You can pay me now, or you can pay me later

Growing up, I was exposed to a host of colloquial witticisms through which my relatively reserved and silent father imparted both his wisdom and his (sometimes embarrassingly corny) sense of humor. Two of my favorites have been dancing around in my head for the past few weeks. One I have blogged about in the past, because it's a philosophy dad and I have both adopted throughout our lives: there are no victims, only volunteers. In fact, when I wrote a song called Don't Feel Sorry For Me, it was structured around that theme: “Look, I/I wanna get it down in black and white/I made the choice/To throw the fight/Seduced by the roar of the crowd that night/It wasn’t pretty/And I/Know now that the word’s out how I sold out/You shouldn’t be surprised, I never was the kind to hold out/But this ain’t the first time I’ve been alone when it’s cold out/So I don’t need/Your pity/No, mama/I never wanted you to cry for me/My heart is just /Where it is and where it oughta be/Don’t worry/About how I’ll get where I gotta be /And don’t feel/Sorry for me (‘cause I won’t). . . .”

Of course, I was (un?)lucky enough to inherit both Dad’s logic and Mom’s emotion, so there are no victims, only volunteers has been a double-edged sword: it has empowered me to take full ownership of my life and my role in all events thereto related - but, perhaps harmfully, it has encouraged my natural tendency to assume responsibility for all things, including those beyond my control. Most notably and recently, I applied this bit of wisdom to my string of illnesses, which have plagued me now for the majority of the past five years. I’ve repeatedly acknowledged my role, if not in creating the illness, then in perpetuating the cycle by engaging in a host of exhaustive behaviors: training and partying when I should be resting; allowing myself to assume too much responsibility in all areas of life and falling prey to the inevitable, stress-related fatigue; investing too much time and effort in my work and school schedules; worrying too much about what my friends think; even thinking negative thoughts.

This brings me to today’s Dad-ism: You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.
Initially, Daddy meant this exactly as it sounded. It was his way of warning us against credit card debt, sharky car salesman at buy-here-pay-here lots, and the like. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you finance it or slap down the cash, you’re gonna have to shell out the bucks eventually, and if you put off - or let someone talk you into putting off - the inevitable deed of remittance, you’re probably going to end up paying through the teeth for the convenience. This became our catch-all phrase for matters of instant gratification and hesitation alike. And two very interesting emails from friends (1 old and 1 new) reminded me yesterday of their personal issues and the development thereof – one in sharp contrast to mine, one very similar. Reflecting on these differences and similarities, I instantly heard my dad’s voice in my head.

Wanna guess what it said?

You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.

We are all born with or acquire some type of baggage over the years. Some of us choose to - or are able to - deal with those issues immediately and go on to live fulfilling, adult lives. The rest of us grapple with our issues subconsciously or unconsciously for years until, one day, when we’re in our 20s, 30s, or even 40s, it finally dawns on us that we have demons, or we finally understand exactly what our demons are, and we must learn to handle the little bastards accordingly. There is no real difference in the two methods of payment; the debts must be settled either way. Some might think it the most horrible fate imaginable for an adolescent or teenager to grapple with issues like abusive or emotionally unavailable parents, eating disorders, even addictions – but I can’t help feeling that those of us who defer payment (either knowingly or unknowingly) end up paying a greater cost in the end. Over the years, a painful sort interest builds exponentially upon those unresolved issues, and once we finally understand or recognize them, we must pay not only the initial purchase price, but the cost of the annual consequences – a cost that isn’t incurred when payment is made up front.

That brings me back to another song I wrote, called (And)The Tears Are Pennies. “Won’t somebody tell me/where to go, what to believe/To understand/No, to really know/That all I need is me/I wanna be/So much wealthier than my means will let me be/And I’m versed on all my rights/Though I’ve cried myself to sleep so many nights . . ./And you can’t buy it at the store/Lack of monetary means don’t make you poor/ . . . And eternal earnings call me from this hole/But my pain’s the only payment that I know/ . . . (And) the tears are pennies . . .”
This applies to my training in so many ways. I'm paying right now for the cost of not caring properly for myself for the past 3 or 4 months, and it's rendered me helpless to fight the flu.
But I refuse to incur any debt where my HIM is concerned. I'm paying now, even if that means I have to take a few extra rest days and deal with the reduced fitness.

2 tidbits of wizdom:

Tea said...

That's right sista! Sometimes (for me) it takes repeating the message over and over. I have my own mantra's that I use swimming, cycling or running. One of them is "who do YOU want to be"....that one means alot to me because for some many years, I tried being what everyone else thought I should be.

Good for you to be wrestling with your issues. Take care of your self this week. Remember, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. :)

Tea said...

hey...you doin' ok?

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