There’ve been times that I felt I really haven’t ever grown up. Taken the final step into real grownupness.

I’ve had a real job (defined as a career-oriented job) for almost 6 years, and had another one for 2 years before that. But for some reason, it never quite felt like I’d really gone out and firmly established myself as an independent. I felt sometimes like a kid who was still playing at being an adult, but not really there.

Part of the whole process of separating from my 12 year relationship with Kim has been trying to find the equilibrium I’ve never quite managed to find, despite being out on my own. I was forced to grow up very fast and become responsible back when I was forced into being the sole provider for not just myself but also another person, but I also always felt like any day someone would come and tell everyone that I was faking it and take me away or something. Weird, isn’t it?

So anyway, I’m out on my own. I’m responsible for my own happiness. I’m responsible for my own financial situation. I’m pretty much responsible for me, and only me. It’s a nice feeling. I can honestly say I’ve not felt this happy and free in quite a long time.

So today, I went and bought a car.

I was surprised at how much car I could get and stay under my budget. My credit is pretty devastated, and one of the reasons I wanted to get a car loan (if possible) was to have a chance to re-establish myself and get out of this “poor credit/no-credit” hole I’d dug into for the last several years. Steve took me to Carmax, and a very nice salesman went through my financials, showed me what my payment would be on a very nice 1998 Ford Taurus with only 27k miles on it. I took it for a drive, and then we signed a lot of papers and he gave me keys and told me I could take it home. It’s mine. (Well, it’s Wells Fargo’s, but the papers say it’s mine). My payment is just under what I said I didn’t want to pay more than, and I think that I can meet the budget as long as I stay disciplined the way I’ve been for the last month and stay firmly on top of all my cash in and out. I can do this.

For the first time in my life, I have a car payment. I feel like an adult. It feels good.