I wish I had a photo to show you of my first apartment and the 50 pairs of shoes I crammed into it.
Back in 2002, cellphones were used to make calls and I didn't have a regular camera.
20 years old with my own apartment. And a car. I had finished college and was making a living doing what I loved.
I was also spending money as fast as I could earn it.
Nothing unusual for that age.
I would never consider myself irresponsible, ever. I took pride in being independent, resourceful and focused even back then.
I didn't ask my parents for anything, I made my own way in the world. I thrived on being an adult.
Do you remember Life Skills in high school? Who's life was that supposed to be, exactly?
I vaguely recall learning how to create a budget and how to write a cheque but come on, the minute you have any sort of freedom, you run with it.
I could go to the mall, any mall, whenever I wanted. I could eat out at restaurants.
I'd see a pair of shoes and think
'They would look AMAZING on my bedroom floor, piled underneath my clothes.'
Ring em up!
Because of the nature of my work, I never went backpacking through Europe or spent a year working in Australia.
I'd teach 10 months out of the year and do local gigs. During the summer months, I would drive around Western Canada to perform at fringe festivals and wedding ceremonies and certain tourist attractions.
|My favorite place to play my violin was on this pier in White Rock B.C. Now my favorite vacation spot.|
It was a perfect way to get a summer tan and make money and practice my violin all at the same time.
I loved it.
I felt accomplished.
I just didn't love my credit card statements.
That sense of dread when I'd check my mailbox, see the envelope, open it and wonder
'how many times did I really need a bagel from Tim Hortons?'
I was a fan of online banking so I knew what the balance of my chequing account was.
Money went in, money went out.
How much do I have to put towards my credit card?
How much do I want to put towards my credit card?
Oh but I want to go to the spa this weekend, I work so hard, I deserve this.
And so I would go to the spa.
The credit limit goes up, I spend more.
I get more students, more gigs, I buy more shoes.
I'm still paying my rent, my utility bills. My fridge and freezer are full of food I don't eat or even know how to cook properly.
I buy a new car, move to a bigger apartment, buy an electric violin, get more students.....buy more shoes...book a few more gigs....get a housekeeper to clean my apartment so I can find my shoes..
Credit card bill arrives.
" I owe HOW MUCH???????????"
Here's the thing.....
I wasn't even spending my money on good stuff.
"Quantity over quality" was my motto.
I shouldn't be so hard on my 20 yr old self. She was living with the best intentions. But the road to debt is paved with best intentions, is it not?
I thought I had something to prove. I did, I suppose, but this wasn't a case of keeping up with the Jones.
(The Kardashian's hadn't moved into the neighborhood yet.)
My friends were living very different lives, married, children on the way, or still going to school. And they didn't care what my wardrobe looked like or what kind of car I drove. I wasn't feeling pressure from them.
It was pressure from myself to achieve my every goal and desire by the age of 23. I wanted to be fabulous.
But, I was acting upon dreams that I didn't fully understand yet. I didn't have the clarity that develops from life experience.
I did know that I didn't want to be in the cycle of debt but I didn't see a way out of it.
Life threw me a bone, not in the form of a bunch of money (which would have been so much easier but I would have learned nothing) but in the form of desire.
Desire to completely quit the life I was leading, teaching and all, and get out and experience different things and build a rich life with a new understanding.
I was 25 when I started the overhaul. And boy, was it painful. Not fun for a couple of years until I found my footing, but I haven't had debt in over 10 years and I live a free life today.
So what did I have to do?
That's another 27 posts for another day.
I have to call my banker now to discuss a few things.
Almost an Author
Former Fantastic Violinist