When I was little, my mom would insist that I wear a hat in winter. I hated it. I really did. I wonder now if that was a precursor to the situation in which I find myself today. I had the advice I needed. I just didn’t use it.
I went as far, as a child, to figure out how far down the street I could walk with my hat on until such time as my mom couldn’t see me through the kitchen window and I could safely remove it without getting in trouble. Seriously, that’s a feat of scientific measure for a ten year old, is it not?
Then, years later, I went to a high school hockey game dressed in what I thought was a perfectly sensible outfit. A jean jacket, a purple puffy vest, a pair of jeans and my white cheerleader running shoes. It was minus 40. I looked great but I nearly froze to death for my stylish choice, sans hat lest it mess with my sausage curls hair.
Today, in the Shuswap, normally known for gentle winter climate, the Arctic air is pushing temperatures below what we would normally see. It must be minus 15 plus wind chill. And yet I see perfectly reasonable grown ups about town with flimsy jackets, shoes, no hats and no gloves. Why suffer the cold? Yes, we look ridiculous in our hats and boots but we are warm and safe from frost bite.
It occurs to me that debt is like Arctic cold. A fact of life that can be avoided with proper planning. I hate being cold. I also hate being in debt. If I could knit a sweater or a pair of mitts that would get me out of this mess, I would and I’m sure I’m a terrible knitter. But it would be worth the effort, would it not?
So wear a hat, some mitts, some winter boots and protect yourself. It’s not glamourous. It’s practical. And practical works. Practical has more disposable income. Practical has net worth. Practical has the hope of a healthy retirement. Never before has practical seemed so attractive! Practical is Bill and Melinda Gates.
Life’s lessons are there, you just have to be willing to appreciate them. Debt is as bad as cheerleader running shoes in a Northern Ontario snowstorm. Only sorry it took me so many years to figure that out. If I can know how far I can walk and safely remove my tuque without getting in trouble, it means that I’m also smart enough to know what I have to do to escape the painful reality of debt, or as I like to call it, the stylish cheerleader runners in the snowstorm that nearly led to frostbite. My lesson has been learned.
Better late than never.