Nine and a half years after getting my bachelors, eight years after getting my masters, four states, three 8000 meter expeditions, and five jobs later, I PAID THEM OFF!!!
I could have paid them off sooner, but I prioritized climbing Mt. Everest, and I don't regret that. My loans were not that big, in fact I think my loans in 2008 at graduation were the median size of the median graduate with loans in 2017, and I ended up with two nice degrees from an expensive school. It feels pretty good. It also feels a little empty. I mean, I used a whole lot of cash that I could have used to travel or do something with but instead I paid for expenses I incurred a decade ago. Yes, it's like buying some freedom, but at this moment I don't feel any changes, to my budget or lifestyle.
Lest people think I'm some super finance guru, I still have a mortgage and I'm nowhere close to one of those super early retirement people who can walk away from working in their 30s. However, I am a very fortunate person to have all of the privilege and advantage that I have which has enabled me to get to this point, not from my own skills. God has blessed me again.