Last Friday my wife and I decided to leave work early for some playtime. We've both been putting in a lot of hours lately so we really needed a little 'away' time. Earlier in the week we decided that we'd leave about 2pm and do something local.
We decided on a visit to a place just across the river from us in Ellenton FL called "The Gamble Plantation". It's a Florida state park. They have a page if you're interested. It was a sugar plantation built by 3 brothers named Gamble in the early 1840's. At the time it was hundreds of miles from the nearest civilization. The Seminole Indians were in control of most of this part of the state. The living was very rugged. Everything that they couldn't grow or make had to be shipped in across the Gulf of Mexico from New Orleans (about 250 miles away by boat). If you like history I'm sure you'd find it interesting. We certainly did.
In one of the downstairs rooms was a yoke used to team oxen (please forgive the quality of the photo, as you might expect lighting was natural - none of Tom Edison's inventions in sight!). I was reminded of something that I had learned awhile back about yoking oxen together. If the farmer doesn't have an established pair that are used to being yoked together, he'll take an older ox that has been yoked before and team them up with a younger, inexperienced ox. The older ox will follow the farmer's directions and because they're yoked, the younger ox will have to go along. As you might expect that was tiring for both the younger and the older ox.
And, being a bit of a stubborn animal myself, even though I was supposed to be taking an afternoon away from work, I couldn't help but think about the financial things that we yoke ourselves to.
We may be yoked to credit card or other debt. In that case, we're probably a bit like the young ox. We get pulled where the debt wants to take us. We might not like where we're going, but we have very little choice in the matter. We get pulled along regardless.
Of we may think that we're in control of our finances. We're paying all of our bills and every year we can buy more and more stuff. In that case we might be like the older ox who's forced to drag along the young ox. The more possessions we accumulate the more we need to maintain and protect. We may really enjoy that new big screen TV, but we sure wouldn't leave it behind if we moved. And, because we have it, we need the appropriate cables and online video sources to feed it. Seems to me that we're dragging all that stuff along with us.
So I issue you a challenge. Before you make your next big purchase think of the ox yoke. And, ask yourself if you really want to be yoked to whatever you're thinking of buying. Could be that you choose not to put the yoke on at all!
Keep on Stretching those Dollars!