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Notes on Discouragement and Debt

28 Oct

I have been walking around feeling a heavy burden the past week or so. The dream of the farm is a logistical and financial nightmare now, and the disappointment I have experienced in this has filtered into the rest of my life- I am finding no enjoyment in little things like breakfast with my lady, waking up, taking naps, petting my dog, or anything, really, because I have met a roadblock on the way towards, I am now realizing, an unrealistic goal.

Everything was beautiful and pumped full of adrenaline at the onset of our journey to taking over the farm, but now the burdens seem too much to overcome. I am learning that you can do anything you want in the world if you have money. If you don’t have money, they say there are people who will loan you money. But they will only loan you money if you prove you don’t really need the money. So the only people getting loans are people who have enough to do it without the loans. What’s strange to me is how readily everybody gave me credit cards and student loans with 20% interest rates when I was too young to know what any of that means, but now everyone is backing away screaming when I actually want to do something with myself.

I guess I wanted a fast track to a new life. I thought I had hit the lottery with my parent’s land. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a real lottery, and I don’t have enough money or good enough credit to get a new life. I have to keep living this one until the day I die, unless I do something about this now.

So tonight, since I can’t sleep, I am trying to come up with a new plan that is not dripping in pessimism. It is hard to not feel hardened. I feel resentful of the many creditors and school loan programs that took advantage of me when I was young and now expect me to pay them back tenfold when I barely make enough money to survive each month. I feel angry at myself for being so stupid when I was younger. I feel as if I was duped into believing that an “education” in “liberal arts” would make any difference in getting a job at age 23. All it did was leave me thousands of dollars in debt and working in the service industry- unable to repay the loans and, in turn, absolutely stuck. There is no dream worth having in this situation. It is all impossible.

But I dream still the same. I will run a farm with my wonderful woman. I will make enough money to someday have kids, own a house, and buy a new pair of jeans when I need them. These things will just have to come after I pay my debts. I will take the next two years or so living even further below the poverty line so that someday I can be the person I want to be. I have done this to myself, knowingly or not, and I can un-dig this grave.

I consider this my penance- I will pay off my debts for forgiveness and do my duty, but this God will never hear another prayer escape my lips henceforth until the day that I die. I will owe nothing to anything but my own bare hands. They will never beat me again, and money will never stop me in the pursuit of something I really want.

Don’t get me wrong, I do owe them. But they have it set up so that, eventually, they aren’t just taking your money. They call your phone seven times a day from six different phone numbers asking you for money. They drop your credit score so low that it would take ten years of monthly payments to qualify for a loan. They take your tax returns without your permission. They slowly take your future.

My future is something I never promised them. They are stealing.

And I am going to take it back.

Meaningful Menial

16 Oct

My latest big observation from the journey to the farm: You never notice the community you have built in your life until you undertake a new adventure.

I kept the news of the farm quiet for quite some time. There are a lot of reasons for this, the main one being that I was afraid it was going to be passed off as yet another of my many whims destined to fall on the wrong end of the filter called “reality.” They did a study somewhere (this is why I’m not a scientific writer) that came to the conclusion that, when people state their dreams out loud, it is occasionally detrimental. This is because simply saying an idea can bring on an often undeserved sense of accomplishment before anything is done towards achieving the goal. I have to admit that sometimes, for some people, stating a dream is an accomplishment. In my case, however, it has always come back to bite me in the butt because, for the most part, my “dreams” involve having copious amounts of time, money, no debt, and being stunningly beautiful and talented.

As time progressed, however, I began to realize that this may be really happening. I may be helping my parents farm 5-7 acres of their land. I told a couple of close friends and shut my eyes, expecting for everything to fall apart because I opened my big mouth about one of my grand ideas again. But it kept happening. Then I let it slip to a few of my favorite customers at work and shut my eyes. And there it was: still happening.

Then, something even more amazing began to unfold.

People. People I see every day and generally take for granted, people who are generally customers/acquaintances, occasional irritants, and that I have served for more than three years suddenly came to me out of their own volition to offer themselves. I didn’t know that the guy who may or may not get highlights in his hair, drives a really fast BMW, and refuses to drink out of anything but a to-go cup is actually a high-acreage farmer with an old tractor he doesn’t use for sale at an unbelievable price. And the woman who shows up 5 minutes before opening every day has been an Urban Homesteader for 25 years and wants to help us at harvest time and offer any advice on what grows well in Colorado for free. And then there’s my coworker who, unbeknownst to me, has a Master’s in Geology from DU and spent three of her years prior to working at Kaladi helping run a CSA near Chatfield.

And believe it or not, these are just 3 of many examples of the people in my community coming forward with free advice, information, and contacts to help me on this path. I didn’t even know that I had a community. I often feel very alone outside of my partner and my close coworker friends. I have felt tired, unappreciated, and unfulfilled in my job. I often wondered if I was a complete waste of a life. It is easy to feel that way in the service industry- it becomes all about money and very little about people. I mean, I serve around 200-500 of them every morning. It is easy to lose track of individual meaning in 2-6 minute interactions.

But today, I am looking at it very differently. I have learned loyalty from this job; I would do anything for the owners of Kaladi because I believe in their business practices and honestly, they have helped me out when my power was shut off and it seemed all was lost. I work hard and as perfectly as I can not just because if they fail I lose my job, but because if they fail, I fail. I have learned how to treat employees if I ever have them. I have learned the ins and out of a complex wholesale business. I have learned to show up on time and work when I don’t want to. I have learned to be nice to people when I am two weeks into the flu, haven’t had a day off in 14 days, and could curl up on a bag of green beans in the back and sleep for hours if I wanted to. And now because of all of this, I have earned a huge, caring community.

It makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.