I've thought of a million ways to format this post.
I've poured through the previous blog posts that laid the foundation for this announcement, analyzing what would most successfully share how we arrived at this half way point.
Ultimately though, I think simplicity is the best vessel.
Last night, with both boys in bed, Tony and I sat across from each other at our dinner table, and with a quick few keystrokes [here I go choking up again], we paid off the remainder of his student loan balance.
My husband no longer has student loan debt.
We are indebted to one less establishment.
I wasn't as emotional last night, as I knew we'd be making the payment this week and it was just a matter of action last night. Tony and I high fived and carried on. Today though, as I shared our news on facebook I was a messy puddle of tears.
I think that some missed the point entirely, as I did not specify that we paid it off early, but our financial journey towards a debt free life has been quite difficult, involving in-depth painful conversations and numerous sacrifices. It has been quite joyous as well, as our marriage has strengthened over a common goal outside of our relationship. This commitment is renewed daily, through simple choices, as we focus on our goal for our family.
I had a casual conversation a couple of weeks ago about our intention to pay off Tony's student loans, and eventually mine by next summer, and was met with "Oh, well you and your husband must make a lot more money than me!" It wasn't the time or place to educate my former classmate on the how's and why's, but what I wanted to tell him was this:
No, we actually don't make a lot of money. Like most everyone else, we still live paycheck to paycheck, but our money is specifically applied and portioned. We have nothing to show for the years we lived beyond our means, but have accomplished more in the last three years than the first half of our marriage. We have endured job loss, job changes and unemployment. We have relied heavily on the generosity and understanding of our friends and family. They have stood with us as we've had to diligently turn down nights out and vacation plans, instead enjoying evenings in and day trips out. We have borrowed not one, but two vehicles on their last legs to avoid adding a car payment that we would not have been able to afford.
We are not lucky.
We do not make a lot of money.
We are disciplined. We are employing the talents and health that God has given us.
We are blessed.
Any one can do this.
And next year, at roughly this same timeframe, the Lord willing, I will share that we are completely student loan free by paying off my debt.