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As a visual metaphor, I think the hokey pokey is totally appropriate to describe what is happening to me this morning-body parts flicking and twitching as I try to contain my excitement....

I paid it off. I paid it ALL off. My dragon of debt has been slain!

Lo, the nasty beast is dead. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, I didn't even have to handle any paper to do it. Just a click here and there with my trusty mouse, and the e-payments made their way into the ephemeral void that is the online portal of my bank.

Now, at last, I am free. This day has been in the works for years and years. Almost since the day I took on the debt (voluntarily, mind you! Ah, to be young and naive, never realizing just what I was losing when I charged away that $0 balance).

It's been a hard journey. I must fully admit to starting down the road to debt alone, but I most certainly had company along the way. (Ex) Boyfriend not on the plan and a super irresponsible spender? Yep, I've had one of those. I even moved in with him and merged finances with him (ack, I shudder just to remember it). Oh, and let's not talk about that new car I bought at his urging and eventually sold at a big loss. I was quite the fool then (ahem, last year...). What's that you say about ill timed job changes and crummy, low paying jobs you have to take because you need the money? Uh huh, uh huh, me too! It has sometimes been only by the sheerest margin of dumb luck that I have managed to get myself a better footing. And finally, we mustn't forget depression spending-when your life falls apart and you can't find a way to get out of bed in the morning, when the only hollow comfort you can find is in the next shiny new thing and who gives a d*#& about what it costs because you can't think 2 days into the future let alone 2 weeks or 2 years or 2 decades? I've been there, too. In growing beyond all of these things I have learned much about myself and about other people, and most of all I've learned that the only person who is really, truly in charge of how I control and spend my money is me.

The particulars of my debt history are my own, of course, but they are really not very different from those of anyone else on this board. My debt and my ability to pay it have changed over the years, sometimes due to my own efforts and sometimes due to those things beyond our control we may call fate (or stupidity).

Now I am here with a brand new shiny $0 balance, and you can bet that I won't be so quick to give it up again. If I can get here, so can you.

Ladies and gentlemen, please share this dance with me.

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