Money, prosperity, and abundance: the true meaning of financial freedom

image Warning: rambling ahead.

I’m almost completely out of debt, and as I come into the homestretch I’ve been thinking a lot about money, prosperity and abundance and what it means to me.

I actually grew up pretty poor. I basically lived in the projects….our neighbors were always fighting (one time my mom had to go to the hospital because our neighbor punched her in the face), our neighbors downstairs grew marijuana, there were needles on the playground, people shot at the sign at the entrance to our apartment complex…..

I was also the only child of a single parent. My mom was in debt until I graduated from high school (she made it her goal to get out by that time and she did it!!) We were always on foodstamps and always having to put things back at the register.

All that means is: I was raised knowing the value of things. I knew how to pick out good things from the clearance rack & I knew even though we were on foodstamps we were gonna get the good tuna (save the dolphins!!)

When I graduated from high school, I went to a private college two separate years and left both times because the idea of going into so much debt and not even knowing what I wanted to DO with my life was completely crippling.

It took me 7 years after graduating highschool to find my calling. I took years off in between and traveled the world and worked. I went to massage school in 2011. & then I went back to community college and got my associates degree (for free because I was poor….yay FAFSA!).

So I have been in debt since 2004 and I was just ignoring it and hoping it would go away…. until October 2013.

Thankfully it was only $16,649 total. Some kids go to school for ONE YEAR and end up with more than that.

The fact that young kids are pushed into 4-year universities and saddled with such a gross amount of debt is despicable.

When I graduated from highschool I was a very smart kid so I figured I’d go to a 4-year uni….I didn’t even know what loans meant!! They just pushed papers at me.

I think every student should be required to take a finance class before graduation.

Anyway, in October 2014  I decided it was time to become serious about my debt.

Now, in January 2015 I only have a little over $3000 left to pay off.

As I head into a finally financially secure future, I actually feel a little intimidated.

First, I feel kinda guilty. Here I am, 28.5 years old and I will be debt free. There are so many people who are like $80k+ in debt and will never have the luxury of feeling financially free: To have that weight lifted off their shoulders… see an ending in sight.

I also feel a little scared. Freedom is scary. I imagine this must be what it’s like getting out of prison. Yes there’s open air but you are suddenly so responsible for your future.  You have to make sure you don’t mess it up, again.

Money has always been something I didn’t have enough of…my favorite phrase was always, “I can’t afford that.”
Im known for my ability to walk around stores picking things up and then putting them all back.

Now, my money will actually be MINE. And I want to give it away.

Generosity is something I’ve always appreciated.  The idea of people paying for the person behind them, or leaving huge tips for their waitress, has always tugged at me. The way some people feel called to adopt, I’ve always felt called to be generous. So, with my new responsibility I want to be able to take people out to lunch and say, “don’t worry, it’s on me!”

I want to give to charities that stand up for things that I believe are worthy causes like women’s literacy in Asia, and clean drinking water in Guatemala.

I believe the saying that true financial freedom comes from being generous.

So, going into 2015 I’m already practicing being generous and unclenching my fists. I am excited to watch this new chapter in my life unfold.