01 July, 2013

The "AND THEN" Argument of stupid debts and student loans

WHAT IF the biggest "hell no" argument was just removed from a discussion? It'd start like this: Hey, did you know, you could study overseas and get your degree much cheaper. Normally, they'd interject with all the things that they didn't like about that, all the things they saw as negative. But what if, what if those things are (gasp) potential positives after all? It's a whole new discussion:

I COULD go overseas and get my education.

BUT THEN, I'd have to stretch my brain and learn a foreign language.

AND THEN, I'd have to learn to live in a modest apartment while I studied.

AND THEN, I'd have to eat home-cooked food and avoid spending money on useless junk.

AND THEN, I'd have a world-class education.

AND THEN, I'd have no student debts.

AND THEN, I'd have a broader perspective on life than just the town I grew up in.

But why stop there? We could do it with work, too.

I COULD move overseas and work in another country.

BUT THEN, I'd have to adapt to a totally new culture.

AND THEN, then I'd have to pay more tax.

AND THEN, I'd have a lower salary.

AND THEN, I'd have to live in a modest home.

AND THEN, I'd have fewer things.

AND THEN, I'd have free health care, excellent public services, reliable public transport, and good, free education for my children.

AND THEN, I'd be happier.

Unfortunately most people just derail the entire conversation when the tax and salary thing starts. As if tax and salaries are the only things that matter in life.

Sure, you can't pay the bills with shiny-happy-thoughts, but you're still missing the point. I'm absolutely tired of people who have a LOT of money but still think that they don't. They still want more. They still think they pay too much tax compared with Joe Average. They still think things suck more for them than they suck for everyone else.

And the people who think money is more important than everything. That the only way to happiness is enormous debts. That these things are necessary, because there is no other way to eventual financial freedom. That they will need to do all these things because the big salary at the end is the only way to be happy in life. The ones who think they would never give up expensive luxuries in exchange for living without masses of debt.

Take a lesson from a culture which values simple things. You don't need that new (whatever) and you don't need a 300 square metre apartment for just you and your frickin' cat. Lower your expectations and you could magically find that you have everything that matters.

Imagine you thought that 30 square metres for yourself was plenty. Imagine that you were perfectly content with having your bed at the other end of the living room. Now imagine that you could work part time and have no mortgage as long as you were happy with that. Or imagine that you could retire earlier, and do whatever the heck you please, as long as you're content with your two-year-old phone and your three-year-old computer and no cable tv. Or you could give up your yearly holiday to the Bahamas and just spend a month in the countryside without indoor plumbing. You could read a book by day, go fishing, then cook your dinner over an open fire.

Imagine that was enough. Imagine you had already achieved it all. Imagine the satisfaction of knowing: I did it! We made it!


It's not like that in the whole world, you know. This might mean you have to challenge what you thought you knew. Maybe you thought that the way your homeland does it is the best. Maybe you just assumed that because nobody told you any differently.

There are many of us who don't think education should be about profit. Look into it. Find out where we are. Learn something.