So, I’m 5 months in to a Clothes-Buying Fast. That’s right, I haven’t bought clothes with my money* since the beginning of October. No beautiful crisp-leather Steve Madden booties, no Old Navy pullovers, no lovely, overpriced, “this dress is a little too short, but i’ll wear tights dress” from Francescas, no new Nike’s even though my toes are popping out of my shoes. I’ve spent the last 5 months wearing out the clothes in my current closet.
And you know what?
Some of my fabrics are wearing thin. One particular item is my awesome, polyester-sinthetic fiber, breathable, stretchy, deliciously black yoga straight legs from Target. (that’s pronounced like Tar-Jay in my family) You know the pair you wear to the gym on your fat days because it hides your cellulite? But also the pair you wear with an oversized sweater and lace-up boots when you’re feeling hipster? And coincidentally enough, the same black work out pants you wore to work on a Tuesday and told everyone they were “dress yoga pants” (don’t look that up, it’s a real thing). Well, i’ve worn out this particular pair of yoga pants, and i’ve got a hole right on the waistband of my pants. I’ve taken to washing them on the gentle cycle because i’m not a seamstress, and since I can’t just go buy new pants until Next October (freaking Next October, hardest thing for an American girl whose spent her whole “adult” life working at the Buckle and buying stuff on the daily).. well i’m kinda just hoping no one will notice the hole….
All stories begin with a beginning.
All good stories begin with minute details, which at first thought are perceived to be unimpressive or nothing outstandingly extraordinary; however, these details have a way of bringing a person to life for us, or a conflict, or a dialogue, and once the narrative is set:
Boom. The beginning of a good story.
I will not presuppose that what you are about to read is a good story- your eyes might have already glazed over. In fact, you may be looking for the catchy title “Here’s 1001 ways to be a millionaire by your mid twenties,” “92 unbelievable cat pictures, # 77 will shock you!!” You may be waiting on the part where I say something exceedingly scandalous or the #sorrynotsorry or “here’s how Jesus saved me from my boring life testimony, you’ll never guess the ending.” If those things are what you are waiting for, stop reading. This isn’t for you.
But if you’re still reading this, I want to make my purpose very clear to you.
My aim, for my 24th year of life, is to create something, anything, that will make a difference AND jet-rocket-propel me out of the stale, boring, productivity-laden, metrics-driven, never ending cycle of bill paying, going to the same job everyday, and day dreaming about my next vacation day trap.
You see, if you’re like me, and I’ll wager there are a many people out there like me– you probably came from nothing. Your parents don’t have their names up in lights- sure they’re good people, but they’re no Payton Manning, no Taylor Swift, no Barak Obama, no Condolezza Rice. (Can you believe I used all those people in the same sentence?) You were likely told, in regard to going to college, that if you didn’t get a degree– there’s no way you’d ever get a job. Which is funny to think about now, considering I already was working a job back then. Well I signed up for the “foot-the-bill later” private Christian University experience and Can you guess that part about footing the bill?
Well, the bill sucks. Now, before you go all “Here’s another millennial person who won’t get a real job and pay off her debts” on me—– HERE ME OUT.
My college experience was one of the most fundamental times of my life. I fell in love with life, people, travelled places, opened my eyes, asked big questions, and was rewarded for the seeking. It was all an experiment really, all those unanswered questions. College was for me, a time of forming relationships, fostering a passion for learning, and just exploring who I was and the world as she was given to me.
But the other side of that world, the part about my parent’s making too much money to qualify for any grants, but yet, not having saved any money for me to attend school….The part about deciding Freshman year I wanted to be a doctor, only to flunk out of basic Chemistry and lose the only scholarship money I had? Those lessons were bought lessons, and let me tell you, I am paying for them now.
In the spirit of transparency, I pay out $1100 dollars each month for my student loans- $350 go towards federal loans while $750 go to private student loans. That is exactly 31.42 % of my pre-taxed salary, and post-taxed income that is a whopping 42.63 % of my income. (Dave Ramsey would laugh at me) Now, I consider myself blessed, having a career in sales because I’m fortunate enough to work my keister off each month to earn a 1% in commission over my profit dollars to the company. (does this sound sarcastic? because actually, it isn’t. I love that my income depends upon my merit, performance, and drive.) The owner of my company agreed to compensate me for taking risks, and I, personally love him for taking a chance on me being as asset, or potentially even a liability all for the sake of letting me try my hand at this thing. But, let me tell you something i’ve learned in the 2 years I’ve been in the Steel industry as a saleswoman-
The market is volatile. Everything is more expensive and more risky than you think it is, and everything will go differently than you imagined it.
SOOOO, what exactly was the point of telling you all of that, exactly? Only this- I intend to make a life, not a living. I intend to pay back those loans in five years, yes I said five. And one day, i’ll live in a new city, and I’ll be speaking a new language, and I’ll be looking to interface and create in an ever-changing market. And as I’m writing this, I know those desires are like seeds in your own soul, that dream you had as a kid, that idea you once told your friends only to be laughed at, that one time you risked everything to make something only to have everyone ridicule you?
You and I are cut from the same cloth. You may be like me, pushing yourself to deny your wants in order to maximize your resources. So you’re doing foolish things like foregoing the satisfaction of wearing a brand-new outfit for a year. You may pass by Starbucks in the morning, only to turn around, pull in the drive-thru then back your way out again because you know those $5 dollars could be spent better somewhere else. You may be working two jobs, pushing yourself in school, promising your kids a better life than the one you had. You may be like me, working a job you love and enjoy but still dreaming for more. You may hate your job, cursing your boss daily, and asking God to die. We are all fabrics of sort, being fashioned into something. You may be wearing thin. You may have holes you don’t want anyone to see. You may be like me. Maybe you are not like me. But I think, for most of us, lost in the tiny details and distractions of life, we’re apt to miss that this particular moment, this day above all days, might be the beginning of your story. Nothing extraordinary, nothing outwardly impressive.
Until It is.
*I have received clothes as gifts for my birthday and Christmas, so it isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, but for me it’s the worst. Just in the spirit of real honesty, especially for the friends/family who went shopping with me for those gifts. You know who you are.