Well, it's taken four years, but as of February 20, my total debt (including my mortgage and unsecured debt) will finally be back below my annual income.
A lot of the choices I've made in my life, I've made because I didn't like being in a situation where my debt could crush me.
Every day, I see people who are crushed under their own debt. People who own large homes, large vehicles, state-of-the-art home theater systems, etc., but are constantly going to payday loan stores or pawn shops in an effort to make it from check to check. People who are a single check away from the street because of their choices.
To be honest, I've made some choices that could put me in a similar situation. Taking a 50% pay cut for 15 months hurt quite a bit. To make up for that time, I took a short-term debt consolidation loan last year so that I could reduce my debt more quickly, but I have to watch my spending much more closely as a result.
My overall goal is still to be done with my unsecured debt by the end of the year, and as long as nothing happens to me, that will be gone. Hopefully, my mortgage will be gone in April. Once I'm back to debt free, then I can focus on getting the house I want and the lifestyle I want...and I won't have to worry about being able to pay for it.