A Big Debt Announcement | Katie Proctor

Graduating in 2009 was a big reality check.

Good jobs were few and far between. Many of my friends had to settle for glorified admin positions, enter unrelated industries or worse found themselves jobless with their newly acquired college degrees. In response, many people chose to enter graduate or professional school. Some were fulfilling lifelong career dreams, while others were just stalling for time until the job market improved or hoped that even more education would help them stand out in a crowded market.

Fortunately, I had another year of {required} schooling left so I packed up and headed to Nashville to complete my dietetic internship. The job market had only slightly improved by 2010, but enough so that the company I had hoped to work for was hiring and I landed myself in a nice entry level position back in Kansas City.

But we got restless and moved our family to Colorado for a little more sunshine. And we hadn’t been settled more than a few months before I decided it was time for me to apply for graduate school – an MBA at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

You see, I pride myself on being a lifelong learner and grad school seemed like the most logical next step in my career progression. Until I graduated and realized there was a big disconnect in what was required to really make grad school “pay off” and what I wanted out of my lifestyle.

I remember having a conversation with my mentor at the time. He’s held a lot of high profile marketing positions with big companies all over the country. And he asked me if I considered myself a career person.

“Of course!” I replied, without hesitation.

Anyone who knows me well knows I always pour my heart and soul into my work, sometimes to a fault. But he pressed me further.

“Would you be willing to move anywhere for your job?” He asked.

“Well, no. I like it here.” I responded.

“Then you’re not really a career person.” He shot back.

And I resisted. Because of course I am! Why else would I have worked so hard in school? How else did I get good jobs after graduation? Why else did I go back to school?

The questions rushed through my mind as I questioned everything I had ever known to be true about myself, my values and my goals. I realized that while, yes, I have a big focus on achievement in my life, my priorities had significantly shifted since getting married and moving to a state that lived and breathed health and happiness. And there was nothing wrong with that. My career was no longer my defining characteristic and I was no longer willing to shove everything aside in pursuit of “bigger and better”.

I remember early on in our relationship Aaron told me that he wanted to move to the islands. I laughed and said, but “what would I do? operate a fruit stand?”. As if that was the worst thing in the world.

And now I sit here thinking, we couldn’t even do that if we wanted to because of all the debt I accumulated.

Part of me is frustrated that I spent more time chasing “what’s next” than enjoying “what’s now”.

Some days I’m thankful for my degree, and other days I resent it. And that’s just the honest truth. But there’s no point regretting the past, only moving forward.

So we’ve made a big, bold decision that is going to change a lot for our family.

We’re going to become a one-income household. In fact, we already started this month!

And, no, I’m not quitting my job. I quite enjoy my little corner of the natural foods industry.

Instead, every penny of my income from both my full-time job and from coaching will be redirected to my student loans. Assuming my business remains constant {no growth} , we could be done in a little over a year. But you guys know me, and I have bigger dreams than that!

I’m excited to be free of this burden, and we’re up for the challenge. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was a little nervous, too. But nothing good ever came out of comfort zones, right?!

I hope you’ll enjoy following us on this journey as we #livemoreonless.

If YOU have ambitious debt paydown goals, I’d love to hear from you too!