In Full

Today is an auspicious day, friends.

After 22 years and change, my student loan is a nice, round zero. Done. Finished. Paid in full.

For the first time in my adult life, I am debt-free. I owe nobody a god-damned thing.

Slow and steady wins this race, sure, but I should never have gotten into this race to begin with. When things got skinny in school, I should’ve sought better options or gotten out.

Granted, some of my best life lessons happened in college, but the bulk of the great education happened outside the classroom. I had so many great and wonderful experiences in school, and they really opened my small-town mind to the big world out there. I wanted to travel, to bum around, to see the world first-hand and experience it, live in it, embrace it, suck the marrow from its bones. But that crippling college debt convinced me I wasn’t able to do any of that. So I stayed in my rut and kept digging.

College showed me the world and then my signatures on 11 semesters of promissory notes kept me from being in it.

Now, this is a game-changer. There are new levels of income I can go down to and still get by. That buys a lot of breathing room. I don’t know what I’m going to do from here on out. The next obvious step, you say, is to buy a house, but I may’ve said before that I will never be able to buy property here in Austin. Why get out of a minor debt to jump into a massive debt? It just doesn’t seem worth it to me.

What I will do, however, is save as much as I can, live as frugally as I do already, and hold onto what I can. If you’ve ever lived in debt, you’ve learned that you just can’t trust the future. I certainly can’t trust the future, and I don’t enjoy the present, and I’m ashamed of the past.

So I’ll just coast for a while and enjoy this. It’s a nice change of status. Debt-Free. I like how that sounds.

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