This I Believe

Paul - Henderson, Texas
Entered on February 20, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe CREDIT RESTRICTS FREE WILL. As a young man I lived life to its fullest with a full sense of freedom. Once in the military I was introduced to credit for the first time in my adult life. It didn’t take long for me to max out all credit options. I was paying out more that what I was bringing in each month. I fell into a deep depression and was getting through the day with alcohol. I was twenty years old. Eventually my dept caught up with me and I was court martialed. My pay was withheld and I was forced to move into the barracks and put on a maximum work schedule. ALL FREEDOM HAD CEASED! I was forced to re-enlist due to my financial obligations. Not a free willed decision. After convincing the military to ease my schedule I paid off my dept by working two part-time jobs. I made an oath to myself to never use credit again. After getting married, re-enlistment was up again. Seeking advice from my fellow soldiers revealed that they all wanted to transition to civilian live but couldn’t due to credit obligations. After a honorable discharge I moved to Dallas, TX. There the wife and I would go through hard financial times but with minimum stress due to no credit obligations. My wife completed college without any student loans. I was working for “corporate America”. The daily routine was taking its toll on me. Cut backs and changes were creating stress among myself and my peers. I decided to submit for a “dream job” within the company and advised my peers I would be leaving if not granted. After some discussion I learned that increase income did not mean an increase in freedom. They were in the same situation as my fellow soldiers were a few years back. Not happy with their situation but could not make drastic life changes due to credit obligation. My dream job came through and I was able to move to a cabin on a lake. I am now pursuing a degree in linguistic anthropology. Once complete I will be leaving a substantial income that even if successful in my new career choice would probably not pay half as much. No I don’t have a Lexus in the garage of my 2500 square foot house with rooms I don’t use that are furnished with the latest trends. But I do possess something that any amount of credit in the world could not purchase. Free will to pursue what will make me and my wife happy! Free will, I believe has always been the greatest asset of our country and the people that live in it. If free will is removed from a large population of a society it will not only restrain the individual from pursuing and achieving great accomplishments but collectively it will effect a nation’s ability to pursue and achieve great accomplishments…I believe!