Hindsight is the Best Sight

Scrolling through Facebook last week, I stumbled upon a post by someone I wasn’t Facebook friends with. We ran in the same circle, even lived in another country together, but we never connected in a let’s stay in contact sort of way.

It had been a while since she crossed my mind, so I clicked on her name and decided to do a little FB investigating. What was she up to? Married! Good for her. It looks like she is still in contact with a few people in our circle. It’s really more her circle than my circle these days.

I kept scrolling.

In a Flashback Friday or Throwback Thursday, she posted a picture of her and a friend with Mr Hot Pockets himself, Jim Gaffigan. There was a fourth person in the picture. Oh. My Gosh. That’s me.

I recognized the shirt before I recognized my face. Even then, I was only convinced because I know I went to that show and those were my glasses at the time. I didn’t recognize I was in the picture because it was roughly 50 lbs ago.

50 lbs is certainly enough to change my face and my body. Losing the glasses makes a difference too. But it is a little odd that I didn’t recognize myself.

I pondered the thought and I think I know why.

That girl in that photo was a shell of herself. I didn’t have the confidence that I do know. I wasn’t in a great place and even though I am smiling, I wasn’t happy.

It’s incredibly humbling to realize how far I’ve come as a person since that picture. If I hadn’t found it randomly in my FB Investigation (FB Stalking, let’s be honest), I wouldn’t have had that moment of gratitude to reflect on how far I’ve come. I still have a ways to go to, but I’m incredibly thankful that isn’t me anymore.

I took this mentality to the rest of my life, specifically the financial side. This is a money blog, after all.

So much of my thinking is forward. I may be horrible at setting goals, but I always have grand ideas floating around in my head. What if I paid off my student loans early? What if I bought a house without PMI? What if I maxed out my 401k? What if I continued on the path of financial awesomeness and was able to retire early? All of these statements are forward leaning. If I was a letter, I’d be italic, leaning into the next goal. 

I took the opportunity to stand up and look back. I knew what I would see. Just like I can barely remember (let alone recognize) myself 50 lbs heavier, I’ve forgotten a lot of what it was like to be Kate thousands of dollars ago.

I can’t feel the weight of student loan debt resting on my shoulders when I couldn’t find a job.  I know those were stressful times because I cried at my parent’s kitchen table too many times, but I don’t feel that stress anymore.

I’m not anxious to squeeze an extra few bucks out of our budget to get a little bit further. I don’t spend my time Swagbucks-ing, UserTesting or scraping up other little hustles to give the hamster inside of me the feeling that we are actually making progress. I don’t feel that anxiety anymore.

It’s so easy to forget how far we’ve come. Neither of my stories are overnight success stories. But sometimes it feels like I just woke up here.

I’m so thankful to have found that picture. I’ve come a long way. I’m sure you have too.

Do you have progress amnesia too?

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7 comments

  1. Progress amnesia: I love the term. With my health, I sometimes have this. My health has generally sucked since Lui was born. But the year after he was born was THE WORST. I had horrible chronic pain and was going to a physical therapist because all my muscles decided not to work anymore (I couldn’t even blow candles out! I had NO ab muscles!). Now on days when things are bad (but not NEARLY that bad), I do sometimes forget. I have come so far healthwise since 2 years ago and feel generally WAY better. Remembering progress helps me feel more peace in current turmoil.. because the turmoil has definitely improved! Congrats on being awesome and making progress and everything else!

  2. It definitely is easy to forget where you progressed from. A few weeks ago someone asked me why I don’t blog about debt. The first reaction was because I’m not in debt and haven’t been in 14 years, I use it as a tool for leverage if at all. However as I thought back I remembered graduating college with massive student loan debt. So I do have experience paying a massive debt, its just hard to speak from experience on something so far in the rear view without a reminder. I’m sure we all have these little things we need a reminder of from time to time.

  3. That’s cool that you were able to look back on so much progress/growth! I was recently writing down my goals/intentions for 2017 and decided to also make a list of things I had accomplished in 2016 (personal, professional, financial, whatever). It made me feel really good to look at a list of things I’d already accomplished.
    Happy New Year!

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