by Kasey Krol, SUNY Cortland, March 14, 2008

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I have a twelve-dollar cable bill due in two days, which also happens to be the day of my twentieth birthday. I just lost my winter job because my boss told me they were “overstaffed”. I had that job for four years. They aren’t overstaffed. My savings account literally holds two cents, and my checking account has about eight dollars. I’ve managed to max out my American Express card, and my Visa bill is steadily climbing. I owe my parents almost a year’s worth of car insurance payments, and student loans are looming in the not so distant future.

I’m planning on fleeing to Tibet.

Maybe Mongolia.

I have absolutely no right to complain about being in debt. I’ve taken it upon myself to maintain a healthy social life and keep a fully stocked junk-food drawer at all times. I don’t use public transportation and I give gifts to my friends whenever the opportunity arises. This year I even lived overseas for five months, which was no cheap venture.

Debt is material. Experience is priceless. So when it comes down to it, who cares? I’d have never snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef or walked across the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge at sunrise if I hadn’t allowed myself to slip into debt. If I didn’t spend my money, my oh so precious money, I might miss out on seeing my parents or my friends faces light up when they get the perfect birthday gift from me. It may have cost me dearly at the time, but I’ll never forget the sound in my mother’s voice when she called to thank me for the beautiful flowers I sent her for Mother’s Day while I was in Australia. Sure, I spend money on going out with friends to eat and to parties and to see movies…a lot of money. But those memories and moments are invaluable to me. One day I can pass on to my child the importance of getting out in the world. Maybe they’ll believe me when I can show them pictures, and tell them stories of all my silly adventures. It may seem farfetched, but it’s true.

So maybe not being able to afford a twelve dollar cable bill isn’t so bad. I live an exciting life. It’s a life I love, and I don’t see the point in living otherwise. I know that this too shall pass eventually and I’ll be on to the next huge problem in my life, which will also pass. Between stress-induced tears and fears will be beautiful moments I’ll remember forever.

I don’t think the bill collectors are going to care about my rationale though. They want their twelve dollars.

To all my friends and family: if you don’t hear from me for a while, check Tibet.

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