by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Unfortunately I do not remember where I heard this quote, but it stuck with me nonetheless.  When I heard this quote, it was aimed directly at going out and partying too much and how this impacted the next day or two.  I used to do this, way back before I actually got my sh*t together.

In high school I struggled to find my place in the social circles and felt very uncomfortable in my own skin.  To combat this, I would try to be the fun party guy on weekends to hang out with the cool kids.  Fridays would be spent asking everyone “where’s the party at?” and map out a plan for the weekend’s festivities.  I had “liberated” a big glass pitcher from a restaurant at one point and would show up at parties with it.  This allowed me to fill it up with beer from the keg someone had or dip it into the garbage can full of jungle juice and save the trouble of going back multiple times for refills.  It also meant that I could refill the red plastic cups of the girls I was trying to get the attention of as well.  As I recall, this did not serve the purpose I was hoping, as I gave away a lot of free drinks to still end up leaving alone.

This may be the very definition of borrowing happiness from tomorrow…

Not only was I pretending to be someone I really wasn’t, I didn’t like who I was and some of the things I did when I was drinking.  I drove way too many times when I shouldn’t have.  I got into trouble or easily could have gotten arrested for trespassing, damaging property, etc.  And to top it off, I would sleep until almost noon the next day, and do absolutely nothing all day long until nighttime, and then repeat the process.  Sundays were shot, as I was so hungover and useless at that point I literally did nothing.  I borrowed time from Sundays to do stupid crap on Friday and Saturday nights.  This is not uncommon for many teens to do, and to some degree, some of this is probably good to get out of your system.  I can tell you from experience that at least when you do this thing regularly you do lean how to handle yourself in these situations.  It was evident on our senior class trip to Mazatlan who had experienced that level of partying before and who had not.  All of the “good kids” who had never drank to excess before had no idea how to handle themselves while in Mexico.  So I guess there’s that…

But in the grand scheme of things I was truly borrowing happiness from Sunday to do what I was doing on Friday and Saturday nights.  I missed hunting and fishing trips with my Dad, I missed some family events, and I missed a lot more.  I grew out of this before college, luckily.  I did it way too young, and way too hard, and then I decided that I was going to pursue something that needed my full attention and dedication, and this pattern of behavior had to be broken.

Many people go through this same cycle, but the pattern switches to something new before long.  In many cases, it takes the form of financial “borrowing”, both figuratively and literally.  When your mindset become “buy now, pay later” like the example I shared above, it is easy to have that settle in to being the way you operate with lots of things.  Like buying your first car; you pick something that is more than you can really afford, so you lease or finance it.  Now you are working a job you hate just to afford the car you wanted but don’t have as much time to enjoy.  That new pick up truck sits in the school parking lot or at work, and that’s about it.  You have to work the night shift to fit your school schedule, and this extends to the weekends as well.  Now you are missing doing things with all your friends and working a job you hate just to drive a vehicle you can barely afford.

Next this may extend into credit card abuse, buying things on a credit card because you can’t afford to pay cash for them.  You are borrowing from the future to make yourself temporarily happy in the present.  Itis the same pattern as before, you are taking things (time and money) from your future self to make the current self happy(ish).  We all know that the shine of a new vehicle wears off before the third payment hits, and yet we spend money trying to impress people around us, many of who we don’t even know.  It sounds crazy on paper, I know, but it the American way of life.  It seems as though ultra-consumerism and flashes of wealth are the most common way people live.  Everyone wants to look like they’ve “made it” before most ever come close.  And we are doing it to the tune of 28% interest…

Break the cycle.  Stop what you are doing and take a step back to evaluate how you are operating.  If you are living beyond your means, you need to put a stop to that immediately.  Trust me, I was doing this myself for a long time and I wracked up about $70K in debt doing it.  It took a monumental effort to get out from under that mountain of debt, but I did it.  Think how much easier it would be to never let things go that far off track in the first place.  And in case you were wondering, this amount did not include a mortgage and only half of it was student loan debt.  It was all unnecessary expenses, car lease, apartment I couldn’t really afford, date nights at nice restaurants with my boujee girlfriend at the time.  It added up quickly, and I kept telling myself that some day I’ll get a job that pays enough money to get rid of all this debt.  I was lying to myself; it was the behavior pattern that was the problem, not the lack of money.  Sure enough, the more money I made the more I spent…

Once I changed my mindset and learned about money and how I was borrowing from my future all the time by living the way I was, I finally broke the cycle.  It took some work, some difficult conversations with myself and my girlfriend, but I did it.  And this means you can too.  And believe me, the sooner you face this head on, the better.  For me, the journey started with this book.  I am far happier now and live a much more secure life because of breaking this cycle.  I sleep at night far better than I ever have before.  You can too, once you break the cycle of borrowing from your future self to make yourself happy now.

I wish you luck in your freedom-seeking endeavor.

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