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?