(Re)Creating Carly

{March 26, 2013}   My Epiphany

My epiphany didn’t come while walking through Central Park and stumbling across a four-leaf clover. Nor was it borne out of a wine-induced conversation about life and love with close friends. Nope. My epiphany came the moment I asked my ex-boyfriend for $500 to help cover my rent.

At 38 years old, this was not how I imagined my life would be.

A little background: I moved to NYC in February of 2007, after spending too much time living in the Bible Belt of America. I was 32 years old, ready to take on my lifelong dream of living in New York, and ready to pursue a career as a public school teacher in the Bronx. Realizing my other goal of becoming a published writer, I told myself, would happen easily–what with all the vacations and summer breaks. But two years of graduate school, one difficult break-up, and the most challenging and time-consuming job I’ve ever had later, I found myself buried financially and completely ignoring all the things in life I had ever cared about.


So the day the money changed hands between my ex-boyfriend and me, I decided it was time to make a change — starting with taking control of my finances. I calculated my debt and realized that I had racked up just over $21,000 in credit card debt since moving to the city. TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. First, I researched ways to kill myself, but they all seemed a bit too painful to me, so instead, I decided to woman-up and deal with it.

Thankfully, I had a friend who was also struggling financially and wanted to join forces. (In fact, almost ALL of my friends in NYC are struggling in some way financially. At some point in our lives, someone had convinced us that if we went to college, found a job, and worked hard, we’d be able to afford food and a roof over our heads. SUCKERS. Clearly, they didn’t mean in NYC.) She and I decided to start a little budgeting club for two, and we made a pact to spend the next however many months and years getting out of debt and becoming financially secure.

As soon as we started, I could tell that THIS was the beginning. THIS was the beginning, not just of me getting out of debt, but of me realizing all of my life’s dreams. I suddenly felt empowered.


Brigitte says:

Carly, first of all LOVE your blog and congrats on making that pact for yourself, having an epiphany and recognizing that that’s what you were having! Many people just shrug that stuff off and put it off until later. I’ve been where you’ve been and it’s tough but so worth it. Although I wasn’t in NYC at the time, doesn’t matter, when you’ve made up your mind to do something, you send all kinds of signals out to the Universe that you’re serious and READY. So glad you’re here — blogging and I SO look forward to more of your writing. Here’s to all the good stuff coming your way — you deserve it.

Carly says:

Thanks, Brigitte! As always, your kindness and generosity of spirit is inspirational. And, I agree — when we start focusing on the things that matter, it’s as if the universe begins conspiring with us. Thank you so much for your encouragement. 🙂

Silvana says:

This is awesome! Congratulations! I look forward to reading more (and I finally figured out how to subscribe to Brigitte, Brinda and Matt’s blogs as well…yeah, I’m really slow!!!).

Carly says:

Thank you so much, Silvana! Now it’s your turn! 🙂

I need to acknowledge you for blogging on such a personal issue like this one. What shift of perspective the feeling of empowerment brought to you?


Carly says:

Thank you, Shakti! And great question. For me, taking control over my financial situation helped me to realize what I’ve always known, but have sometimes forgotten — that I am the agent of change in my life. It shifted my perspective tremendously because before, when I was just ignoring my debt, I felt worried all the time and powerless, as if I were imprisoned by my circumstances. I really didn’t believe there was anything I could do, so I ignored it. Now compare that person to someone who believes in their ability to fix a bad situation. Once I decided to stop ignoring it, and face it head on, my eyes opened to how much power I really have –when I’m paying attention. Generalizing this to other areas of my life was simply a natural consequence. Suddenly, I started planning for my post-debt life and making changes in other areas (such as health, fitness, career, etc.) so that what started as a financial makeover became a whole life makeover.

ailialana says:

I can feel your determination from here. Go Carly…

Carly says:

Thank you! I am determined!

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