If someone told me in December 2014 that this would be my life in August 2017, I would have laughed in their face.
In December 2014, I was a struggling adjunct instructor. I was working between three different schools. I was bankrupt, and I still had $48,000 of student loan debt to pay off. I took a temporary office job over the holidays to make some extra money. I also started to write down what I really wanted in my life.
I wanted more freedom. I wanted a real career. I wanted a home of my own. I wanted travel and adventure.
As I sat at the desk of my temporary gig, I could see what I wanted, and it looked very, very far away.
Lately, in August 2017, I have been experiencing a longing. I am living in the question of what to do next.
I am perplexed by what’s next, because everything that seemed so far away in December 2014 is now my reality. I have arrived.
Once you arrive, it is important to enjoy the destination. I am struggling to do so. I do feel grateful for the ease and freedom of my academic schedule. I am grateful for my full-time teaching job, my academic career, and my current surge of creative writing. I am grateful that I started blogging. I like my little house. I am hyperaware of the scope of my recent travels.
The longing is for even MORE freedom. More travel. More writing. Yet, I feel trapped. My monthly mortgage payment just increased again. My annual savings rate is low, and my savings are thin. I cannot see the next destination because I’m not sure what it is. I’m afraid to see it, because once I know, I’m fearful I won’t have the resources (and savings) to pursue it.
In this time of longing, I am feeling desperate to make something happen. I felt very much like I was stagnating.
Then, I looked back.
I thought of December 2014 and how impossible debt freedom seemed. A real academic career seemed impossible, too. I didn’t have the income or savings then to think that I could make my dreams a reality. That’s where I started.
And here I am. Debt free (except for the mortgage.) A homeowner. A full-time professor. A traveler, again. A storyteller. An arts advocate. An essayist. A blogger. A grateful participant in a magnificent life.
I don’t have to know what the next destination is. I do have to keep moving forward. I will continue to save. I will continue to write because it is part of my dream. I will let the next adventure reveal itself.
I think it has, and it is terrifying. In the best way.
I would not believe I could do it if I didn’t look at how far I’ve come. If I can turn December 2014 into the life of August 2017, then I can do it.
I am looking back to gain confidence in moving forward.
I’ve come a long way, which means I can go further.
You can, too.