This post is a little different from my most personal finance stuff and with good reason. I have been thinking a little bit about what makes a person who they are and what they are about. Some of you may know that things have been a little rough with health care problems with my boyfriend. Thankfully, he is doing better. I didn’t want to talk about that yet but I did want to talk about how adversity affects you. We have all had crazy and bad things happen in our lives. It is just the way the world is built. Sometimes sh*t happens and the only thing you can control is your reaction.
When I worked at the drug treatment center, we had a lot of people with very unique problems. It wasn’t unusual to run into someone who had lost their jobs or been suspended from school over drug or alcoholic use. Of course, it was never just the drug use that was the real problem. Sure, there were some people who used out of pure boredom, but those cases were few and far between. The overwhelming majority had underlying issues of depression, anxiety, feelings of deep insecurity, or even negative side effects of some form of abuse. People rarely wanted to get high because they were already exceedingly happy and content with their own lives. It was just a side effect of something deeper that was going on.
I once had a student that confessed that his drug use was due to the fact that he had been abused as a child. It was a way of medicating the feelings that were left over from that traumatic situation. He never got much use out of the traditional forms of talk therapy or much family support so drugs seemed an attractive option to him. You can argue all day why he should have chosen a healthier alternative to deal with his feelings but that doesn’t change what happened. His trauma defined him enough to want him to take illegal substances, which then made society define him as a drug addict. This is very negative of course, but what also defined him was the fact that he was getting treatment for his problem. He could have just kept taking the drugs and possibly overdose later down the line. That would have been the easier thing to do but he chose to fight back.
I have talked before about how I have had friends who have had bad spending problems (myself included). Most of them have finally said f*ck it and got their lives together. Some are still learning their lesson, and I only hope they can learn before something truly awful happens. For my friends that did get it, the financial lesson that was learned is what defined them. Having the foresight to make responsible decisions in the future is now what will define them as they move towards the future. Having maxed out their credit cards and be left with nothing was enough of a defining moment for them to do something.
I have been lucky enough in my life to have met some pretty remarkable people that were able to do some pretty incredible things. I will always have a tremendous amount of respect for those that have been victims of the proverbial “rainy days” and managed to tell the tale. I always think it is good to sit down at some point and just reflect on everything you have been through and really appreciate where you are now. And even if you are not in the best of places, knowing that peace will come can mean the difference between being happy or not.
Every second of every day can mean a defining moment in your life. It is all about how you react to the situation. I am slowly realizing that this is the case but it has taken me some time to get to that point. When it is all over, I know I will be better for it.
So what defines you?