Sure, debt is the American Way. Here are the numbers from Slate. And lots of other organizations also provide periodic updates on how much credit card, auto loans, student loans and mortgage debt are embedded in Americana.
But few bother to find out how debt can take over a life. It isn't just a fixed monthly expense. It's a psychic phenomenon. A spell is cast.
And now that I paid off the last piece of it, I get it how much of a loser mentality I had been operating with for 13 years.
It wasn't until 2003 that I found myself in serious debt. From then until now I perceived myself as less-than. I couldn't forgive myself for entering a type of Dickensian debtors' prison.
After all, I knew damn well how debt takes away freedom - and dignity. I observed the crap my debt-ridden colleagues took from The Man.
Also my options were constrained because that monthly nut had been hanging over me. I had wanted to try out living as an expatriate in Ecuador. Now that could be part of my future. Anything can.
But most important, at least to me, is being able to stand toe to tow with anyone, again. Debt delivers a losuy haircut on a sense of self.
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