Coming in to work this morning I saw a car with a bumper sticker that read “Debt is Normal. Be Weird”. Ha! That made me laugh. I used to be one of those people in debt. I understand what it can be like to want stuff and unconsciously rack up a nice credit card balance.
I went into debt because I wanted stuff, and I wanted stuff so I could feel good about myself and my life. Now I look back at myself and laugh. At the time when I had debt I was not laughing I was actually experiencing a lot of anxiety and stress. I was a walking paradox. I was buying stuff so I could feel better about myself and my life. Yet the excess purchasing was causing me to feel bad about myself, my life, and my finances.
As the bumper sticker implied (now) I would probably be considered weird. I have no debt, I buy stuff that I need (ok, sometimes I do fall off the wagon), and if I do not have the cash flow I refrain from buying (well, sometimes I do fall off the wagon). I do feel better about myself and my life since I do not have the stress and anxiety which happens with excess debt.
As so many environmental messages imply when we make a decision to genuinely create health in our lives (financial health, economic health, physical health) the planet inadvertently benefits. I would like to say that I got out of debt and stopped unnecessary purchasing to help the planet, but that would be a lie. My primary reason was to reduce financial stress. Inadvertently I helped the planet.
Just to clarify I am not saying purchasing is a bad thing. I am saying that purchasing stuff that I do not need is not helpful. I believe purchasing is an action that can generate good and can benefit people and the planet (in moderation).
From a spiritual perspective the debt mucked up my relationship with God. I was so busying worrying about how to pay off my credit cards that contemplating my relationship with the natural world, with my pets, or with Allah was almost non-existent. Also I was completely absorbed in finding fulfillment through things. Intellectually I understood that things could not fulfill me but breaking the cycle (I will speak about this in another post) was hard.
Finding fulfillment from listening to the wind move through the trees, or hearing a bird sing, or in silent meditation, or watching my cat go crazy for cat marijuana (cat nip), or having tea with a friend is a high that has no comparison. Best part...its all free!!!
I never thought of myself as weird until I read the bumper sticker. I have to say life feels better in this weird place.