One thing about having giant student loans is how helpless you feel. You see a giant money sink crushing your hopes and dreams beneath its current. All sweat and tears go to feeding that behemoth. No wonder Dave Ramsey and the financial independence blogs urge us to kill it immediately. No wonder people my age feel such anxiety and despair. No wonder so many of us become filled with resentment.
Resentment is the fuel behind the firestorm in politics today. And underneath that resentment are the shackles to money. What began as a path to freedom instead led us to bondage. Now the scramble for income begins. Jumping from contract to contract. Ubering in the evenings and weekends to pay that tuition. Part-time jobs stacked on top of each other. The frantic searching for any means to lower the tax burden.
Ideas form. Someone is profiting off me. Look at those Board of Regents, smirking contemptuously as they raise tuition for the nth year in a row. Look at that hedge fund manager, complaining about me spending a little bit of my money on avocado toast (Never tried it, but it sounds delicious!). Look at those clueless pundits, telling me to spend more money to stimulate the economy. Look at that champion of the poor, garnering hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaker fees. Then the ideas become more sinister. Look at those ethnic groups, profiting off my hard work. They get a free ride and presume to lecture me on what a bad person I am.
Do I exaggerate a little (a lot)? Yes, I do. But the feelings are real, and as an adult, it is my responsibility to form a proper and productive response to these feelings. Look at my examples. Notice a pattern? Those are other people’s opinions and actions. They are not under my control. Sure, you can tell off that member of a well-off ethnic group, but ultimately, their actions and their opinions are not under your control. I’m not saying that if they’re wrong, don’t try to convince them they’re wrong. I’m saying don’t let your anger and resentment sabotage you.
For resentment is an addiction. It becomes its own shackle. Complain about people dependent on welfare, but that’s nothing compared to dependence on resentment. It gives you an excuse not to do anything about your own situation. That’s the insidiousness of a victim ideology. You feel these vast uncontrollable forces screwing you over and that’s not fair. You are sapped of any will to change your own situation. And then you trap yourself in your own suffering.
Let go of it. Even if it’s true that these vast forces are keeping you down, it is better to take charge of your problems than not. So when I look at those monthly student loan payments, rather than try to bury it by buying beer or posting a rant on the Internet, I will close my eyes, let my screaming inner child go, and use my not-beer money and healthier blood pressure to overcome them..