I'll start with the good news. My recent collision and the resulting damage to my 12-year-old Tempo caused $1,629.83 worth of damage to the car, which, after some haggling, my insurance company agreed to pay. I then made a near 100% repair with two wood screws and some rubbing compound, costing a total of $0.15, and promptly paid the balance to my student loans, which brings me to my next positive development.
Last year on January 1st, I made a vow to myself that within one year I would finish paying off my parents' portion of my student loans, an amount of $20,000 which we had agreed before my going to college that I was to pay myself. Today, I can proudly announce that, thank God, I reached my goal with 19 hours to spare. Now all I have left is the $20,000 that is in my name. I had decided to finish with my parents' portion first since, if God forbid I get fired or laid off, at least all of the debt would be in my own name, so the government can't go after my family. For the first time in my life I am completely financially independent, as all of my debt is in my own name.
I can now project that I should be able to finish with the second $20,000 by the end of this secular year, January 1st, 2006. I plan on taking the PE exam in April, 2006. This gives me some time to save up a bit extra, and I can at long last set myself a target date for aliyah: June, 2006.
Having a target date changes my outlook on life. I feel like I've been running up a mountain this whole time, and now that I'm halfway, I've come over the crest and am on my way back down. It's just as grueling and just as far as the way I've come, but now I know the terrain and I can finally see the finish line. I know I can make it.