Ive had the phrase "Gradually and then suddenly" floating around in my head lately.
Not because Ive been reading Hemingway, or thinking about going broke, or watching/reading Prozac Nation, or losing my mind.
I stand at the precipice of Financial Freedom. And in thinking about how Ive become free, the answer strikes me as: Gradually and then suddenly.
Almost Frugal posted about her Biggest Financial Fear today. Upon reading it, I had the realization that I feel relatively fearless financially. Its taken courage and hope to walk in the face of the terrible fears I faced over the last 10 months.
Just last year I was terrified. Despite making almost six figures and being single, I was treading on a slippery slope. 43k in cc debt. I lost my grip for a little while. There were a couple months where I couldnt pay my cc payments. The crushing reality settled in: what would happen to me if anything else went wrong? A real emergency could have probably ended with me living on the streets or in some similarly dire situation. In addition, family and friends who make far less were facing financial hardships I really wanted to be able to help with - but I was helpless.
I gradually turned it all around. I went on a cash diet. I committed myself to debt reduction. In 10 months Ive reduced that debt to about 3k, increased my income by 35%, lowered my cost of rent by 30%.
It is an ongoing effort to save, invest, and wisely enjoy my earnings. But I suddenly feel so much more fearless. I feel capable of ensuring my own health and security. I feel like I can help friends and family.
I feel courageous and free.