Translation — Do not borrow nor lend anything; because the loan will often lose you both your friend and your possessions, and borrowing makes you lose your skills. This above all: be true to yourself, if you do this it will be as true as day follows night, you will then be an honest man.
So, today’s daily prompt is “Borrowed”. And I have one simple rule about borrowing and lending. I don’t borrow anything, and I don’t lend anything. Other than big ticket items like my student loans, the house, and our cars of course… because otherwise I totally couldn’t afford those. But when it comes to small things like televisions, clothes, or anything else. If I don’t have the cash for it. I don’t buy it.
And when it comes to friends and family especially, I follow the above axiom to the letter. If someone asks me for money and I have it and can afford to “lose” it, I’ll give it to them. Otherwise? Sorry, I don’t have it. I don’t care how many times they promise to pay it back if I can’t afford it, I’m not giving them a dime. I don’t co-sign on loans either. If someone needs a co-signer on a loan that means they don’t have the wherewithal to get a loan for themselves, and I sure as hell don’t have the means to pay for anyone’s loan should they default. Yeah, that’s not happening. And I don’t ask for loans from friends and family. If I’m asking for money from someone, it’s with the explicit premise that I cannot afford to pay them back. Loans are for banks. If I wanted a loan, I’d go to a bank.
Oh, I used to be a borrower, I had credit card debt up to my ears. But you know, I had a plan… it was a good plan too. I showed it to people who knew more about these things than I did and they agreed that it was a good plan. But I had this plan to be debt free in under a year. Y’all might not think I was in a whole lot of debt, overall it was under $30K but for me, that was a mountain of debt. It was more than I made in any given year. Twice what I made most years, really. Even working two jobs. But that year I’d finally found a good job that paid me a nice wage and I had a running car that was fully paid off, and things were looking up. I only had one kid at home, who was over 18 and she was working part time. Seriously, I was on track to become a “responsible” person.
Ha! Life laughs in the face of my plans. One day in April, I was coming out of work and tried to make a left turn through stopped traffic and some woman jumped the line and t-boned me. BAM! Just like that, all of my plans went down the drain. My car was totaled. I walked away from the accident shaken and bruised and none the worse for wear (I thought) — but car-less. The nearest bus stop to my job was two miles away. So that’s what I had to do. I walked two miles to work every day. And suddenly, I was… achy and in pain, and so… so tired. The doctors figured out later that it was probably the accident that triggered my fibromyalgia, but I didn’t know what was going on at the time. Until then, a two mile walk was nothing. Anyway, it started affecting my work and they fired me. Just like that. Bam. No car, no job… no plan. My credit cards were already cut up (via my plan to become debt free) and I was sitting there wondering what to do. I didn’t get out of debt… I can tell ya that much.
As an aside… it always puzzles me when I talk to credit card companies and tell them, “I’m not working. I have no money to give you. I don’t even have money to buy food. I can’t give you what I don’t have.” And all they do is add even MORE money (late fees) onto the money that I owe them? Because that’s going to make it easier to pay them? Great logic there.
So anyway, I’ve never lent money to anyone because I’ve seen it tear friends and family apart. If I don’t have it, I don’t give it. If I have it, my friends and family are welcome to it. If they give it back, bonus! If not, well, I had it to give. It’s the same with possessions. I never lend out anything I expect to get back, be it my favorite sweater, a book, or tools from my shed. If I want it back, it’s not leaving my possession. Sorry. Get your own. If I’m okay with losing it, you can use it, borrow it, keep it. Whatever. I’ve seen too many people end friendships because they lent something to someone and then never got it back, it got lost, or damaged, or whatever! It’s sad really. If that thing meant so much to someone, then they should have never let it leave their hot little hand. That’s the way I feel about it anyway.
It reminds me of all of the DVD’s I’ve had to buy over the years. hahahaha. I have several favorites of mine that appear to be favorites of other people. Let’s see. I’ve bought The Princess Bride at least five times… Monty Python and the Holy Grail at least half a dozen times if not more. Into the Woods — the play not the new movie — at least three times. And I didn’t lend that one out because it’s not easy to find… my daughters appropriated it. And, oh, so many more. Don’t even get me started on how many books I’ve had to replace over the years. But to me, it’s better to replace the books than hound my friends and family over the movie they “borrowed” because honestly, in the general scheme of things, I’d rather spend the $10 bucks (or sometimes $40 three times! for the series Firefly) for a movie, or book, or whatever… than sow hate and discontent that way. All that fuss for a book, sweater, movie, or even a little money? Not worth it. Totally not worth it. I will take the Bard’s advice any day and neither a borrower nor lender be. If I have it and I’m willing to part with it, then my friends and family and sometimes even strangers are welcome to it. If I don’t then sorry, they’ll have to ask elsewhere. Because I just think that it’s not worth the hassle of trying to get my stuff back.