Having Tea with a Gorilla in a Dress

The analogy I use is this: Let’s say you’ve gone and purchased yourself a pet gorilla… as people often do. Years of work have gotten you to a point where the gorilla will even let you put a pink dress on it and have pretend tea parties together...

Starting Credit Card Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Credit Card Debt: $108,870.87
Total Paid Off: $17,439.90
Income Going to Savings: 2%

Being in debt has been incredibly stressful on me and my family. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my debt, and frankly there are times when it crosses my mind several times per hour.

I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but it’s all I can do to keep exercising and meditating daily just to keep my heart from exploding clean out of my chest at times!

The stress has lifted a bit now that we’ve regained some control and have our monthly bills covered. [Note: We started close to $4,000 upside down every month!] I’ve also got everything set up to auto-pay now, so nothing is late and no late charges are assessed and for the most part we can cover everything each month.

The problem is that it leaves us with almost nothing to put aside. On some months I can spare a couple hundred bucks to toss into savings, but until we get some things paid off later in the year with a bonus and some vesting stock, we’re in a literal paycheck-to-paycheck cycle right now.

The analogy I use is this: Let’s say you’ve gone and purchased yourself a pet gorilla… as people often do. Years of work have gotten you to a point where the gorilla will even let you put a pink dress on it and have pretend tea parties together.

You and your gorilla talk for hours (it’s very one-sided since gorillas can’t talk) as you sip your imaginary tea and nibble on your imaginary fruit-filled cake. Aside from the gorilla’s sometime gassy nature, most likely brought about by the imaginary fruit in the imaginary fruit-filled cake, you feel good about how in control you are of this 500lb sack of muscle and hair.

So one day you are having tea with your gorilla and something irritates him. He’s gotten miffed before when you’ve zipped up one-too-many of his back hairs in the zipper on the dress, but never like this!

In a fit of rage, your once charming pet gorilla snaps. He grabs you by your scrawny neck, gently pulls your lips off of your face, ties your arms into a pretty little bow, and then uses you as his own personal trampoline for the next 2 hours.

Our situation right now feels like that pet gorilla. We have things in hand right now, but what if something goes wrong? What if we are hit with a medical emergency? What if the roof leaks? What if our furnace decides it prefers blowing out ice cold air instead of warm? What if the refrigerator gets jealous of the ice cold air the furnace is now blowing and decides to retire altogether?

In other words… what if our pet gorilla snaps?

Our debt has us just one emergency away from being our own version of a the human trampoline described above, and it is terrifying. With a buttload of determination and no small amount of luck, we are hoping our gorilla just continues to smile and sip his tea until we can ship him back to the gorilla store from whence he came.

My advice to you? Don’t bring home a gorilla at all. Make sound choices with your money, and maybe bring home the occasional hamster. Just make sure the hamster is a fan of tea.

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