$40,000 in Debt and Zero Regret

I am an educated man. My education cost me over $60,000. That is insanely expensive. If I pay month to month according to my intensive budget, I will be out of debt by the time I am 32-years-old. I entered college at 18.

I did not want to attend college. I fought my parents tooth and nail. They gave me an ultimatum; go to college or get out of the house now.

There are people in this world who are mature adults by age 18. I was not one. At 27, I am just now starting to see a couple hairs on my chest. I’m still praying for the beard.

At 18, I was not ready to be out in the world on my own. My brain was far from fully developed. It was certainly not capable of making sound decisions. So my parents made the decision for me; the $60,000 decision.

They had every right to do so. The law declares that 18-years is the age of adulthood.

I could be upset, and sometimes it does seem unfair. Trust me when I say that debt is nothing short of slavery. But ultimately, I am content with what I got out of the deal.

I learned more during my four years of undergrad than I expect to learn for the rest of my life. That alone may not be worth the debt. The real value lies in what I learned; things that I would not have learned if I had moved out at 18. I learned so much, and so fast that I could actually feel myself getting smarter.

I learned Latin which helped me immensely with English. I learned the beautiful meaning of “ars gratia artis.”

I stood in front of classrooms giving speech after speech until my hands no longer shook and my voice no longer quivered.

I learned to draw, and understood the joy of “flow.”

I went to parties. I learned that I am good at socializing, and better at aggravating people. I learned that when you are dancing with the prettiest girl in the room, you damn well better get her number because you might not have another chance.

I learned about people who changed the world with art. J.S. Bach dedicated every piece he wrote to God. Long after he was dead, his music sparked a massive Christian movement in Japan. Vincent Van Gogh painted Starry Night from his room in an insane asylum, reminding us that beauty can be found anywhere. J.D. Salinger wrote Catcher in the Rye and shone a bright light on the definition of humanity. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, warned us about forgetting that definition.

I learned who I am. I learned what I am made of.

I learned how to work, how to achieve, and how to handle stress. I learned so much more than all of the above.

I grew.

Now, as I drag the heavy chains of debt, I grow more. Nothing sprouts growth like good old fashioned struggle.

As I face my struggles, I have a massive, solid foundation upon which to stand.

No, I don’t regret any of it.

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