Ok, being in debt sucks, a lot, but hear me out.
You guessed it, I am in huge debt thanks to financing my entire master’s degree through a student loan. Will I ever pay it back? I’m hopeful 🙂 I have many days–and nights–where I go into a panic thinking about my massive debt. I haven’t started making payments so it is easy to forget it is there, but as the time approaches for that first instalment, I freak. Being slaved to a bill that size is daunting and anything but fun. I panic even more when I realise that I am thousands of miles away from home without a job where I can afford to make the payments. What was I thinking?! Seriously, as I have to think about my predicament to write this post my heart begins to race. The wise decision would have been to never take out such a loan. Or if I must, I should have gotten a financially sound job months ago. Instead? I am in Thailand, nearly living paycheck to paycheck (if I travel a lot). I don’t even think I can even afford my plane ticket home (credit cards to the rescue!). But yet, I am hopeful. Although perhaps my decisions have not been wise, I can truthfully say that I have never–not for one second–regretted my decision to be in debt.
I am in debt not because I bought a fancy car, or went on a crazy shopping spree. I don’t believe that material things are a sound cause for debt. I am in debt because I financed my schooling. To me, education is everything. I don’t just mean classroom education, but also the kind of education you get when traveling or exposing yourself to new things. I am in debt because I chose to be in debt to get a master’s degree in something that I love. I am in debt because I chose to travel to different countries and learn about their histories, culture and people. I am in debt because I chose to spend a few months teaching abroad to expand my educational knowledge in hopes of bringing home a more knowledgeable me.
Perhaps some will think that none of these are good enough reasons to be in such debt. Perhaps they are right. But when I start to freak out about my student loan, I remember how lucky I am that I even had the opportunity to be in debt. Some people don’t have the luxury to take out a loan to educate themselves. Some people don’t have the luxury to travel the world. Some people are thrown into debt thanks to unfortunate circumstances. I have the luxury to be in debt not because something bad happened to me or my family but because I chose to. For that, I am thankful and appreciate the opportunities the money I now owe have brought me the past year. Of course if I now have a financial crisis I’m pretty much screwed, but I won’t focus on that now. I am hopeful that my education and experiences that have come thanks to my debt prove to be financially fruitful.