My Debt Free Graduation

My Miata

Last Thursday I made my final payment toward my college loans, paying them off completely. I’m now debt free!

I graduated from Auburn in 2009 with a total student debt of around $26,000. The weight of this debt seemed crushing. Before I could venture into the world and discover unique and exciting ways to live, I felt I had to get this debt out of the way. My payments were $300 a month, and that seemed like an enormous obstacle to my freedom.

I saved up enough money to pay off my largest and highest-interest loan (6.8% interest!) and… bought a car instead. My 2008 Mazda3 was an excellent car at a decent price, but the purchase resulted in having more debt to pay off (about $9,000 more!)

Early in 2011, I finally came to the realization that being debt free really was a major goal of mine, and I ought to pursue it with all I had. So I started making extra payments on my car as often as I could. I moved to a smaller, cheaper apartment. I sold a couple hundred dollars of my junk (while donating a large portion of it to Goodwill.)

I paid the car off in April 2011, moved to a smaller apartment in June, and then sold the car in July for an older, cheaper, higher smiles per gallon Mazda Miata. I took the profit from the car swap and applied it directly to that largest, highest-interest loan I avoided paying in the year previous. I cut my expenses down as far I felt I could, and applied every penny I could to paying off my remaining loans.

After a peak of around $34,000 of debt, I am now debt free! Not only do I have my diploma, but I’ve also paid for it. February 9, 2012 was my graduation day.

Here a list of blogs that inspired me and kept me motivated throughout the debt payoff process:

Now that I’m done with debt, I feel free to pursue more exciting goals. It’s a little scary not to have a single financial goal anymore, as it means I need to solidify my plan for saving for my future, purchasing a house, and funding my dreams.

Even though the sheer number of possibilities seems dauntingly endless, I’m excited about my debt-free future!

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Algorithm of Love

I believe I can fly

I recently asked out a friend of mine that I greatly admire. She said no, but I wasn’t hurt or upset. I think she made the best decision for herself, and I continue to admire her and wish her the best.

Prompted in part by that experience, I felt it was important to clarify in my mind (and perhaps in others) what I believe about dating and relationships. This is my dating manifesto.
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Twilight Zone

I’m sitting down today and for the first time in what seems like forever my mind is quiet. I’m tired, and enjoying the twilight zone that washes over me me when I’m too tired to want anything more, and am instead content with the limitations of my consciousness, ready to surrender to the tide of sleep.

It’s not often I’m here, but whenever I am, I tend to linger too long. All day is push push push. Fight fight fight. Search and struggle. Go deeper. Find more meaning. Want it harder. To be ready to sleep is a delicacy.
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2011 In Review

Inspired by Tynan’s excellent 2011 post, I decided to follow suit with my own year-end progress report.

Quick Stats:

Stat Start/first half of 2011 End/last half of 2011
Debt $34,000 (24k college, 10k car) $2,300 (car paid off, 1 college loan remains)
Car 2008 Mazda3 1999 Mazda Miata
Apartment 2br/2ba (expensive!) 1br/1ba (much less expensive!)
Tumbling Roundoff back handspring, back tuck, front tuck, back layout. Same as before, plus: layout stepout, gainer flash, aerial front walkover, aerial cartwheel, side flip.
Miles Driven in Car 7,000 (estimate) 4,000 (estimate)
Body weight 135 pounds 135 pounds (now with more muscle!)
Annual cost of living $33k (estimate) $20k (estimate)

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Two Things

Snowy trees from February 2010

In order for you to solve a problem in your life, you must believe two things: the problem is important enough to solve, and you can do something about it. Barring these two beliefs, problems in your life only get solved by accident.
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A Weekend’s Activities

I traded this weekend for a few days this week at the LifeTeen musician’s retreat. So, I spent this amazing Saturday indoors, finishing a big project at work (it was a long time coming.) It feels great to have finished the project, but I did miss out on a wonderful day outside. The weather was as close to perfect as I’ve ever seen. I love the fall.

It’s two in the morning and the normal order of events is unchanged: get home far too late, waste too much time on the internet, then go to bed. As soon as my head hits the pillow my mind starts running full tilt. So, with a prompting from Seth Godin, here I am.

You should be aware of this:

This beautiful video is from Kevin Olasula. He’s covering Julie-O by Mark Summer, and it is brilliant. It is rare to find a perfomance filled with such lightness and joy.

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Adventures and Fun

Sweet wall flip action!
Thanks to Fotoscape Photography of Auburn, AL for this wonderful shot of me mid-flip!

These last few weeks have been pretty incredible. First, I had an awesome time at a parkour jam in Piedmont Park with some old friends from Auburn Parkour and new friends from all over. Then, I was off to Miami (Ft. Lauderdale, actually) for a Capoeira seminar at Mestre Branca’s school near the beach. The next weekend was Dragon*Con, wherein a troop of breakdancing spidermen broke it down in sufficient style. The next weekend was the Red Bull parkour jam in Auburn featuring Ryan Doyle.
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Ed Sheeran

I love this video. Reminds me of staying up all night at Auburn and seeing the sunrise. Great song, great voice, great rhythm!
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Owning Less

My Digital Piano

This last month has been a month of big changes for me. I moved to a smaller apartment, got a new desk at work, got a new cell phone, and sold my car to purchase a smaller, cheaper one. Part of the downsizing is financially motivated. I have a lot of college loans that I want to pay off and finally be debt free. Part of it is my desire to be ready. Ready for exactly what, I’m not sure, but it might involve travel, or moving frequently, or meeting the love of my life and starting a family! In all those cases, it will be to my advantage to own less.

In an ideal world, I wouldn’t own very much, but what I would own would be very high quality. So, with that goal in mind, I’m downsizing.
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My Youtube Favorites – 1

This is the first installment of an on-going series I’d like to call “My Youtube Favorites”. I plan to periodically post one (or a few) of my youtube favorites here and share some of my thoughts about what makes each one so great.

To kick things off, I’ll start with one of my oldest favorites:

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