Change Your Life, One Day at a Time

To preface this, I should have started this blog a long time ago.

I wrote my first post with the intention to start a blog in 2014. Seven months later, and I am finally picking up where I left off. It seems only fitting that I write about how much has changed over the last year, as this is a topic that has frequented my mind lately.

I am in the start of my career, not as an intern, but as a respected and valued part of a team; a colleague, an associate. Though it is not a career I ever planned on (the theme of my life is nothing goes as planned), I am passionate about my work. It energizes me, and when I leave at the end of the day with a full schedule for tomorrow, I look forward to returning.

It is surprsing indeed how alike journalism is to my current role. Many of my journalistic skills are applicable to the work I do. In this way, I am satiated and happy.

Last year, of course, I was lost. Trying desperately to figure out my life and control what would happen. It’s easier to just let go and believe that everything will be okay, because it usually is.

The past year has also put more space between my mom’s death and me. It has given me more time for acceptance, growth, and reflection. Each passing year, the gap widens. But grief is cyclical, and new phases of my life bring with them new cycles of grief. I will always want her. I will always miss her.

The change most prevalent in my life lately, though, is my acceptance of Debbie, my dad’s girlfriend. I am truly glad I opened my heart and let her into my life.

The biggest journey of the past year has been my journey out of debt. In 2013, I accumulated over $5,000 in credit card debt. It’s appalling. But it made me realize I have to change.

The change was slow and difficult. I made a plan, a budget, and I stuck to it. At first, it was just what I did. I didn’t enjoy it, or feel passionately about my choices. Still, I gritted my teeth and stuck with it.

But I have noticed slowly, over time, my mindset has changed. It is second nature to me now to reconsider before I buy anything. Do I want this? Do I need this? What value will this really add to my life? Can I afford it? Because, let me tell you something, you cannot afford anything when you are in debt.

On January 1, 2014, I made my very first serious New Year’s Resolution: Pay off my credit card by December 31, 2014. I sold the majority of my possessions online. I sold all of my designer handbags, save one. My iPod. Books I never read, perfume, hair products. I made $1,500 back.

I took a page out of Dave Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover, and withdrew my monthly budgeted allowance in cash, which I then divided into envelopes labeled for their purpose: Groceries, Gas, Personal Maintenance (aka manicures and pedicures), and Spending. I limit the latter to a mere $20 a week. And yes, I still follow this rule.

I pay more than 50% of my income to my credit card. But I will be out of debt in one month—Four months ahead of my goal.

My next step: Tackle my student loan debt.

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