Don’t worry–I still have another student loan that isn’t paid off because a full-tuition scholarship to a private university leaves you with room and board debt equaling that of a state school’s tuition. So paying off the loan isn’t something to be that excited about.
In fact, it’s not something to be excited about at all, really, considering I sort of regret doing it. I wasn’t planning on doing it either. I had called the loan company after receiving a confusing update letter to ask how much I had left to pay. The amount was depressingly high, but it was an amount I currently had in my bank account, so…I just decided to pay it off.
And now my bank account looks sad. And I feel sad, even knowing it was better to get rid of the debt rather than keep paying interest for the next decade (or more). Because that “cushion” I had saved up for one great business idea or one excellent vacation or one terrible emergency is now considerably smaller. The padding is very noticeably thinner, and that’s not something I’m comfortable with.
I’d rather have debt forever than have to worry about money the way I worried about it 7 years ago when I first moved to New York. My answer back then to every question anyone asked me about an event or activity was, “How much is it?” and then usually, “I can’t spend money right now.”
Living paycheck to paycheck was hard for me, but throughout it all, I rarely stopped to realize how lucky I was that I had a paycheck to live off of. It didn’t often cross my mind that some people had to try to stretch one paycheck or welfare check or whatever for months on end. I was too busy concentrating on my own plight, which was typically along the lines of, “How can I go out with my friends and still afford to buy groceries this week?” and not, “How can I afford to buy groceries this month?”
I was stupid, back then, for not noticing how lucky and prosperous having a job that paid me enough to afford ridiculous rent and modest food and furnishings made me.
And…I suppose I’m stupid now for feeling remorse at paying off a huge debt only 7 years after acquiring it. It is something to be excited about, being able to make ends meet and also lose a gigantic chunk of cash without losing any part of my typical lifestyle.
What I’m saying is, I’m stupid but lucky.