There’s a scene in Tangled with Rapunzel and Flynn on the boat, waiting for the lanterns to get released that I’ve been playing over in my head. Rapunzel’s feeling a little down, and she says, “I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?”
Flynn assures her, “It will be,” but then she says, “And what if it is? What do I do then?”
Of course, Flynn knows just what to say: “Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.”
As the weeks dwindle and I get closer and closer to paying off my loans (six more weeks!), I realize how much I’ve been absorbed by this goal. Many decisions in my life that might seem unrelated have been impacted by my deep desire to pay off my loans, and the past year has been riddled with “if only I were debt free” moments, days and weeks.
In some ways, I feel like I’ve already crossed the finish line. For the past year, I’ve focused so much it’s hurt. And now that I’m so close to being done, I wonder what’s next.
Some things, I already have planned: ride more horses; build an emergency fund; save for a new car.
But then I stop and think about some of the little things: Will I keep my second job? If I do, will I be able to cut back on hours without letting my ambition and impatience get in the way? If I don’t, what will I do with (compared to now) so much free time? How will my mindset change once I’m actually out of debt? Will I be more generous? Will it live up to my expectations of freedom? Will I see my career in a different light?
What happens when the biggest, most ambitious goal I’ve ever had is actually accomplished?