Pain is NOT a Lifestyle

Pain LifestyleI walked by a chiropractor’s office a few weeks ago where a sign hung in the window that read, “Pain is Not a Lifestyle.” The meaning of the sign was obviously referring to physical pain. There is no need to walk through life in pain when the people inside the office can relieve it for you. But as I read the sign over and over, a wave of emotion and memories flowed through my consciousness as to how my life used to be full of so much pain due to my finances.

I remember all the things I had once done to try to keep our finances above water. I remember late nights of applying for new credit cards, and transferring balances to them. I remember withdrawing money from credit cards using ATMs on my way to work so I could portray the appearance to my wife that we had enough funds to whatever activity we had planned for the next weekend. As we closed in on the brink of financial ruin I remember laying in bed alternating watching the minutes tick by on the clock and staring at the ceiling wondering what else I could do to generate funds to keep the lie alive. Life isn’t supposed to be like that.

Pain, even if it’s financial pain, should not be a way of life.

It has been a long road to rid our life of financial pain. My wife and I had to drastically change our lifestyle. We have gone through periods of time where we have argued so frequently that it tested the very fabric of our marriage. We have made it through those times with the support and encouragement of friends and family and the knowledge that if we could just make it to the end of our debt management program, a life free of that financial pain is waiting.

We are now just eight months away from that goal.

I saw a motivational quote just last week relating to fitness that I immediately adapted to finances:

Getting out of debt is hard.

Living with debt is hard.

CHOOSE YOUR HARD.

When I look back at our years of living with debt, just trying to get to the next payday without a plan for the future, I do not understand why we didn’t seek help and do something about it sooner. Choosing to live with the financial pain of debt is a “hard” that cannot be won. It never ends. If I have choose a difficult task, I choose the one that I can win.

I chose to get out of debt, and live a life of financial freedom.

Are you living a lifestyle of financial pain?  Which path have you chosen?

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18 Responses to “Pain is NOT a Lifestyle”

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  1. Daniel says:

    This is the second article in 4 days that I felt was written about me. At the time when you’re friends / family are inviting you on a weekend beach trip (or whatever the activity might be) it’s just so easy to say “sure” and in your mind you justify it by saying “their house is free, we won’t spend that much” and “we’ll eat cheap next month to make it up.” The problem comes when another invitation comes two weeks later, then you’re twice as much in the hole.

    At the time, it seems horrible to tell the offeror “we’ll have to take a raincheck” and then tell your wife “sorry, we just can’t afford it.” Nobody (especially guys) want to take that shot to the ego by accepting the fact that the other families can afford it but you can’t. Accepting my situation and the size of the hole I’d dug was one of the keys for me to get serious about curing my debt problem.

    Congratulations Travis, only 8 more months to go for you! I can’t wait to be that close to the goal!

    • Travis says:

      One of the very important things that I’ve learned over the last four years is that “making it up later” rarely works. If you don’t have the money NOW, then don’t do it. There will ALWAYS be opportunity to spend money!

      Great job on accepting your situation, and good luck on getting rid of your debt….please keep us updated on how you’re doing from time to time.

      You can do it! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Daniel!

  2. Nice post Travis! I remember that pain all too well and it gave me the motivation to get my debts paid off once and for all. Sadly, too many individuals do not choose to get out from that pain and choose to live the painful life of living with debt. You’re doing great sir and nearly at the end of that tunnel! :)

    • Travis says:

      Thanks so much John! I think there are a lot of people that just can’t accept that they need to make HUGE changes to better their life. Once you can accept change, you can do anything!

  3. I think the key point you make Travis is that the way we live is a choice, most of the time. We can change, as you and your wife have done, if we resolve to change. As you’ve chronicled, it’s not easy, but in the end very worthwhile!

    • Travis says:

      That’s exactly right, Kurt…one of my favorite motivational sayings is, “I didn’t say it was going to be easy. I said it was going to be WORTH IT!” It’s SO WORTH IT!

  4. “Getting out of debt is hard. Living with debt is hard. Choose your hard.”

    What a great quote! Yes, it’s hard to get out of debt, but so is living with it. And at least the pain is gone once you get out of debt. If you choose to live with it, who knows how long you’ll be in pain?

    • Travis says:

      I Love that quote as well….and it can be applied to any challenge that life can throw at you. I’m looking forward to that pain being gone, Lisa…8 more months! Thanks for stopping by EOD!

  5. Moni says:

    I’m like Daniel and lately there have been a number of articles that have just hit the bullseye, and this is one of them. Thank you for sharing how hard it was on your marriage. I get a bit down as we have so far to go and so many of the blogs I read are so close to the goal line, but at least my journey has begun and 12 months from now either nothing will have changed or I will have made significant progress, its up to me.

    • Travis says:

      I’m glad that the post resonated with you, Moni – I’m also very happy when I find posts that seem to hit home. Starting the journey is very difficult, and I congratulate you on making the decision to begin, Moni. You won’t regret it….I look forward to hearing about your progress and your experiences along the way!

  6. Nice post Travis! Its all how you look at things. I thing you should coin “Choose Your Hard”. You don’t have to stay in pain and thats the great thing about finances. I have a bad back and honestly there is nothing I can do about it as surgery make only make it worse. When it comes to your finances and other things you have choices that you can make to make sure things get better. The wifey and I are working to be debt free. Well almost as I think we will still keep our mortgage. These next 8 months will fly by and you will have achieved your goals.

  7. Travis says:

    Keep working at it Thomas and you will get there! We are also keeping our mortgage – in fact I told my wife that I would fight until my last breath to keep our house. We love our home, and our neighborhood – and so far so good. Thanks for sharing, Thomas, and good luck on your journey!

  8. LOVE this, Travis, and of course, as you know, this fits our situation too. But no amount of instant gratification can make up for the feeling of being debt free- of that I am sure of. I’ll take the pain of getting out of debt, thank you very much. :-) To Daniel and Moni, hang in there. We are in a similar situation too. We’ll get out of this mess – all three of our families, just like Travis and Vonnie, and so many others have.

    • Travis says:

      It’s so HARD to get out of the cycle of getting instant gratification, then paying the price later….only to have deprived yourself for long periods of time causing you to go for another round of instant gratification – it could go on FOREVER! We have to break the cycle! Keep at it Laurie and thanks for reading!

  9. Travis you last comments sounds like a justification for using controlled substances. I see a chiro twice a month and it makes my whole life a lot better. No one wants to live in pain or with pain but we do have to make sacrifices for the things we want – sometimes financial restraint can be just as painful as physical pain.

    • Travis says:

      LOL, Tahnya, I certainly don’t condone controlled substance abuse. :) Financial restraint is definitely hard, but that temporary sacrifice (at least the level of sacrifice…there will always have to be SOME level of restraint) is better than a lifetime of financial hardship. Thanks for your comment!

  10. SassyMamaw says:

    I remember once saying to my grown daughter that I had to ‘find’ the money to do something that weekend. She said “how do you ‘find’ money?” That was the moment that got me thinking. I wasn’t really ‘finding’ money, I was borrowing it from somewhere else. I’m now four years into a five year plan. It’s a process.

    • Travis says:

      Great story, sassymamaw – and great reminder to what lengths we will go to in order to “find money” to do something. If only we’d apply that same level of energy to getting out of debt or getting into debt in the first place, right? Thanks for sharing!

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