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Dictionary.com defines “onerous” as “burdensome, oppressive, or troublesome; causing hardship”.

One of the most onerous burdens for many people today is overwhelming student loan debt. Quite often it seemed very reasonable to borrow the money at the time, and the repayment felt very affordable. But then life intervened, and all of a sudden there was a WHOLE LOT of debt, and not much available money to pay it off.

That’s where I am today. I never anticipated retiring from teaching with student loan debt. When I borrowed the money, I thought I was going to stay married to the bitter end, because I really didn’t see a reasonable or practical way out. So I thought our dual income would be paying off my debt. But someone wiser than I once quipped that “life was what happened while you were busy making plans” or some such thing. And it happened to me. To add insult to injury, my quest for a master’s degree ended after my mother’s death, as I simply didn’t have the heart to finish without her.

The moral of this story is: Don’t borrow money to go to school, especially when you are old enough that your career will probably be a short one. Cash flow your classes, even if it takes longer to finish. Learn from my mistakes, so that “onerous” is only a A-Z Challenge vocabulary word, not a life experience.