Debt

millstoneThese days, debt is the great anchor/mill stone/weight around the neck of every one of us.  We can point our finger at corporations, the media, popular culture, or even our families for not teaching us any better.  But really, we are in control of our own lives.  That’s the worst part- we did this to ourselves!  It was easy to get there.  It is much harder to get out of debt.

Those winter pounds go on so easily but,
come spring its back on the bike, back in the gym,
to sweat and struggle ourselves back to fitness.

If we can stay true to our goals on a more-or-less consistent basis- financial freedom, fewer possessions, and developing a more sustainable way of living- it will be  much easier to keep our balance.  The best part of this is that we actually have a long-term goal!  After almost 20 years, we have a goal other than just trying to make the mortgage and pay our bills.

How do we break our old, bad habits?  That is what the next four years of my life are going to be about.  By the time our youngest child graduates from high school, my wife and I want to be debt-free, have a house that we can proudly put on the market, give our favorite possessions to our older kids, sell or give away the rest, and hit the road for a while.  A good long while.  I want to live lightly.  I want to rekindle that sense of freedom that we had when we were younger.  I don’t want to relive my past.  That is, shockingly, the past!  What I do know is that we were on to something back then and set it aside in order to raise a family.  It’s time to pick it back up again.

When we sold our large home in bainbridge-houseWashington State, along with a deep sense of loss and finality, there was this incredible feeling of lightness and freedom!  My wife and I were free from the burden of that beautiful home that we had painstakingly built (every 2×6 and window and light fixture and tile!) and I felt like Neil Armstrong on the moon!  It was like gravity didn’t have quite as strong a hold of me any longer and each stride I took was ten feet long.  I was explaining how hard it was to give up this home to a builder I had done quite a bit of work for.  His comments to me were spot on.  He said, “so, your telling me that you built a house.  And now your selling it?  I don’t see the problem.  Isn’t that what we do?  Congrats on finding a buyer!  That’s great!”  I got so caught up in the personal angst of selling our home that I lost track of the reality of it all.  That was indeed what I did for a living- did beautiful work for people and then walked away.  Time to turn this place over to somebody else!

Does that sense of freedom and joy necessarily need to be a temporary feeling?  Can we live our lives with less?  Even more importantly, can we thrive with fewer possessions and a smaller footprint upon our world?  I truly believe we can and that downsizing, that reduction in scale is something that many many people are considering and acting upon.  I know we are actively working toward it.  More on our ideas later.

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