Friday, October 15, 2010

Buy now. Pay later.

Other than learning how to deal with social adversity and being different, it's hard to recall what the point of high school was.  Obviously there must be a great deal of knowledge that I have retained and allegedly it was there that I learned how to acquire information and how to think for myself.  As the years have progressed though I have to say that I think that the main reason to finish secondary and tertiary education is that people discriminate against you if you don't.  Predominantly I consider high school to be a place where young adults are subjected to last-ditch attempts at brainwashing, socialisation, labelling and peer pressure.  By and large, I think that actual education and free-thinking are pretty low on the priorities of many of these great institutions, deferring to discipline and conformity.  I think that for most young adults, high school is mostly a holding pen that we are obligated to be babysat in until we are slightly less repellent to our elders & that the quality of education at most high schools is not simply not high enough to make willing scholars out of any but the most predestined.

It seems to me that if we all have to be in high school then there should be a stronger emphasis on learning life skills that will help you from making some pretty big mistakes;  information we could all actually benefit from and that would actually relate to our lives.  One of the biggest misnomers is that common sense is actually common.  Of course, it is common for parents to complain that life skills, sex education, etc are their domain and that schools should just stick to the 3Rs.  But if they were indeed doing their jobs properly then they wouldn't be so concerned that these kind of classes will rush their kids into having sex or other experiences they are not yet ready for.  Or that putting an emphasis on something other than higher education will lead their kids to abandon it altogether.  If high schools have classes that teach you how to cook and sew, then why can't they teach you other basics such as how to budget and avoid/manage debt.  (Of course, they may well do now - I wouldn't have a clue.)  I just wish I had learned a lot earlier certain lessons about money and those determined to separate you from your hard-earned cash, about their tricks and strategies.  No-one ever taught me about debt.  All I really knew is that there were two types of people in the world - people who saved their pennies and people like me.  And as long as I paid rent and as long as I had a job, I never really saw the harm in my lack of impulse control and forethought.  That was before I discovered the world of credit.

It took me ages to realise what a hole I had dug for myself.  And even longer to realise that my previous choices mean that I have far fewer now.  Debt means that people stay in undesirable situations, jobs, relationships because they can't afford to leave.  Debt means that people have to put off things they long to do.  Debt means having to spend money on... debt.  Having money saves you money.  Once you're in a significant amount of debt, the future looks grim or at least pretty joyless.  It feels like two steps forward, one step back.  Interest rates on credit cards and hire purchase loans are so high that it can be hard to do more than just tread water.  I pay a lot of money every payday to my credit cards and yet the day when I can pay them all off is so far in the future that I can't bear to think about it.

But I have no-one to blame but myself, though I certainly had a lot of help from banks and other businesses.  I am naturally impulsive and I have somewhat of an addictive personality.  Ten years in hospitality means that I have discerning tastes way beyond my means.  Also I would often spend money generously just to counter the stinginess I often saw in customers.  I was trying to live a life that I felt befitted me.  I definitely made this bed.  (And I enjoyed doing it.)  And my life now isn't so bad!  It is comfortable and it has a lot of love in it.  I have a lot to be grateful for.  I just wish I could have avoided this whole mess.  It comes pretty close to an actual regret.  Especially since it was so avoidable.  If only I had been warned.    


  1. High school is for mis-diagnosing gifted people with ADHD. . . . Give 'em a pill and they'll think like us!

  2. At my high school we learnt how to purchase weed from the catholic school next to us. Unfortunately the teachers were mainly waaay over their jobs and lives and that reflected on us pupils in a highly negative way. They projected we would become nothing - and a lot of us have reflected this!!

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