Buy stuff to make me feel better. These are the times I have to be stronger than ever and remind myself that these are just emotions and emotions are temporary. The debt I incur from acting on them though, could actually be permanent. Self restraint is a necessary pain.