Enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard provided a stable and a predictable sense of finances, and I did develop some solid saving habits. But soon the rest of my world, the stresses and the emotional ride, got the better of me. Behaviors became abysmal. I acted out, and used money as an excuse. And excused my use of money.
I spent freely, without thought about tomorrow (or even today). I was unhappy and attempted to fix my problems by creating more problems. My internal center was unbalanced; my external senses were not registering. And not long after, my relationships were damaged. My career was at risk. And I considered suicide as reasonable.
With some help by my shipmates and a bit of luck, I was able to pull back. Mostly, I paused my actions and began to slow down. Reading helped. Study helped. And I found friendly conversation with a counselor in discussing money as a means, not as an end. Talking about my goals, working on plans … these reinforced and stabilized my situation. I could share. I listened. And others heard me.
I envision a lighthouse, an aid to others – navigation affixed, secure, and steadfast. The beacon steady and trusted, illuminating a way, connecting mariners in navigation on sometimes hazardous seas. The light keeper, empowered with the support and services required, to provide aid to the travelers. This lighthouse, one networked with others, working together. Impacting with a vision. And for the ship, receding across the sea, success on a journey over the horizon to distant shores.
~ Sean McPhilamy, AFC®
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