This is a guest post. Enjoy!
You know how you’re not supposed to talk about politics and religion in civilized company?
I voted for Obama but I’m pretty sure that I registered as a Republican a hundred years ago. And religion? I’m a Jesus freak. So there you have it.
I’ll talk about those things all day long. But the one thing I would rather not discuss at the dinner table (or on my blog for that matter)?
Money. Money. Money. Money. Money.
Oh, and it’s evil twin debt.
For many reasons, my husband and I have been dealing with debt as long as we’ve been together. That’s seventeen and a half years now, fifteen of them as a married couple.
We’ve been in debt, out of debt, and back in again. We’re currently digging our way out again and honestly? I’m really hoping that this time sticks. I’m over it already.
So why don’t I like talking about it? I’m not sure really.
I think it has partly to do with keeping up appearances. Who wants everyone to know her personal problems?
Or maybe it’s because if I talk about getting out of debt, then I talk about remodeling my bathroom, I feel like I’m lying. Like I’m not really trying to get out of debt. Or that people will think, “Oh yeah. Trying really hard to get out of debt, eh?”
Also, there may be one or two people in my life with whom it’s not exactly safe for me to share emotionally difficult things. I’m sure you don’t have any of those people in your life, though (wink, wink). If there’s anything in the world that’s emotionally difficult to talk about, it’s money and debt.
So how about you? Are you in debt? Have you made some choices you’re not so thrilled about now? Are you talking to anyone about it? Have you? Will you?
Why not? What’s your excuse?
Guess what. I’ve thought about this quite a bit and I think that until you’re ready to be flat out honest and share with others, you’re lying to yourself as well.
If you’re not willing to talk about your debt openly with other people, are you really telling yourself the truth or are you letting yourself get away with spending ahead “just this month?”
If you’re not sharing with other people then are you comfortable turning down invitations for nights out or do you just go along and spend the money because it’s easier than saying no?
We have done all of these things and more. Guess what? We’re done.
We drew our line in the sand.
We’re talking and we’re not backing down. I’ll tell everybody I know that we are working on getting out of debt. Why? Because debt sucks the life out of you. It makes life harder. It takes away your choices.
Also, when you’re digging your way out, everybody’s journey looks different. We fixed our bathroom and had good reasons for doing so. You might go on vacation when I wouldn’t. Every family has to make the best choices for themselves. Getting out of debt as quickly as possible is important and doing it in your own way is just as important.
Here’s the thing about sharing your journey though. Recently I’ve found that the more you talk about the truth in your own life, it allows others to live out their own truth. Whether it be about debt or any other thing, the more “you” you are willing to be, the freer it allows others to be as well.
Jen lives in northern Indiana with her husband and their three really expensive kids. When she’s not momming, she’s busy crafting, organizing, or reading about crafting. You can find Jen online at http://jencrutchfield.
I also blog at A Five Star Life. I write about anything that comes to mind but try to focus on finding the good in daily life.
on January 24, 2012 at 10:47 am
Jen, thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post. This is a topic very close to me as we have been struggling with debt for many years now. For me, I only share this problem with my close family and friends, and even then, I think I often sugar-coat it. Something that my husband and I disagree on is whether or not to share our debt struggles with our children (they are 11, 13, 15, and 18). He wants to keep the problem hidden and not let the children know anything about it. I think they need to see (to some extent) the problems that arise from having debt and improper money-management. I want them to learn from our mistakes. I can already see our oldest making some poor money decisions and it scares me.
Dealing with debt has been such a source of stress and shame for us. My husband has spent the last year, and in particular, the last few months taking on as much extra work as he could to try and get us out of this hole. I am beyond excited because we are about to pay off a major debt next month that has been hanging over us for years. It feels so good and will be such a relief.
on January 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm
Good for you on paying off the major debt! That will feel fantastic!
We do talk about our debt with our kids. Our boys are 11 and 13 and it really helps them to understand why we say no to the things that we do.
Keep plugging away. You’ll get there before you know it!
I think having it out of the closet will be one big step you’ll attribute to your success. Well written post. Thanks for sharing, Jesus freak/Obama voter
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on January 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm
Thanks! I’m a freak and I know it!
Jen recently posted..
We’re definitely in debt but don’t talk about it. Family and friends think we’re well off and I guess it was the lifestyle we lived for the past 5 years that gave them that impression, but it was the same 5 years that led to this huge amount of debt that we are now tackling.
Starting my blog was the first step that I’ve taken to actual admit and accept the amount of debt we have. I don’t think I can share that with family and friends, so for now my blog readers are the only ones who know my truth.