I like order. I like structure. I like details. I am that person. While my own organizational skills could improve, I don’t like chaos around me. A few colorful T-shirts can end up in the space of my white T-shirts in my wardrobe but that’s just about all the chaos I can tolerate in my space.
Shoes in their closet. Jackets on hangers. Jeans folded neatly in their section. Magazines neatly arranged according to their dates in the magazine stand. CDs shelves away according to their genre. I’m that person.
And now that I’ve given you a glimpse of my slightly obsessive behavior, I want to confess that inspite of all my planning and efforts to maintain order, there have been times when I got myself into a complete mess. You see, life brings chaos and we need to navigate ourselves through the mess. Just after I turned twenty, I agreed to take out a R10 000 loan for my then-boyfriend (who was also my first real boyfriend). We had just finished varsity and the future looked bright for us both, besides, we had dated successfully for three years and we were in love (right?); moreover, we had plans to get married (someday). He explained to me what he needed the money for and it was a legit reason to get “our lives started.” (The reason he couldn’t take loan himself is another topic for another day). The arrangement was that he would deposit money into my account every month in time for the debit order (don’t judge me too harshly, this made sense at 20. After all, my boyfriend was saying it, how could it not make sense?) He stayed true to his word for the first three months. And when he faltered on the fourth, the disorder shattered my world. The bank called. I was livid. He was sorry. Chaos. Needless to say, soon after that, we went our separate ways and I was stuck with the debt which he did not take responsibility for- and it was in my name.
All of a sudden life didn’t seem so bright; I was an intern earning very little and had rent, electricity and transport money due, oh, and a debt of R10 000 (money I hadn’t even used). My first two years of working were painful. I would send my last R100 home and cry. But I honored that payment and I was diligent in paying it. That experience taught me something about budgeting, saving and being shrewd with my money. It taught me to feel with my heart but to think with my mind. The experience taught me to be disciplined; I was working and couldn’t afford a pair of shoes, so I stayed at home and worked on my writing and took odd freelance jobs. That experience taught me to be wise about my financial decisions and guess what, after I paid that debt, I bought my first property. I had saved enough money for the deposit and done enough research about the area, the price etc.
It sure sounds like a fairytale now, but trust me, it was not. So in short, we should become the kind of people who learn from their mistakes. Moreover, realize that sometimes you are going to do the best you know how to do, with the best intentions and things sometimes won’t work out… Life will throw us curveballs, as life often does, but please know that there is nothing that can’t be overcome. Curveballs come to teach us, empower us, and to reveal to us, the strength in us.
I was so discouraged then, when I looked around me, all my peers were progressing and I was stuck (and was ashamed to even open up about the debt), but I used that time to better myself. Sometimes, we make mistakes (big ones). Sometimes our best laid plans fall apart. Sometimes our efforts are simply not enough. Sometimes, the colorful T-shirts get mixed up with the white, but please know, it’s nothing that can’t be overcome. You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for.
A blessed 2015 to you!