Today marks the day I went debt-free for the first time in over ten years. A mere five minutes ago I made my final online student loan payment. Part of me wants this to feel somewhat more monumental than it does right now. I've been working up to this for so long. Maybe at one time, while in the midst of my sad tragic days of bad credit and poverty, I imagined this day to be filled with balloons and streamers and definitely champagne and loud cheering, and me looking around waving like Queen Elizabeth saying thank you, thank you.
The reality of it is that I'm sitting in my living room, still sweaty from teaching class this morning because I was too lazy to change clothes when I got home. It's quiet and the gas fireplace is providing heat from behind my funny fake logs. It feels like any other normal afternoon. No cheering, just a few nice stomach gurgles. This feels mildly victorious, but in a subdued, responsible kind of way.
I'm contemplating what to concentrate on next financially, now that I'm no longer climbing uphill. I promised myself that once I paid off all of my debt, I would buy a new car. I love that idea, except that kind of new investment would plunge me right back into the hole of debt I just came out of. I want to ride this wave of freedom for awhile - after all, it's got a nice smile and I kind of like the way it makes me feel.
On Saturday I experienced a small victory in court. I'm suing someone and I go to official hearing in January. I can't wait to make a story about this whole charade. It's been a hoot so far, that much is certain. Every judge I've ever stood before has been a very menacing-looking female. They so impress me - how they cut through all the BS and get straight to the point. Watching them work I get excited, and begin to imagine myself in my own black robe, getting ticked off at people and putting them in their place like a mother hen keeps her chicks in check. I'd level misogynists with authority complexes, simply by stabbing a pointed glare from over my spectacles and down from my 10-foot tall high throne. Yes, I'm a little jealous of the judge.
Witnessing the scene on Saturday was better than seeing a Broadway show. I, of course, had absolutely no idea what was going on, which only added to the humor of the whole ordeal It also proves my incapacity for working in the field of law. All I know is that the man who has given me such grief, who has been patronizing and nasty and demeaning and just plain rude to me, stood in front of my Superwoman judge and lost all his power in a short 2-minute meeting.
So yes - judges - I'm a big fan. Mainly because I know I'm pretty naive and judges are not. I don't stand up for myself often enough, and judges demand that you do. The good news is, I'm starting to feel a greater sense of entitlement - at least enough that I don't get taken advantage of anymore.
Whatever happens come January is in God's hands. I was fortunate enough to witness a special kind of power in what took place this last weekend - the power of a judge's razor-sharp discernment. Even the court clerk sniffed out the man's BS, and she called him out on it in front of a waiting room full of very entertained people. I was grateful, but also felt kind of foolish because I just had sat through an uncomfortable mediation with him for a good half hour and completely overlooked the one major point I had in my favor. Thank God for the Clerk of Courts!
I'm inspired to start working on all this. All in all, I couldn't have asked for more from my first court experience...except maybe popcorn.