I have debt fatigue.
I don’t know if 34 day burnout is a thing, but I have it. I know it’s ludicrous and it’s only been 34 days but I’m someone that has spent the last 10 years buying something new almost every single day, whether it’s a chocolate bar or a new dress. When people invited me out for drinks, the only time I would say no is if I’m already out having other drink plans I committed to first. I’m not one for saying no. And the last 34 days have been a world of No. And I hate to say it, but I’m tired.
I can always choose to go down a road of gratitude and being thankful and realizing my debt fatigue is a first world problem, etc etc, but I need something a little more topical right now to hold on to while I spend another night at home actually wishing I was out with my friends having fancy fried chicken with even fancier cocktails (fried chicken is quickly becoming a big thing here. I need to improve on my DIY fried chicken skills seeing I’m no longer dishing out money for it at a restaurant).
So what does one hang on to when they’re feeling tired of saying no and perceived self-deprivation? Seeing this – in the grand scheme of things – is an addiction to the superficial (a strong one that can ruin lives, I’m certainly not discounting it by naming it superficial), it may take a more superficial approach to quell the urge to spend. As much as I know that in my heart of hearts that I’m incredibly lucky to be living in a developed nation with ample food and health care and safety, I’m not in that space at that very moment. I’m doing my best to evolve into a more ‘spiritual’ or what have you individual, focusing on the deeper meanings of life, but that ebbs and flows and there’s time stretches like the one I’m in now where I’m just the lay person that wants a new dress and a platter of fancy fried chicken with a mojito. I need something real topical right now to hold on to.
I think what’s happening here is that seeing I’m just at the starting point of my journey, my big dreams feel a little too big, and therefore unattainable. Being debt free and having amassed enough to be close to FI but still at a place where traveling and taking care of my mom comfortably feel so very far away (I haven’t touched on the fully financially independent dream yet – trying to learn to crawl before I learn to sprint). Once I start gaining momentum I know that the dream will feel closer and more achievable, but from my starting point and how long it’s taking to launch, it feels like this massive unattainable dream. The problem with having dreams that can feel too big is that it’s sooo easy to just say “ah, screw it. I’ll never get there anyways so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.” I’m realizing that to combat this, I have to take my eyes off the horizon every so often to focus on the next few steps ahead of me, and realize there’s incredible places to visit along the journey and not just when arriving at the destination.
I have not thought of any solutions just yet that I’ve put in place that I can say are working. However I’m starting by taking my big dream and shrinking it into mini-size versions of it to enjoy in the meantime until I get there. I feel like these mini-dreams are what’s helping me combat the urge to spend right now. I may not be able to join my friends for drinks or buy that dress I really want, but I’m visiting my grandpa in Europe this summer, and maybe one less dress and one less night out means I can now rent a car to take my grandparents into the next town and have dinner by the lake. I can’t go see that Cirque du Soleil show with all the girls but that $100 can go towards extending my work trip to Cali in the spring by a couple days and finally being able to visit San Diego. I’m going to spend time focusing on my ‘coming soon’ rewards to keep me motivated. I believe in time I’ll also see the beauty of the more subtle ‘right now’ rewards of saying no and enjoying the art of spending time without spending money. There’s still a lot more to go, and I’m realizing more and more there’s still a long way to grow.