Saturday, January 07, 2017

#7 - I Should Have Turned Left #blogaday

If I were to say I had no regrets, I'd be lying, clueless or living an unexamined life. But... are there things I regret that I could have actively changed? Without hindsight or retrospect... is there a point where I had the decision right in front of me and I zigged when I should have zagged? Something I really, truly regret?  Something that changed my life?

There's not a lot. How is that possible?  I feel like a lot of what's happened in my life has happened to me, not necessarily things I've directly controlled, or things I influenced but happened over time. Frankly, I've been quite lucky - I've been blessed. But flip a coin moment... turn left or turn right?

Two things come to mind.  The first was after an unfortunate night of excessive alcohol consumption. I told a friend that I didn't want to speak to them for three months. I watched the calendar and when three months hit, I held my breath. The days ticked by with no contact. Close to four months, they tentatively contacted me. So, first off, I had misremembered what I'd told them - I'd told them four months not three. We've reconnected and they didn't hold it against me.  So, really stupid move I really regret, but it didn't change my life. (Except resolved not to do that again - the extensive drinking or treating my friends like that.)

Oh, Mad TV... if only I'd been paying attention.
The other thing... pure stupidity. Shortly after moving to California (the first time), I signed up with one of those dating firms. Way before internet, those ones that they always mock - you record a video, they have a big library of video tapes and binders of photos and bios. I hadn't dated a lot and now I was in a new city and didn't know anyone and thought that I needed to take matters into my own hands. I hadn't dated a lot in my life, but all had been quite awesome and all had occurred when I wasn't looking. Love found me. But now I was going to take control? Or I was going to get some company help me?

First off, it was a scam. When you first go in there they go and grab some binders and bring them back to show you the kinds of people meet what you're looking for. What you don't realize is that people can take themselves "off market" - a little slip of paper gets added to the binder.  So when they bring the binders out for you to look at, they quickly slip out the pieces of paper. Everyone they showed me when I signed up was all "off market" when I came back later to look through the binders.

Secondly, they don't care once they have your money. They don't really tell you if your video is good or not and if you suck at things like talking on the phone, even if you do find some connections, they might not call back.

Third, they know that much like joining a gym, you'll lose motivation quick. Who wants to keep going back to that place and looking through binders full of non-matches. (This was before the internet and search engines and relational/relationship databases.)  Unlike a gym which keeps sucking out of your checking account month after month, they get it all up front.

And so that's the regret.

Not that I used a dating company, not that it didn't work (I'm so glad it didn't), it was that when I signed up for that stupid thing, I went into debt. It was the first time I put more on a credit card that I could pay off at the end of the month (actually, split it onto two cards because all my cards have what now would be considered laughably low credit limits). And once I was paying less than the full amount, a line had been crossed.

I was still in debt when I got married and it wasn't until we sold a house at the top of the market (that my parents had helped us buy) that we broke the cycle. Unfortunately, unanticipated events caused us to go into debt once more after that, but I'm glad to say that now we have once again put a stop to it and we think we now understand the signs and how to avoid getting into consumer debt again.

And we know how good it feels to not be in debt.

Full Disclosure: Some stuff came up this weekend and this was posted a day late. Same with #8. Will get back on track shortly.

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Blogaday 2017 (what is blogaday?)
Tomorrow: #8 - Bacon and Eggs

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