When I was in my 20’s, credit card companies were throwing credit at me like guys throwing beads to girls during Mardi Gras! It was awesome. I had this piece of plastic that allowed me to buy the things I wanted without having to put up the cash I had in my pocket. I felt free. I felt important. I felt like I was “adulting”. If I saw something, I would just charge it and worry about it later. The credit cards wasted no time in fulfilling my needs. But like in any relationship, if only one side is getting their needs met, it creates imbalance and that is when bad things start to happen.
I remember when my first bill came. I looked at the due date and said, “Oh, I have plenty of time to pay this. I will do it later.” Then “later” came and I would make another excuse to myself to not pay. I just kept putting it off and putting off. I was not aware of the consequences that I would be facing down the road by allowing this behavior. It got so bad I found myself over $20,000 in debt with horrible credit. Nobody was going to finance me for anything. I wouldn’t answer my phone because I had bill collectors calling me and even when I did have a little money to pay some bills off I chose not to because I was so far into debt what was the point?
So, I lived for years just accepting the hole I dug for myself and not really doing anything about it. I had friends getting financed for new cars and all sorts of awesome things but I also had a lot of friends in my same situation and it made me feel better. It didn’t motivate me to want to change but it just made me feel better about not taking responsibility.
I’m sure some of you are thinking “This is a dog blog. Why is he talking about his poor credit decisions?”
Well, here’s why. Think about the problems you have with your dog. Are they a priority? Are you fulfilling your dog’s needs? Have you let your problems with your dog(s) get so bad that you’re considering re-homing them? It’s easy to let things build up and then when it gets to be too much, we just walk away or ignore them. But you see, the problem never really goes away. We live in a world where we want OUR needs met but we just don’t “have time” or we’re “too tired” to reciprocate. I get it, “taking” is tiring. I know. I did it through all of my 20’s!
But with all luxuries in life come responsibilities. You want a nice big house? You will have a nice big responsibility. You want that new car? You gotta want the responsibility. You want a well-behaved dog? It takes a lot more than feeding them and giving them water. That’s just the bare minimum. Taking care of another life is absolutely the biggest responsibility of them all.
School of Dog Psychology taught me that there’s that moment when you “know” and then that moment when you “do”. The time in between the “know” and the “do” is when the most damage is done.
But the good thing about these situations (in my case, bad credit) is that you can wake up any day of the week and decide you want to work on it. It won’t get better overnight but if you keep chipping away at it you would be amazed how far you can move forward…even if it’s at a snail’s pace. These days my credit has gone from “shitty” to “bad” and I’m just around the corner from getting it to “good”. And I did it by asking for help. I talked to people who had dug themselves into a similar situation and asked how they got out of it. I asked “experts” in the field for advice. And even then, with all the information I took in…I still had to do something about it and take all I had learned and put it into action.
It’s never too late to change but change doesn’t just happen. You have to want to do it. Our dogs can’t talk but if they could they would be asking us what THEY can do to motivate us. They would be asking us what more can they GIVE to fix the relationship. Because that’s the nature of a dog. We can try our hardest but we could only wish to be as forgiving as them! Maybe if dogs ran credit card companies I wouldn’t be in this mess. 😉 But as I’ve learned, the one with the most information is the most responsible. And that’s us. Every time.
I can’t tell you when to change no more than anyone could tell me that I need to “man up” to my responsibilities. You gotta get there on your own but when you do, it’s the most awesome feeling ever.
My hope is that after you read this is that you decide that day is today!