[personal profile] sinnamongirl
I once paid off a student loan. Well, twice, but one of those times I used a student loan to pay off another student loan, so I only count it as once. Do you have student loans? Maybe a car loan, a mortgage, a credit card?* There's nothing quite like paying out your, say, $150 a month, all proudly, then checking the balance and realizing $95 of that went to the interest, which will simply compound itself again next month, and the pride you feel in whittling that loan down is replaced with the numbing knowledge you have as equal a chance of getting hit by lightning as paying it off before you retire.**

Now, without listing out my struggles - which are long and mighty and sometimes depressing, let me assure you - student loans are one of the constant struggles. They are there, like that oddly greasy fart that lingers with you the entire day, even if others insist they smell nothing. So what did I do after I paid off this student loan? I bought a car. With a loan. And then I moved to a more expensive apartment in a different city because fuck it, I was rich! I'd paid off one of the handful of student loans, like a real adult!

The move was necessary, the car not so much, though I got a really good deal (despite the payments). But here I'd scrimped and saved and budgeted and paid extra, all to kill this bitty little loan off, and immediately replaced it with more expenses. This is representative of my entire life. When things are going well, I get nervous. It's often pervasive and low-level, but my conscious brain will be very pleased: Bills are handled! Extra money! No family drama!*** Everything is great! So obviously I have to have a panic attack because things are so good, and my subconscious brain fully believes my life is not allowed to be good. Ever.

Right now, as long-time readers know, I'm stuck in yet another situation that I created for myself, that is emphatically not good. The unfortunate part of this situation is that it's depressing, I'm prone to depression anyway, so it's a horribly affirming vicious circle of not-goodness, and I'm content here. Comfort zones are a bitch, you know? I hate that "completely dissatisfied with myself and my life choices" is my comfort zone, but there it is.

My task is to create a new comfort zone. I just today, just a few hours ago, stopped thinking of it in terms of depression versus happiness, success versus failure, but in terms of creating a new comfort zone.

Step 1: Mike**** called me earlier and told me that he loved me, and I told him I loved him as well. It is very strange, but luckily my current comfort zone includes strange, so that's familiar. It's a much different kind of strange, of course. I'm still tasting it, learning the flavors of it, but I'm determined that love-strange will be part of my new comfort zone, whereas lonely-strange will be left behind.

Step 2: The panic that is already starting to creep in? I don't know. Because it is already starting. I also feel at peace, happy, and excited. So good that I'm not even going to enumerate all the problems I will have to face tomorrow. For now, I'm feeling alive without the struggle. This was, in fact, the easiest thing in the world, which is mind-blowing on its own, so perhaps I can simply enjoy the struggle to understand that good things can also be easy*****, and that will placate the part of my brain that thinks without horrible things happening, I'm not really alive.

*Please note I don't know how mortgages work, are they compound interest loans?

**Please note I also don't understand "odds," though I do understand hyperbole.

***I'm actually trying to avoid family drama as much as possible these days.

****Mike being a guy I met just over a month ago who lives in Florida.

*****I had a neighbor who once told me, when I was complaining about how difficult a brand-new relationship was, that when things are meant to be, they're easy. The whole "no pain, no gain" attitude was, to her, stupid and self-sabotaging. I've parroted her in the past but never fully believed it until today.

Date: 2016-11-23 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] promiseoftin.livejournal.com
Sending lots of positive vibes your way!

Date: 2016-11-28 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
thank you :)

Date: 2016-11-23 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tonithegreat.livejournal.com
Brutally honest and also quite relatable! This is a bit of a downer topic, I suppose. But I feel some of your struggle pain for sure. Unless I make serious changes, I'll pay off my law degree right before I pay off my house. Blech. As a government attorney, I'm eligible to have my loans forgiven. But only if I repay them for seven years, while maintaining my job with the government, at a rate I can't afford with this salary. It's maddening.

Date: 2016-11-28 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
It sucks because it's true that if I'm not stressed out, I think something is wrong with life... but I hear you about the law loan situation - I was in the social work field for a bit (lowest level, but still counted), and that helped me pay off one of my first little loans back in the day. I held on to that job for as long as it took to start qualifying and have it forgiven, which also meant I was scraping by but felt it was worth it to not have that loan anymore.... despite that job stealing my soul. It's a vicious cycle; I hope you either get a random and huge raise or can stick it out or do what it takes to fix the situation :) I don't know what the best "good luck" wish for that situation is.

Date: 2016-11-23 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilmissmagic71.livejournal.com
Oh love-strange! I wish you tons of that... I have that and it's WAY cool... 28 years and counting. :)

Good entry!

Date: 2016-11-28 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you, and congratulations on your 28 years! I'm... currently sort of freaking out actually. Mike is starting to say things like "whatever will make you happy," and I'm like OH MY GOD BUT WHAT IF IT DOESN'T MAKE YOU HAPPY AND THEN YOU RESENT ME FOREVER?!?!

I'm not sure I understand love, is the problem. Oh well. Thanks for reading!

Date: 2016-11-23 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] interfaceleader.livejournal.com
Student loans are one of those things that -- we get them when we are too young to really understand or appreciate HOW MUCH MONEY it really is, or how interest works or ~anything~ and then it ends up being something that affects us for the rest of our life!

Your neighbour sounds wise -- I don't think it's *always* true, but certainly in new relationships the good and the easy should FAR outweigh the difficult.

Date: 2016-11-28 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
I almost feel it's this weird... not scam... but for me, my dad specifically basically did all the paperwork. I hadn't much wanted to go to college, so he talked me into it in the first place, and part of that was "making sure it got paid for no matter what" which turns out to be "sign your name here and here to get your $30k of student loans!" Luckily I got a lot of scholarships; I paid for books and sundries out of pocket, so in a sense, that first $30k was necessary, but... yeah. I was 18. I'd never had a credit card. I had no idea how much the loan total would end up being, how the repayment worked, anything. Then of course I went to grad school a bit and signed up fully knowing what a shitfest it was but doing it anyway ;) So that second half of the debt is all on me!

That neighbor was very kind and wise; I miss her. I do agree that some amount of work is necessary in life, but if it feels like you're beating your head against a wall in a relationship, a new one especially, best to reevaluate the situation and why you're there.

Date: 2016-11-23 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
College debt is ridiculous and only seems to get worse.
My daughter recently had to assume a car loan. (Her original car was totaled in a hit-and-run. (Other driver had no insurance.) Geiko was very fair in pricing out the worth of her "tin can", so she had a decent downpayment for her new car, but still...the new loan was not something she'd planned on. At least she got the new car she wanted.

Date: 2016-11-28 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
I'm sorry to hear that about her car; I hope she was okay in the accident? In Oregon, a driver is required to carry insurance - though not everybody does, at least it makes it somewhat better if you DO get in a car accident, because you're generally assuming the other person has insurance as well.

This is my first car loan, and man, do I hate it. I don't know if you were reading when I first got it (probably not, it was almost 5 years ago), but I hadn't driven for quite some time, and my car salesman friend got me this $0 down, 0% interest deal. My monthly payments are high, but I'm at least paying the exact amount of the car and not watching the interest rack up on this one (I may have been misleading in my entry about that, oops). Otherwise, naw, I wouldn't have done it. Or just bought a used car somewhere.

This is a bit nosy/bossy maybe, but one thing, if your daughter doesn't already have it, is to check and see if her insurance has "loan repayment" as an option. If, god forbid, she gets in another accident and her car is totaled, that extra coverage will pay off whatever loan amount she has left. Mine is like an extra $3 a month for that coverage. Now I'm sliding into home base with the loan, I may take it off, but it's pretty reassuring to have.

Thanks for reading!

Date: 2016-11-29 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
Not sure if she has that on the newer car, but possibly. Luckily she, her hub and friends were nowhere near the car when it was totaled. It was parked at the train station, and they were in Chicago for a long weekend.Ohio has the same law re having insurance. This other driver had no license, no insurance and claimed to be "borrowing" a car b/c she did not have a car of her own. : P

Date: 2016-11-26 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
I hope the love proves real and strong. I had to pay off a student load, and it felt great. I also hope you succeed with your comfort zone.

Date: 2016-11-28 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you for all that :) I'm now freaking out and questioning all my decisions, which is par for the course ;) And congrats on paying off your student debt!

Date: 2016-11-27 02:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-17bingo.livejournal.com
So what did I do after I paid off this student loan? I bought a car. With a loan.

It is so easy to do this kind of thing. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't.

Date: 2016-11-28 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
I did forget to put in the entry that at least it was a $0 down, 0% interest loan, which was awesome - but that made the payments pretty high, much higher than my student loan payment on that one loan had been.... but it was so easy to think I had extra money! Oh well.

Thanks for reading :)

Date: 2016-11-28 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
I think there is a lot of power in understanding yourself and knowing when you create pitfalls that could be avoided. These are patterns that probably would never change if you weren't aware of them, but knowing this gives you the power to do something about it.

Including reframing your perspective on what life can be, both day-to-day and over the long term. Good luck as you go forward with this. It's a great step.

Date: 2016-11-28 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
I hope you're right; I've had 2 different therapists tell me I seem very self-aware, which I'm a tad smug about, but one of my big discouraging feelings is that I don't recognize I'm doing the same old thing very well... and when I do, like if I'm in the process of making a mistake, I blithely ignore it. /big heaving sigh

Thank you for reading :) and thank you for the insight and luck, I want to keep the idea in my head that I've got the power to make changes. I really appreciate that part.

Date: 2016-11-29 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baxaphobia.livejournal.com
Some of the biggest relief in my life was when I paid off both my mortgage and my student loans!

Date: 2016-11-29 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] my-name-is-jenn.livejournal.com
Student loans are the worst. I keep making my monthly payments, but the total I still owe is SO MUCH HIGHER than my mind tells itself they should be. I've been paying $200 every month since 2008. Why do I still owe so much!?!?!

I hate that "completely dissatisfied with myself and my life choices" is my comfort zone, but there it is

This is my comfort zone, too.

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