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The Day I Decided to Change My Life

I remember it like it was yesterday instead of roughly five years ago. I had just parked my car in my apartment's designated parking space, and I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to change my life.


Though I had just graduated with my doctorate a few months earlier and was now in my career, at this point, I felt like a failure because of the looming debt I was in. To be fair, I was never taught how to manage money, and living paycheck to paycheck was my (and everyone's) standard, but something deep within me encouraged me to go in the other direction.


After I turned off my engine, I scrolled through my phone, looking for people to call who could help me out of my situation. I didn't need them to give me money; I needed wisdom and strategy. Two people came to mind as I scrolled: my cousin, an accountant, and my aunt, a senior banking vice president. I called them both.


While I don't remember the entire conversation, I do remember saying, "I can't live like this." I was vulnerable with them. I told them the truth about how I got into my current financial situation and how it made me feel. I showed them my finances and remembered feeling naked, ashamed, and exposed. Those conversations were good for me because they began my pivot.


What I remember most about those moments on the phone with my family members was their willingness to help and not judge. They were willing to meet me where I was and give me a strategy based on where I told them I wanted to go, but I had to be honest.


My spending was out of control because I was doing so emotionally. I was the queen of retail therapy when I really needed to be in psychotherapy. I was the queen of "I deserve this" even though I didn't have the purchasing money. Ultimately, my spending habits revealed the conditions of my heart, and it was in bad shape.


Fast forward to about five years later.


If you had told me that I would be in the financial situation I'm in now just five years later, I wouldn't have believed you. The thought of not living paycheck to paycheck didn't feel like it would ever be my reality. To be able to make decisions peace-based instead of need-based seemed like it was only for others and not for me, but none of that was true. Those things were for me, too, but I had to work hard to change my habits and thoughts toward money. <