You know, just because you have student loans doesn’t mean you have to put life on hold.

I’ve seen countless studies that says a certain amount of borrowers delay marriage. Or delay purchasing a home. Or heck, even delay having kids.

This is something I refused to do. How noble and considerate of those who do make delays like these, but to me, they are completely unnecessary.

Life waits on no one. I graduated undergrad in 2006 with a little under $40,000 in loans.

In 2008, I finished my MBA studies with a total amount of student debt over $70,000.

If I had put life on hold because of my student debt, I wouldn’t be married to my wonderful husband.

Neither, would I be mother to my two precious little terrors. You know, kids.

I wouldn’t be living in a modest home — comfortable enough for the four of us. And there are probably countless other things I wouldn’t have or wouldn’t be doing if I allowed my student loans to hold me back.

I’m not knocking anyone who has decided they should prioritize paying off their debt first though. I’m quite mesmerized by their determination. It just isn’t for me though. Each of us have our reasons and no two people are alike.

What works best for you may very well fail to resonate with me, but that’s okay.

I just feel the need to explain to anyone who feels ashamed of their debt and feels like they can’t pursue their dreams because of them.

You still deserve to live your life like anyone else would. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Yes, the surveys say many of your peers are delaying things to pay off their debt, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to play follow the leader anymore.

Each of us has our own story to write and student debt doesn’t need to determine which words you write on your page.

The entire purpose of taking out student loans in the first place was to help you obtain your  degree.

Many pursue a higher education with the hopes that it will improve their lives and job prospects. Therefore, how much sense does it make to put life on hold simply because you wanted to be better?

If it makes no sense at all to you, then live your life and take care of your loans as required of you. However, if it does make sense for you to delay life, make sure you consider the next two questions.

If you delay life for your debt, how much time do you reasonably feel you will have left? (Hint: No one knows the answer to this. That’s why YOLO is so damn appealing.)

In ten years, if you’re still in student loan debt, will you regret not living the dream you envisioned for yourself?

The Best Stimulus: Reduce Student Loan Interest Rates and Forgive Loans

If you’re pretty darned sure you won’t regret it, hustle away and pay off your debt the way you see fit. No one’s holding it against you.

For those of you who will regret it, all you need to do is make a plan to pay off your debt on your own terms — this way you can have a life in the process.

I’m all for hustling debt away, but I’m an even bigger advocate of having a life, even in the midst of debt.

Of course, I would prefer to be debt free and it would have been nice if I could have obtained my degree without loans. However, I’m a realist who knows that tomorrow isn’t promised.

I won’t hold off on doing anything I want to do because I’m saddled with debt. Life is not something you can press the pause button on in hopes of pressing play tomorrow.

So if you’re under the impression that your honey will be ready to marry once you’re no longer in debt or that you will feel more secure waiting to have kids after you’re no longer in debt — I’m here to tell you that life doesn’t go exactly as planned.

My student loan debt isn’t making it any harder to be the best wife or mother I can be and being debt free isn’t an indication that married life and parenting will be smooth sailing either.

So with all of that said, are you putting life on hold because of your student debt? If so, make sure you’re not the one who will live to regret it. I’m just saying, you only live once. Make it count.