Fatherhood: Week Six - The Past Is A Prison (Of Debt)

    Temperatures in Phoenix were hovering in the 90s this week. Dear reader, you can laugh all you want, but when temperatures are that low in Arizona in the last week in June, you take advantage.

    My wife and I seized the opportunity Mother Nature afforded us. We took our son out for a walk to local restaurant down the street. It felt good to finally get out of the house. Between a nasty sinus infection last week and the extreme heat warning Phoenix was under, I felt like I was being held hostage in my apartment. I can only imagine how my wife felt. It was nice to grab a beer and a burger and enjoy the outdoors.

    While the weather made us feel free, my hefty student loan debt has me feeling trapped in an entirely different way. My monthly income-based loan payment is going up significantly in a few months. My family needs a car and a couch. 

    Despite all my efforts to become a freelance writer and stay-at-home dad, my dream has slipped through my fingers due to our financial obligations. The mistakes of my youth have come back to haunt me. Unless a miracle happens in a few weeks, I do not see myself leaving my day job.

    I love the benefits and security my day job affords me, but it does not utilize the skills I learned when getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. I regret not finishing school when I should have. I wish I had thought more about how my decisions then would affect me now. If the last few days in my head were a night at the karaoke bar from hell, everyone would be singing “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher. Very badly. 

    Despite the frustration and regret I feel, there’s also some relief. With fewer options to choose from, my wife and I are able to make some important personal and financial decisions that have been looming since the birth of our son. We now have a clearer picture of how we will care for him. Daycare is going to be a must, and I feel lucky we prepared for that possibility so early on.

    It dawned on me that it’s time to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Focus and ambitiousness is starting to take over me. I wish my aspirations were directed toward the job I want instead of the job I have. Considering what that future could hold in November, I should just be lucky I have a job at all. 

    It’s not giving up. It’s giving in (a little).