Yesterday was the celebration of my home country’s independence. I did a lot out of my normal everyday routines to celebrate with friends and family. (It was mostly just family this year, actually.) I went to multiple parties, watched fireworks, attended a town parade, ate a lot of food I normally wouldn’t eat, and listened to my neighbor’s loud party music late into the night.
Generally I feel pretty free living in my country and that’s a great feeling. I don’t feel trapped by my government at all. The only trappings I feel are pretty much all self-imposed. Some restrictions make me feel good, like most of my dietary outline. Some restrictions make me feel bad, like the burden of debt.
This Independence Day I reminded myself about and felt grateful for my freedom. I also took a look at how I wanted to, and could be, more independent. The first blaring thing that came to mind was my and my husband’s debt.
We don’t have any credit card debt, which I am happy about. We are able to pay off each card monthly. Although, I would really like to not worry about paying off multiple cards off each month. Eventually, I want to get it down to just one credit card. And then maybe even no card. And just pay for things with a debit card or cash. Make paying for something a one-time event, to clear my mind and time for other things. That sounds like freedom to me.
We do have a lot of student loan debt, though. Hindsight is 20/20(ish) and we would have done things differently if we could go back to before our college days. But we have student loans to pay off now. We are working extra hard to pay off more than the minimums each month so we can pay them down and be done with them as soon as possible. Our loans constitute four additional payments, nearly 43%, of our essential monthly expenses (because it is essential to pay off debt). And we already paid off two!
And there are other little things that I don’t feel free about yet. Digital folders and a physical box filled with under-appreciated photos. A laptop in such disrepair that it can only be used as a desktop. An attic and basement with piles of un-utilized things. But these do not hinder my life everyday. I will sort these things out, hopefully soon, as I get better at minimalism.
There are habits that I would like to be free from as well. Like going to the bookstore to pick something out just because they sent me a coupon. Like going to any shops at all on Independence Day (I don’t want those people to be working the consumer grind when they should be at home celebrating and/or relaxing with friends and family). Like browsing the internet just because I have a few spare minutes.
I’m glad that I do have the freedom and the time to think about these things, though. That means that I have the freedom and the time to do something about the things I want to change. That’s empowering. That’s awesome.