Tuesday, November 4, 2008

As Nancy Reagan Says, Just Say No

While driving home from work today I saw the following license plate frame:


and I thought to myself, isn't this how we got in this (now global) financial mess in the first place?

Now, I'll be honest, I have debt (see my last post and you'll see how my debt has grown recently). Frankly, I think most of us can't survive without a little bit of manageable debt. And I fully agree that there is a huge difference between an investment (such as student loans) and debt. But as I read this ominous message today, I couldn't help but shudder. What has happened to us? Since when does want equate entitlement? Why have we as a nation become so greedy?

When I was younger, I was frequently told NO by my parents. They told me NO because they just didn't have the money. They told me NO to protect me. They told me NO even when I begged and wouldn't let up. They told me NO because they saw what a miserable outcome their YES could cause. And it is true, NO sucked for a minute, but then I was on to the next thing and clearly I survived the rejection.

As I look at the greediness that seems to plague our society, I keep thinking that maybe we need to tell ourselves NO a little more. No, you don't need another pair of funky gold earrings. No, you should make last year's coat last through this year too. No, you can rent a movie instead this weekend.

You might notice this is all directed at me and my unnecessary purchases. And so I'm putting it out there in the blogosphere. I'm going to tell myself NO just a little bit more. I'm going to start weighing the difference between want and need. I may see it and like it and even want it, but that doesn't mean that I get it.


Wemdu Pea said...

I really think we had a completely different childhood. :)

Alice said...

Amen and Amen. I'm afraid the lack of discipline and actually limiting ourselves in a whole lot of things have resulted in some of the major problems we have today, not just that whole debt thing.

Thanks for the reminder kid. I really need to try harder myself :)

Jen said...

I love this post. I think there is such a pervasive sense of entitlement right now, and I'm almost glad there is a nasty old recession to give us all (me included) a serious reality check and increase our gratitude.