Every Saturday morning, I drive to the hospital instead of taking public transit. It’s the only way I can make it to both jobs on time. It’s a pretty straightforward drive now that I’m used to it.
The thing that still gets me is the inefficiency of the stop lights. I’ve learned the pattern…and it’s deliberately set up so that you can’t go more than 3 blocks at a time without stopping. The lights seem to work in blocks. So I’m at one set that I see all turn red at the same time. Just as they turn red, the next 3 turn green. When I get to next 3, they’ve already gone red.
It’s such a waste of gas, but at least it gives me time to think. And this morning, I was comparing the frustrating slowness of my commute and its forced stops to paying off debt.
Once we figure out the path to paying off debt, it can be incredibly frustrating to get stuck along the way. Maybe it’s a car that suddenly needs repair and puts your repayments on hold for a month. Or perhaps you just need to put some of the extra money aside for some work on your house.
We all get stuck at those stoplights. Sometimes we even run into construction and have to take a detour.
What matters is how we deal with those stoplights. Some days, when it’s still dark out and I’m cold and tired and waiting for the heat to start working, I sit at the stoplights and think about turning around and zipping back to my warm bed piled with blankets.
But I go to work for a reason, several reasons. I don’t know which is more primary—to earn money or to help people. It probably depends on the day (and in those early mornings it’s to earn money). I don’t want to give up on my goals.
Plus, if you give up entirely on your financial goals, you don’t get to the end. And if I give up on going to work when I’m tired and frustrated, I’ll lose my job.
Sometimes you may have to reconsider your route. Sometimes you get stuck behind a slow driver or at an interminable stoplight. Sometimes it seems like you’ll never get there. Sometimes it’s much less comfortable than the old way.
And then there are those glorious moments, where you go through green light after green light and it feels like you’ll never hit another red one. Enjoy those while you have them.
The road to debt repayment/reduction is like any road we drive on. Potholes, annoyances, accidents, detours, setbacks, and stoplights. But just like those other roads, it gets us somewhere we want to be. And keeping that in mind helps when you’re in a stuck place.
photo by downing.amanda