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saving money, living life, brooklyn
My relationship with my Discover Card (DC) began in college. We were just friends. The only time we saw each other was in a group while out to eat with friends or at the movies. It was an amicable, mutual friendship. Sometimes DC covered me for lunch but I was always good for it, I didn’t want to owe anybody. By the time I graduated, our friendship had maintained strong and what I saw as equal.
When I moved to New Jersey without a job, DC went above and beyond the role of a friend to loan me some money. I was extremely grateful. “Don’t worry about it, you can pay a little bit back at a time.” I knew I would find a job soon and this was just to get me over the hump. DC was being so nice about it.
Within a month I found a new job. This is where I should have thanked DC for helping me out in tough times and stopped borrowing. But I got a little greedy. My paycheck could cover my rent and food, but there wasn’t much leftover for fun, clothes, or trips. Since DC was being so nice, I kept taking the hand outs. After all, I deserved to treat myself. I was still paying DC back little by little which was a fine arrangement.
A year later, I found a much better job and realized I didn’t need DC’s help at all now. I was appreciative for the help I had received but could now completely fend for myself. I cut all further borrowing but stuck to my word and kept repaying DC bit by bit.
A little while later it occurred to me that it was taking a really long time to repay DC. Finally, I got up the courage to find out how much I actually owed and was taken back. I was indebted to DC by $3K. As this was the first time I had ever significantly owed money, I was upset and depressed. I was making my own money now but knew it would take forever to repay this.
Fortunately, DC understood my predicament and did a few things to help me with the repayment. Then I got my butt in gear and began paying large chunks instead of little bits. I sacrificed a night out to put towards paying DC back. I hated knowing I was in debt. Finally, after what felt like forever but actually wasn’t, I was told that I owed nothing further. I had repaid for my greediness and then some.
I was happy. DC was happy. However, I now felt our relationship was a bit awkward. I began to keep my distance, no longer bringing DC along for dinner or movies. I was still mad at myself and thought it best to go our separate ways more or less. After some time, our friendship disappeared from my memory. I did not miss DC and was perfectly happy in life with new friends like Cash. I didn’t think about DC again for several years.
It took yet another move across state lines for those old feelings to come back. When I moved to Manhattan, I fell into a severe depression. I was feeling lonely in a new place and wasn’t making enough money at my job to afford my small apartment. I hated where I lived so I went out all the time. When I wasn’t out, I was sitting in my tiny bedroom crying to myself and feeling hopeless. During these times, memories of DC came back to me. Memories of how understanding and helpful DC was, of course. Not memories of how awful I felt paying everything back.
On one sad Saturday afternoon, through tears I went through all of my boxes of old memories, pictures, phone numbers, and cards until I found what I was looking for. What I thought was my only hope and my only way for happiness during that time. On this sad Saturday afternoon, I rekindled my friendship with DC.
DC helped me find new clothes so I could fit in and feel more comfortable. DC gave me tips on decorating my tiny bedroom so I would be happier with it. DC took me out to the movies and bought me dinner so I could try out all the new places. DC said I deserved to travel and needed a break from the busy city. DC was there for me.
I say this and I know what you’re thinking. Why go through this again? How did I not know what was going to happen? I think, at the time, I just didn’t care. I was so desperate to live a normal life again I really didn’t care what it would take to get there.
With DC’s motivation, I moved out of my small, dark apartment into a much better one in Brooklyn. I bought some furniture and decorations, all with DC’s help. I found a new job that allowed me to afford the nicer apartment and a lifestyle, without needing to rely on DC as much as I had before. I adopted some cats, took up new hobbies, and was slowly starting to feel like a normal human being. I didn’t wake up every morning crying. I didn’t walk around the office feeling like a zombie. I started to see a small speck of light at the end of the tunnel.
That was when I woke up, again, and re-assessed my friendship with DC. I was, again, extremely grateful for the help and this time felt a little bit more justified in borrowing. Regardless, I did remember my lesson from before and, on the day I “snapped out of it”, looked at just how much DC helped me. I was $5K in the hole this time.
I couldn’t let that sink me back into the hole of depression so I quickly made a bold plan to sacrifice nights out, enjoy nights in at the apartment I now loved, and repay DC in large chunks regularly. DC and I talked about this and with our current plan in place, our friendship will once again be back on equal ground by the fall of this year.
However, I have not decided if it is a friendship I want to continue at all after that. I’m not sure we will ever be equal.