Sometimes when I think about the past I feel like I am remembering a different person doing the actions I did. I say that because we are all constantly changing who we are and what we believe.
A Father’s Journey
Two years ago a father held his 7-month-old son tightly in his arms and swayed back and forth trying to get the small child to sleep. As he swayed the father couldn’t help but let his mind drift off to the sound of machine shushing in the background. He was trying to remember how much they had left on the HELOC loan, the latest debt they were trying to pay off. It seemed like a mountain was weighing on the new dad’s shoulders. When will this loan be done? Is the end of this crap in sight?
Stressed, he listened to the boy’s breathing trying to tell if the kid was sleeping or still awake.
“Good night. Sleep tight” read the vinyl decals stuck to the wall above the crib. Ha. Can’t remember the last time we had a good night’s sleep (the baby was teething). His mind slipped back to the debt. IF we ever get this loan paid off how long will it take us to pay off the car? Is that $1000 emergency fund going to be enough? What if something bad happens?
Back and forth he sways.
Who am I trying to sooth right now? Finally, he’s asleep.
Every day, every nap.
Debt weighs on us. Each person deals with it differently but the stress is there, constant, in the background. I didn’t think our loans were ever going to be $0 balances even with my amortization schedules with our overpayments factored in. I wish I had a time machine. Not because I want to go back and change the past (I’ve watched Back To The Future and Doctor Who enough to know not to mess with time). I just want to go back and explain to that version of myself that everything will be ok (although I would have to go back to 2003 to tell my high school self that first).
A much different story is unfolding now.
A Second Journey
Back and forth a father sways again with a 7-month-old boy. This is their second child. Funny how life has a habit of repeating itself.
The sound machine is shushing in the background but this time the seasoned dad is staring at vinyl stars and a moon. He remembers how easy it is to let the mind drift off.
Is it pay week? I can’t remember…I think the recycling came last week so it must be pay week this week. Sweet, that means another $300 is going into the HSA. Do we have enough to start investing it?
You know what we haven’t had in a while…chili… crap I don’t know if I’ll remember to write that down after I get out of here. I wonder if the Roth and 529 deposits have been done yet.
Sway back and forth.
I wonder how long we’ll need to track our net worth before we’ll be able to notice trends. Should we be putting more into a brokerage account at our age and tax bracket? I can’t wait until this house is paid off.
Finally, he’s asleep.
…was there something I was supposed to write down?
Two years can make a big difference. I’ve gone from stress and fear to excitement all because of debt.
Have you noticed changes in your behavior and stress after becoming debt free? Are you still working on paying off debt (hang in there!)?