The following is an essay I wrote some time ago, but still holds very true today. I sincerely hope that it can be found possible to live a life free from the yoke of debt and money. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but someone’s got to try.
“For the love of money is the root of all evil…”
-1 Timothy 6:10 KJV
Money is something most of us think we need more of and that we’ll never have enough. It controls everything from your mood to the way you carry yourself; the kind of car you drive to where you live; and how generally and genuinely happy you are. Why is this so? Why do we think we need money and all of these other things to be happy? Because that is what’s been ingrained in us by our society since birth. We are taught from infancy that to be happy and successful, you need a big house, a nice car, and loads of money in the bank. Thankfully for myself and an increasing number of socially aware people, this is slowly becoming less true.
“The American Dream”, as we commonly refer to it, is in a general sense, a guideline for how we as Americans are supposed to live our lives. I mean, we all know that you’re supposed to go to school, get into a good college, get that high-paying job upon graduation, buy a car and a house, get married, start a family, retire, play bingo and finally die. That is what “The American Dream” looks like to me. The major issue is, not all of us can follow that regimented lifestyle. Not all of us want those things. You may work at a factory, drive a simple, somewhat reliable car, pass on school and still be years away from marriage. Society says that your life shouldn’t be enough. That your life is off-track. Why is that so? You might enjoy your life and not be inclined to do a damn thing about it.
The biggest issue with conforming to the societal “norm” is the crippling debt. Car payments, mortgage payments, insurance payments, etc. The list goes on infinitely. I won’t try to sit here on my soap box and pretend that I live without debt. In fact I’m in all sorts of debt currently, which is literally the only thing I seek to change about my life situation. Why do we pay all of this money for cars and houses and schooling? Because you’re just “supposed” to. It’s what everyone does and you and I are no exceptions, right? Wrong. We can be exceptions. You don’t have to live the rest of your life with a cloud of debt looming over your head. I know that I can break the financial chains. So can you. So can all of us.
The best thing we can do to help ourselves, is to simplify our lives. Do we really need an Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 or 4, a Nintendo DS and a Playstation Vista? Of course not. Cut it down to even just a couple and we’ll be doing ourselves a favor. We don’t need the 85 inch TV or the latest Cadillac in our massive garages attached to our mansions either. We’re all so concerned about the status that these possessions bring us, that we forget that we don’t really need them. We don’t all need 2,500 square foot homes. We don’t all need to drive race cars. Now don’t be confused by my statement that we all need to cut back with saying that we can’t have fun. There’s nothing wrong with hobbies or recreation. The problem is when you stretch yourself thin to impress society.
All I ask is that you take the time to inventory your life, and start cutting the fat. Start deciding what makes you happy and not what you think will make everyone else happy. We’re not here to please others. We’re here to make this one life we have the best it can possibly be. That’s not something I believe money can buy. Now, for one more quotation:
“…God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need…”
-Tyler Durden (Fight Club 1999)