It's my life. It's now or never.

I finally hit bottom this week. Everyone's bottom is different. (hehehe. No, seriously.) I thought I'd been to mine many times, but no situation was ever alarming enough to motivate me to make actual change in my life. I've made some pretty stupid choices, choices that make some great stories I'll never tell my grandkids, and you'd think some of those times would have been my bottom, but no.

My bottom = On January 1, 2012, I maxxed out my credit card. I have $14,000.00 worth of credit card debt, and no idea how I'm going to pay it back.

Now, once again, in comparison to some of the stupid shit I've done in the past six months, hitting my credit card limit may not seem like it would be that big of a deal. But it is.

And here's why: being in debt scares me like I've never been scared before.

I'm terrible at managing money. I'm not overly fond of "things" or possessions: I don't drive a flashy car; I don't wear designer clothes; I live a pretty modest lifestyle. But I fritter away money like it's a talent, and I don't make much money to begin with. Ever since my first divorce, I've used my credit card to supplement my income; meaning at whatever point I run out of money for the month, I just switch over to ye olde magical Visa. And yes, I think I DO want to go to NYC! VISA. Las Vegas?! VISA. Chicago? VISA. Oh, don't worry, I'll pick up the tab for our pizza/beer/movie tickets! VISA. Put that Roc's tab on my VISA! Let's treat ourselves to Cracker Barrel/Red Lobster/Olive Garden/KoFusion/What's Cookin every single weekend! VISA. Four dollar coffee everyday, sometimes twice day! VISA. Yahoo! It's not REAL money! It's just my VISA!

The reality has finally kicked in that this little card is not a limitless fountain of money. I have been charging more than I've been paying on it for some time, and now my time is up. No more easy out. Nowhere to turn if it's only the 5th and I'm already broke. I've known for a long time that I need to change my spending habits, but I've known it in a back-of-my-head way, the same way I know I should probably lose weight, and I should really start keeping my house cleaner, and really, I should probably eat out less often. Ending my reliance on my credit card has been just one in a very long list of things I'm going to do, you know...when I get my shit together...someday. In some bright, shiny future, where I'm a better version of myself, I'll have my credit card paid off. I'm sure of it.

It never really occurred to me in a visceral, real way that in order for that bright, shiny future, better version of me to manifest, I actually have to make changes NOW. I can wait around for the benevolent faeries to come at night and pay my credit card bill and clean my house, and cook great meals, and give me liposuction while I sleep, but...chances are I'll be waiting a damn long time. It ain't gonna happen unless I make it happen.

It has finally sunk in that if I expect to grow, I need to first plant seeds. So here are my seeds:
  1. I cut up my credit card.
  2. I started the Couch to 5K program in a bid to get more (and by "more" I mean "any at all") exercise and maybe even shed some of these extra pounds.
  3. I went grocery shopping for real food and have vowed not to eat out more than once a week.
  4. I've made a vow not to date anyone until I've reached some of my life goals and am happy with my self first. No more losing myself in someone else so that I can ignore the work I need to do on me.
If I don't plant the seeds now and do the work to help them sprout and grow, my future me is going to be the same as my past me. I've met her, and frankly, I don't really like her all that much.

Here's to Rachel 2.0. Working towards a better version of me.


Kai said...

I'm so glad you chose to plant the seeds, instead of continuing on as you have been. I know that path of debt-destruction, I'm still in recovery mode. Our reasons are different, the debt load is different, but it's no less stressful and it's important to recognize the behavior. What's that AA creed? The first step is admitting... well.. you've admitted. Now, go, girl, go! You can do it and I'm cheering you on!

chksngr said...

Ummm...so...I'm so sorry, but I'm just getting to reading some of my older bloggy feeds...and I just read this. I am so very very HAPPY for you. Because I believe REAL change happens out of desperation, when our "wants" become "musts." I'm very very proud of you for STARTING and taking one step. All the steps add up and you will look back a year from now or even just a MONTH and say "WOW! Look how far I've come!!!"