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This, too, shall pass

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I know I keep talking about how “busy-busy-busy” or “go-go-go” I am all the time now.

I love my job(s) and I’m very thankful for it them, but the schedule can also be a bit overwhelming sometimes.

The end-of-semester craziness has been kicking my butt and I’ve been looking forward to summer. Just hold on a couple more weeks…a couple more weeks and everything will calm down. That’s been my mantra.

And then I realized…it won’t.

At my part-time job, summer is pretty crazy. It’s great pay (because it’s the same amount of pay, but I’m paid in 2 separate chunks – one check in June and one in July – as opposed to having it spread across 4 months. So it essentially “feels” like double the pay). But it’s also a TON of work to do the same amount of teaching/grading/etc in a shortened schedule.

I’ve also reported how I managed to get my full-time job to extend my contract so I’ll now get paid all summer from the full-time job, too. That’s fantastic news on the financial front (the equivalent of a 33% raise compared to my current salary)…but I don’t get paid to just sit around watching TV. I get paid to WORK! So that means all summer long I’ll be doing just that…working my tail off. At two different jobs. And then fall will be here, and spring, and summer. Wash, rinse, repeat (side note:  I haven’t turned in notice or anything, but I’ve basically decided in my own mind that next summer – summer 2017 – will be my last semester working for the part-time job. The logic was that I want to work there the full calendar year of 2016, but then I won’t want to quit mid academic-year, so I’d wait until the 2016-2017 year is over, which ends summer 2017).

On a surface level, its a bit overwhelming. The cruise was fantastic for a short-lived stint of relaxation. But I’m also longing for summer time and the long days and carefree nature it usually has associated with it for many of us in academia.

But when I find myself stressing out over the lack of time and amount of work to get done, I just stop and take deep breaths. I focus on the moment, write up a To Do list (this is strangely therapeutic for me), and start knocking out line item by line item.

This semester has tested me. It’s pushed me to my limits and I joke that it’s caused me chronic pain (I now regularly suffer from tension headaches. It sucks.). But I’ve consciously made all of these decisions with my debt in mind. I’ve taken on extra work, have two jobs, etc. because I WANT TO GET OUT OF DEBT!!!! This isn’t just for fun. It’s serving a greater purpose.

One of my 2016 goals is to pay $30,000 toward debt this year. But what if I do more? What if I actually kick off $35,000 in debt?

Then next year, when we aren’t saving for a down payment toward a house, what if we get up to $40,000 or $45,000 on debt payments?

We may only be a couple years from being fully debt-free!!! I know once the debt number gets smaller it’s just going to fly by.

We’ll get there. Probably sooner than I even think. It will happen.

So, in the meantime, please excuse my occasional whining about how busy/chaotic/crazy my life is. This, too, shall pass. And when it does, we’ll be that much closer to financial freedom!

For those who are currently debt-free, how long was your journey? How long did it take? For those still on the path, what’s your projected timeline like?


8 Comments

  • Reply Jac |

    Good luck, Ashley. I just put in notice for my part-time job after working 60 hours a week for 7 months. I am feeling the relief of going back down to “only” 40 hours-and I don’t even have children (let alone twin toddlers!) as part of my home responsibilities. I am so impressed with how well you have been able to manage everything. The extra paychecks allowed us to pay for our basement renovations (and now we rent our basement “apartment” on airbnb for extra money each month) but I finally decided that my time was worth more to me than the extra money. Good luck making it through to next summer!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks Jac! It’s definitely a balance act between money & time! Right now I’m prioritizing money as we try to get through this stage of life. But by this time next year I can’t help to think that we’ll have made such incredible progress and I’ll be able to start dialing back the work responsibilities to a more realistic and sustainable level.

  • Reply Jan |

    It took us five years to pay off our debts, it was very, very hard at the start but eventually you get traction and start making progress slowly. Then it just felt like it was automated for the last few years. I often felt we’d never get there but it is wonderful when its all done and that money can go to savings or mortgage. you are doing well, just keep heading in the right direction and you’ll get there!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Congratulations! That’s a long journey (and likely pretty close to what we’ll be facing, too). It’s funny because while you said it was very hard at first, I felt like it was super easy at first (of course, I had the benefit of blogging here). It wasn’t later on that it became tough. When I look at my debt spreadsheet and see that only a single debt was paid in 2015, for example, in spite of HUGE debt payments every single month. That’s discouraging. But we’ve already knocked out a couple in 2016 and having that success is definitely encouragement to keep on going!

  • Reply Stephanie |

    You will definitely get there. And it will be great when all those former debt payments start accumulating in your retirement account instead of vanishing!

  • Reply Joe |

    yeah, you are doing great. And I feel like ultimately you will feel good about cranking through the debt rather than the “slow burn”.
    Obviously much easier, I’m sure, for you to visualize now with the new job situation, etc. than when you started on the blog!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Absolutely! It’s crazy to see how different our life is now compared to when I first started blogging!

So, what do you think ?