It’s not hard to lose control of a situation or in your life. It becomes much more complex to regain what you lost. One of the most frustrating aspects everyone faces is when a situation spirals out of control, and people are left dumbfounded by what to do next. Let me give you a prime example. I have an excellent friend who has a child that has found himself in trouble with the law. This young man is bright, articulate, funny, and a bit dense at times but then aren’t we all? He found himself in a mess almost a decade ago that will have lifelong ramifications. Here is part of his story.
He worked for a local arts group. The company did not enforce its policies because the owner turned the other cheek. Drugs and sex were rampant among the performers. Underage hires were familiar, and somehow law enforcement wasn’t cracking down on this company. My friend was a staunch defender of the company and its practices. He fought with his family and friends because we didn’t understand how the company looked out for their people. We saw the train-wreck coming, and none of us could control what would happen next.
A young woman who was fourteen fell for my friend who was twenty-one. She had a track record of being mentally off-balance. My friend had a girlfriend at the time and was happy with her. I had heard stories about the owner from other young women. One of them claimed that he enjoyed having oral sex with teenage girls. The young woman who accused my friend of statutory rape was no exception. She had a reputation for being promiscuous. She bragged on her Facebook account of relationships with older men. She documented her conquests for the world to see, and then when those men rebuffed her advances, she cried rape.
The police never read my friend his Miranda rights. They came to his home and sat around and talked to him. He kept telling them that he wasn’t guilty, but the police would not let it go. They told him to tell them what they wanted to hear, and they would go away. In an exasperated attempt to appease them, my friend told them what they wanted to hear. He was naive and gullible at the time. He didn’t want his family to worry. What started as something innocent became a walking nightmare. He lost control of his life and a situation that had escalated beyond anyone’s comprehension.
My friend could not afford an attorney, so he received a court-appointed one. The attorney told his family that he didn’t care if my friend was innocent or not because he would ensure that he would fry for this crime. It didn’t matter that there were witnesses who could prove his innocence. All that mattered to the attorney was having my friend convicted. It didn’t hurt that the attorney came up with an unbelievable fee to get my friend off. This realization made several of us open our eyes to the lies and deceits transpiring within our scope. I could not believe how quickly he lost control of his life.
Legally, my friend is still paying a steep price. He served eight years in federal prison for a crime he did not commit. The young woman is always free and not held accountable for her actions. My friend decided not to go after her legally because that would mean finding money he doesn’t have, righting a horrible wrong. The justice system is supposed to be for the people, but sometimes it’s for the people it chooses to back. Many people in prison are not guilty but were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many people are in there because they committed illegal acts. Not everyone is innocent, but if you do not have the monetary means to defend yourself, you could find yourself behind bars questioning how things became confusing so fast.
I’ll give you another example of losing control. This issue is dealing with the handling of money. Credit cards are supposed to be there so that we can use them responsibly. Unfortunately, many people use them to pay off bills or overspend without thinking of the consequences. When this happens, it becomes difficult to know how to get your life back. I took a course in financial planning about a year ago to help me bring back my life. Here are a few tips that have helped me. Hopefully, you will find them useful too.
- Learn your interest rates and pay off the highest-rate cards first. Why is this important? If you are paying off what you owe on the interest rates alone, it will take you a very long time to recover. Be smart. Knowledge is power.
- Double your minimum payment. This resource is not always available, but if you can force yourself to double your minimum amount, you stand an excellent chance of getting it paid sooner.
- Apply for any extra money in your budget to your payment. Listen, I know that life always throws curve balls and that expenses happen when we least expect it, but if you can chip away at high credit card costs, you can begin to get your life back. Your credit score will do better when you get your credit back under control, and the best way to do this is to pay it off with a little extra when you can spare it.
- Split your payment in half and pay twice. I’ve done this when money is mega tight. Sometimes if you split it in half, the amount owed doesn’t look as threatening.
- Transfer your balance to a 0% credit card. If you can find a way to do this, I highly recommend it. It’s amazing what happens when you cut your interest payments down to manage to get your fees back.
The biggest thing to remember is that losing control starts in your mind. When life gets whacky, we tend to make choices that are not sound. Try not to lose your cool, patience, and thoughts over erratic behaviors. Life can be challenging enough without having to contemplate how to take control back over uncontrollable issues. Every person has the power to choose how they will handle those moments when they explore uncomfortable topics. Keep focused and use logic over emotion. Emotions are a powerful tool, but they also are prone to vulnerability. Be aware of what is essential in your life and make provisions for those you love. If you lose control over things in your life, you can get the power back. All you have to do is believe in yourself, take a deep breath, and regroup. The rest will become comprised of hard work and determination. Something tells me that you are up for the challenge, and I don’t believe any of you are quitters. It’s a new day. It’s time to get the control back in your life. Have a great day, everyone.