"I don't feel like you're taking responsibility for your student loans," my husband looked at me and said.
I sat in the passenger seat of my car listening intently as we drove home from dinner. I refrained from interjecting right away, something I sometimes do when I receive feedback or criticism. I mean, could I really argue? I did leave my husband to provide for all of our needs for 10 months. Something that weighed so heavy on my heart that I ugly cried about it at a small group session several months prior to this conversation.
As I sit here on a quiet evening with music playing in the background, this is the discussion that comes to mind as I ponder how I got to this place of not writing anything over the past 4 months.
At the time that we had this discussion, I had already been working part-time for 2 months as a nanny. But after our talk I made an aggressive plan to pay roughly $35,000 worth of student loans off in 18 months (by June 2020), which meant I needed to pick up an additional family, and I did, in mid-January.
Between the 10-12 hour workdays, managing our Airbnb business, fulfilling volunteer obligations, leading a small group, a bit of travel, insufficient sleep, dealing with my emotions related to past trauma, so on and so forth, I was tired and overwhelmed with zero motivation or desire to sit down and write.
To top it off, the second mom I started working with has a pregnant neighbor who all of a sudden found herself on modified bed rest. There I was to the rescue picking up a few additional hours with her in the name of being able to put even more money to my student loans.
So this blog - my writing - which is supposed to be the top priority was no longer even on the list. Financial Freedom found its place back at the top. "I'll be damned if I have to hear about these student loans again," is how I felt, and I acted accordingly.
As much as I'd like to blame me not writing on this discussion, I can't. I didn't have to decide to pay off $35K in 18 months. Although my husband put pressure on me, he gave no requirements for the amount I needed to pay each month, nor did he suggest a deadline for paying them off. The only thing he asked was that I take responsibility for this portion of our finances and make a plan. I could have made a plan based on the income I was already earning before I took on my 2nd and 3rd families.
But I didn't. I decided to be aggressive and pay more than triple my minimum monthly payment. The thing is, I'm rarely aggressive about anything, so I low-key wonder if subconsciously there was a deeper reason for doing this.
Did I create this 18 month payoff plan in a way that would require me to overload my schedule, work a bunch of hours, and not have time to write, because I'm afraid to give this my all? Was I trying to avoid any future feedback about how I'm not taking care of my own shit? Was I being aggressive about paying off my debt so that I will feel more comfortable about finances as we begin to consider having kids? Am I motivated by money more than I think I am? Or do I still just suck at saying no when people ask me for help?
*Shrugs* All of the above? I don't know.
What I do know, however, is that this season is officially over. Again, I intentionally cut back and dropped down to just one family so that I can focus on writing again.
This is the second time in the past year (and probably the 100th time in my semi-short time on earth) I took on too much, became overwhelmed, and had to cut back. Old habits die hard don't they?
Of course, the end of this season comes with a few reflections...
There is no financial goal that is worth working myself to the point that I'm so stressed and fatigued I forget entire conversations, how to get to places I routinely drive multiple times a week, or leave tasks unfinished at work because I forgot I started them. It was getting so bad I thought about going to the doctor, but I didn't have time for that so I hopped on a spin bike twice for 15 min to get some blood pumping to my brain, implemented a 9:30 bedtime and started taking a multivitamin (quick, old lady solutions).
There is only so much information our brains can hold when stressed and exhausted. I reached that limit.
Get consistent and stay consistent.
Just like getting back into the gym after not working out for awhile, it is so hard getting back into a rhythm of writing on a regular basis. I have spare time again, but I'm still playing catch up and struggling to honor the time I set aside on my calendar to sit and write. I'm the type that needs to do whatever it takes to maintain habits at all cost once established, because it is an uphill battle trying to get back into something after falling off. And that's an understatement.
I'm a real estate investor and I need to act like it.
As a real estate investor I know that the method we should be using to pay off debt is directing extra income toward obtaining additional real estate in order to increase cash flow and passive income to cover expenses and debt payments. I know this, my husband knows this, and I suggested it in the past as I'm sure he has too. I think maybe our desire to have my student loans paid off before we potentially have kids caused us to momentarily forget to approach our debt with a business mindset. The correction has since been made.
Balance is still bullshit.
What have you all been up to?! How's 2019 treating you so far? Anyone else struggling with being overcommitted?