Lost Luggage

I was in some form of debt for nearly 20 years.

The last three years of my life have been dedicated to radical debt eradication.

I didn’t realize it at the time – but debt was kind of like my baby.

I thought about it constantly.

I would strategize about how to pay it down.

I would run numbers in my head.

I had a running calculation everytime I spent money.

Or made money.

I was obsessed.

This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It kept me passionate.

It kept me focused.

It provided momentum and motivation.

For years.

And then…  all of a sudden it was over.

Being debt-free doesn’t feel like what I had imagined.

Nothing is left.

No problem to be solved.

I don’t owe anything anymore.

There is such a foreign sense of relief.

And, at the same time, there’s a sense of confusion – almost a lack of identity.

What the hell am I going to think about now?

Who am I – if I’m not trying to pay off this debt?

I wasn’t expecting this experience on the other side of debt.

I was expecting huge relief. A feeling of abundance and freedom.

And don’t get me wrong. Those were there too.

But what I really felt like…

Was I had just landed at the arrival gate for a fabulous trip.

And I had lost my luggage.

There’s a thrill of having everything gone.

Knowing that I can replace it all with new bright and shiny things.

I could replace the old faded sundresses.

And the pair of heels with nicks on the straps.

I could replace the worn out sweater.

The jacket that’s been washed too many times.

But, there’s a sense of strange loss.

Even when you lose things that you don’t want anymore.

These things had defined me.

They were my story for so long.

And then they were gone.

And by losing them on purpose.

I had set myself free to find a new story.

Free to choose my own life.

I did not need this luggage.

I didn’t even want it.

I was just so used to carrying it.

And for the first time – I was allowed to put it down.

Leave it behind.

And walk straight into my future.

What I’ve realized:

I have lost my luggage. On purpose.

And I am free to travel without my old shoddy past.

I am free to choose new things.

I am free to choose new stories.

I am free to travel.

Without baggage.

And that.

Is sweet freedom.

This post was originally published on www.meadowdevor.com

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One Response to “Lost Luggage”

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  1. JMK says:

    Nicely put!
    I too wonder about how I’ll focus and prioritize once the mortgage is done and the retirement accounts are at the level I’ve calculated we’ll need. Will I actually walk away from my career in December 2020 as I keep telling myself? Everything we do (or don’t do) is part of the greater plan aimed at early retirement, but once we’ve reached the spot on the spreadsheet that says it will work, will I actually be able to walk away from a good salary, and trust that my calculations are correct?
    I’m very much a planner – my family tease me, but then rely me to have everything organized. I figure a spreadsheet is required for most things in life. I schedule the “unscheduled time” in my vacation plans. Sounds insane I know, but if I’m going to divert major dollars from the retirement plan to take a trip, you can bet I’m going to plan out every detail to maximize what we see and do.
    Once the mortgage is done and the retirement accounts are at goal, we plan to work for about 2 more years to fund one last round of house repairs and improvements and replace the vehicles. We don’t want to start into retiremetn with any known large expenditures on the horizon. We also plan to have a completely separate retirement travel fund set up above and beyond having enough savings/investments for regular living expenses. Finishing off that fund may require us to work one additional year. Then comes the tough part. We’ll have done everything we said needed to be done in order to retire early. After spending decades building our careers and working hard for promotions and bonuses, I keep wondering if we’ll really be able to suddenly chuck it all and walk away. Only time will tell I guess. In the meantime we have our financial plan, our lists of priorities, and target dates for completion. I suspect as the time draws near I may resort to a different sort of plan or list. A retirement plan may be just the thing for my personality: trips taken, hobbies attempted, courses taken, etc etc. Maybe for me retirement will need to involve a different sort of plan, where everything on it is done for enjoyment or personal growth and not necessarily for financial gain.

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