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.

Ice, Your Only Rivers Run Cold

At the end of an Austin ice storm. Couped up at home all day, working through VPN, bored to tears. Streets were slick and icy earlier, but the stiff dry wind has made all the ice disappear. Now it’s just bitter cold.

Couped up inside. I need some wind to evaporate the ice keeping me stuck. I’d like a full thaw, some warmth, some heat, those would be nice. Anything to loosen my stasis is welcome.

Walk on by, walk on through, walk to your own and don’t look back, for here I am.

Burn Fuel

It’s almost 1AM and I’m more or less feeling my oats. I have to wake up in 5 hours. It’s not surprising that I turn to the liquid pleasures to make my life feel like it’s worth it. Really, though, it burns through my reserves of serotonin so the rest of my day is an emotional flatline. That’s a good and a bad thing. But whatever.

I’m courting a change in my life, a massive change, and getting cold feet. Eventually, anger will override trepidation and I will burn hot coals to fuel my engine of self-preservation. Change is necessary.

It’s one thing to say, “What I would give for a new life,” and a totally different thing to actually give for a new life.

Emetic Diuretic

touching every nerve on repeat
ad infinitum, ad nauseum, ad vertisium
straw men on infinite scroll
binge and purge, singe and durge
the anger, the righteousness, the fearmongering
the masturbation
we can’t see it
i can’t believe it
constant waves crashing over my head
taking on water, swallowing it all down
not wanting to drown
salt, tears, gurgling for a lifeguard
but the guards are all fired
this libertarian beachhead
has got me counting
one two three
drifting out to sea

Uphill

My life has always been a constant struggle to reconcile that I want desperately to communicate through high art and find my own space on this earth with the finest people on it, versus the mandate that I must wake up at 6:30am and perform the artless needful in order to sponsor my dreams. I see hopefulness in expression, the hope of being able to craft my own reality and be the man I want to be — like all the arty free-thinkers say — but that has never, ever jived with the harshness of my life’s reality: I’m a working stiff. Try explaining to my bosses that I want to be free; if I try hard enough, they’ll let me go to be as free as I want, for free. And then what?

Reality is somewhere in the middle, and I must take both legs in stride to make my life worthwhile.