Thursday, December 27, 2007

Loans like hairballs

I’m all for freedom in any form, though responsibility is good for us, too. If we always had a safety net, always had a trap door or an eject button to get us out of a difficult situation, then we’d never be thoughtful about decisions. We wouldn’t have to be because even if we got in trouble, there would always be something or someone to bail us out. Enablers think they’re being nice people, thoughtful people, supportive people. What they’re really doing is stripping away the basic instinct of survival from those they enable.

Orbiting the Giant Hairball makes this same argument is a less psychological way. Though hairballs are frustrating, they are also necessary. My current biggest hairball: my student loans. I have some left from undergrad and now those from my MBA program have entered repayment. It’s a big number, second only to my rent. I was anxious about repayment, calculating and recalculating my budget. And my anxiety was only driven higher by some friends of mine from graduate school who are frantically paying down the loans and making me feel guilty for not doing the same.

The truth is as much as the large payment is painful to make now, it’s keeping me focused. If I had no financial obligations I could quit my job at the first sign of difficulty. I could spend any amount of money on anything I wanted. The Paris Hilton problem – she has no responsibilities so she doesn’t have to be responsible. The truth is without hairballs, we’d have nothing to orbit around. We would be adrift…

So while I wish the cost of education and life in general was not so high, I’m trying to look on the bright side. Things could be worse – I could feel that there really is no reason to get up in the morning. I know I have to get up and do my best because I need to survive and all I’ve got to help me do that is me.

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