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How Debt Mimics Life

DSCN2377We’ve been a bit out of the loop this week on the blogging scene, as we’ve been hard at work on our hobby farm.  The place we purchased last October has two pastures out front.  When we moved in, one was fairly horse-ready, aside from a fencing issue, and the other was completely uninhabitable for grazing livestock.  It’s important to rotate your horses between at least 2 pastures, so we knew that we had to get Pasture 2 ready this spring, and we knew it was going to be some work.

The pasture was largely overgrown, and filled with rocks, mini trees ( you know, the leaf droppings that were never picked up and have since established themselves as trees in the making), not-so-mini-trees, and all sorts of other garbage.  The fence on the south side of this second pasture  is a basic electric wire fence, and was nearly surrounded by mini trees which, when touching the wire, ground out the electrical charge, so they all had to be cleared away too.

We’re about done with the clearing away process (can you say “serious arm muscles here now”?), and the next step is for Rick to cut the pasture grass down to a reasonable 8 inches or so, at which point we’ll apply a special weed killer that only kills weeds that are noxious to horses and won’t harm the horses in the process.  At that point, our two quarter horses will be able to start rotating back and forth between the two pastures and have a healthier grass supply.

As you can imagine, this has been a ton of work for all of us (in our family, the kids are out there hoofing it alongside mom and dad), and now that we’re getting near done, we’re all more than ready for some relaxation and a reprieve from pulling a million woodticks off of ourselves every evening.

All of this heavy-duty work has got me thinking quite seriously about how debt mimics life.  For instance:

A plan and the maintenance that comes with it is crucial.   Like with debt, if the previous owners of our farm hadn’t let this pasture go for so long, our workload to get things back in order wouldn’t have been so difficult and time-consuming.  If Rick and I had been more responsible when we started our life together 17 years ago, and had made a plan and some goals for our finances, the debt would not only have not gotten so out of control, it probably wouldn’t exist.

Clean-up takes time, and you need to accept that.  For most people, getting out of debt will take awhile.  It’s important here that you face that fact, and also that you be willing to put in the time in order to accomplish that long-term goal.  This reminds me of the Hoarders show.  When these houses are taken from downright dangerous back to normal, you can be assured that some serious time and work goes into the clean-up.  And so it goes with a pile of debt.

Watch this 2 minute video:

This woman’s clean up, of her debt and her house, didn’t happen overnight, and neither will yours or mine.

There will be times of discouragement and of overconfidence.  With any journey to debt free, there comes the days when you’re convinced that debt free “will never happen”, and there will be other days when you are living in a rose-colored-glasses world and you have convinced yourself that because you’ve paid off 24, 35, or 50 percent of your debt that you are now “doing well” and can slack on your budget and your frugal living.

When these days come, don’t let yourself be fooled!!  Remind yourself that your debt load is still dangerous and needs to be dealt with, and remind yourself that you’ve already accomplished a lot and that now’s not the time to give up.

Becoming debt free, or working on any goal for that matter, takes, more than anything, perseverance.  Make a decision today to persevere in your plan, and success will indeed come knocking at your door. 🙂


  1. You’re right. Being able to formulate a workable plan and then execute it is the secret to accomplishing just about everything. The hard part (for me at least) has been sticking to the plan. Being highly OCD helps. But for long term plans, life has a way of periodically knocking you down and then waiting to see if you pick yourself up and recover or go back to your old ways.

    • Laurie says:

      SO true, Myfij! That’s where the saying “Only the strong survive” kicks in. It’s exactly those times in which we have to choose to pick ourselves up and keep going, and that’s the difficult, yet simple part.

  2. the hard work out in the pastures sounds rough! I bet you all are going to get all super muscular now!:-P
    oh, yes, clean up time takes time, but it´s important to stick to the plan and hang in there, no matter how difficult and unobtainable the goal might seem.

    • Laurie says:

      Exactly, NG! That’s where most goals fail, I think, in the perseverance area. Making a plan is easy, but sticking to it is an entirely different game.

  3. With anything in life, it takes time. We must not be fooled into thinking it will go away on it’s own or that we can move it faster than speed of light. If we want to get the job done right, invest the time, set goals and make it a journey worth living.

    • Laurie says:

      Mr. CBB, you said it perfectly. The quick fix does not exist, at least not a quality quick fix. Many thanks for your wise words, friend.

  4. Too true, Laurie, about the difficulties of staying on track with most things. There are so many distractions in our long term goals. Small steps take us to great places, though.

  5. Alexa says:

    I agree with everyone else. Sticking with the plan is the hardest. But if you want to reach your goal bad enough then you will find a way.

    • Laurie says:

      Alexa, you’ve got it right. I think many people don’t want it bad enough, and that’s when failure sets in. Great point!

  6. I like your point of view Laurie, that reminds me a lot of how our situation is right now dealing with debt. If only I could have taken care of things a bit more I probably wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in right now.

    As for the wire fence grounding out I can still remember cleaning out fence rows when I was a kid so the wire wouldn’t ground out and hearing that loud snapping sound. Kind of odd I remembered that because their isn’t hardly anyone who has fences around here in Ohio anymore unless you’re grazing livestock.

    • Laurie says:

      That is funny that that stuck with you, Chris. There must be another lesson in there somewhere. 🙂 I can’t wait for the day, Chris, when both of us can celebrate our victory parties. 🙂

  7. This is a great analogy. Most things that come easy don’t change your life.

    I’m glad to hear your spring cleaning is going well. It’s always been a dream of mine to own horses and hopefully someday it will come true. I hear they’re a lot of work, but it seems worth it.

    • Laurie says:

      Jake, as a transformed city girl, I can truly say it’s a wonderful life out here, work load and all. There is something cool and peaceful about living so close to nature and so far away from stuff. 🙂

  8. Pauline says:

    it is great that you are getting the kids on board with all the work! I know how time consuming that can be. But very rewarding in the end!

    • Laurie says:

      Yes, Pauline, we really believe it’s important to make sure they’ve got a good work ethic. We are lucky, though, as they are super great kids and hard workers already at their young ages. 🙂

  9. Laurie says:

    I loved your post today and how you related it to debt issues. Keep up the great work!! 🙂

  10. Matt Becker says:

    Great comparison. I definitely agree that this kind of process is true of almost anything substantial you’re trying to accomplish. Rarely is success immediate and there are always roadblocks. The people who are successful are the ones who believe in their plan and can keep going through the tough times.

    • Laurie says:

      Matt, that’s a great way to sum it up. Those who are successful in the long term are often those willing to push their goals through the mundane and the tough stuff.

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  12. Excellent point. But just like debt, we can start cleaning up, one step at a time. I agree with most of the comments here. It won’t be easy and you’ll encounter hardships. The key is to keep moving forward.

    • Laurie says:

      We’re working on it, KC. Some days it’s difficult, but we are hanging in there. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  13. Laurie says:

    Tell me! Doesn’t that video make you want to spend the day cleaning and organizing??? Glad to hear someone else knows of the ridiculous amount of work of which I speak. We have a lot more to do, as the back 4 acres is LOADED with buckthorn. OH, joy.

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