I’ve decided that I only have two life options left. Within the next five years, I must either be my own boss or I have to change my name and work on a Syrian cargo ship and re-emerge after 15 years as a hardened terrorist.
While the latter option has a certain level of romance and the potential for much needed catharsis down the line, I’ve decided to pursue the former option. My big stumbling block is that I emerged from years of pain with a huge credit debt, thanks to my arguably still-born publishing empire. It would have been a proper empire, really, if people had stopped stealing shit from me. Two so-called friends, at two different points, ripped me off for a combined total of ten grand. And then a so-called literary investment group fucked me over for about seven grand.
That’s all my fault, of course. Once, many years ago, I believed in humanity, love, friendship, and hope. I have since learned that everyone is a lying cheat watching out for nothing but their own greedy desires.
When the dust settled and I resumed living a normal life, I found myself with well over 30k riding on various credit cards. And, because I work a shit-swilling poverty wage job, and live in a town where the landlords only accept slave children or gold, I saw no way to get ahead.
I started to work as many extra jobs as I could, sacrificing my entire life to customer service hell seven days a week, and threw every extra penny at the credit cards.
Now, three years and a few major setbacks later, I’m glad to report that the credit debt is down to 18k. It was a blind rush to pay it off, with no plan, no strategy in place. Just knee-jerk panic, and occasional bouts of defeatism and surrender. Be an American, embrace the debt… That’s actual advice many people gave me.
Fuck them. Getting under the 20k mark was a whip-smart wake up call. It’s possible to be free again. To return to the days before I attempted to build a publishing empire and achieve something. In those days, I traveled at will. I paid bills and rent a year in advance and never worried about them. I had life, and, even in pain, it was beautiful.
I sat down and actually did some math, which started up parts of my brain long ago blocked by blood clots. I cooked up a plan in three phases, with the Syrian terrorist backup firmly in place.
Phase one: I pay off the remainder of the debt. This will involve working for morons and driving myself to drink, but, if I maintain the current course, I can get the credit debt paid off by January 1st, 2012. It’ll probably be sooner, but I subtracted three months to allow for setbacks and disasters because life sucks and god is a fucking cunt.
Once the debt is paid off, then phase two. I’ll continue to work for morons for two more years and try not to be driven to the point of experimenting with heroin, and, during that time, I’ll stuff money into a mattress. The goal, by May 10th, 2014, is to have twenty thousand in savings, and half a million in retirement.
Then I walk away from it all. Phase three: I move to a place where a human being can actually afford to live, and I freelance. Editing, writing, book publicity, all of that bullshit. Maybe I get an odd job here and there to keep regular money coming in (because freelance money is like trying to catch a greased pig half the time), but I never again work more than 20 hours a week for morons.
I was actually well into phase two before I produced those books. I had a life choice then, too. I could either publish books and prove to myself that I wasn’t a gimp crippled by chronic pain, or I could quit everything and live in a hilltop cabin and go insane with pain. I walked into that choice, in 2005, with about 15 grand in my pocket and zero debt.
My decision then was influenced by the pain. Life was hopeless and terrible. I needed to prove something to myself. Now, of course, life truly is beautiful. I not only have the motivation to achieve freedom and rationally manage it, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
2014 is, by the way, when I turn 40. I’ve always been a big fan of multiples of five. Every fifth year, there must be change. So come my 40th – the biggest change of all. Put an end to what will, then, be 25 years of grueling labor in the world of customer service. And 25 years of non-stop work for…nothing. A life of working for pennies from evil men and women who expect me to be grateful for the opportunity. The bosses. Middle management. The board of fucking directors. This unholy alliance of useless people who, by birth or through simple, blind luck, have nothing to worry about. Except for their own emptiness, that is. And how sad that we live in a world where so many of us envy that emptiness.
I refuse to be subjugated by the feudal barons of middle management and their elitist overseers. So the clock starts today. Get out from under, then get over, and then run free.