Logan, I'm not sure it makes sense to see the debt as years of your life. As this Marxist understands it, Marx was saying that society came into being to moderate how human beings make stuff from nature. Over time we went from all being on our own, eating plants and living in trees and caves to a social structure where some people do the work, and some people reap the reward that is capital (ie money, property, power) and the "means of production/the things that make capital" (banks/factories/schools). The people who reap the reward now own most of the capital and means of production and that means other people have to give them labor to get access to the many things they own, like housing and food. Also the rich people have so much capital that over time that excess also turns into some good things like opera houses and libraries, charities and restaurants, things humanity couldn't have enough resources to create as tree dwellers. But the issue is we don't all benefit equally. So it's not your time/life per se you owe, it's your work, your effort, your labor that you put towards helping build Citibank or American Express, and anything that comes out of it. Which brings me to you/the problem with America. In the US we really believe that we all deserve nice things and we're all equals, even when reality would argue that we really aren't. For instance people who are poor describe themselves as "lower middle class" and rich people say they're "upper middle class". And that's not actually true! So you see people who are told they deserve the nice things the rich people have, and that they're really no different from those rich people who are after all, simply "upper middle class" and no mention is made of how little you can really and truly afford that. Everything is upsold. How many shirts do you really need? vs How many shirts do you feel like you need to keep up? Would you and your friends have had as much fun drinking on someone's couch? vs Did you and your friends feel like you needed/deserve to have happy hour with $12 cocktails in a nice place wearing a shirt you just got to look new in? And you know what? Marx actually wanted us all to have nice things. He said, over time all us poor slobs at the bottom of the heap would look up at the fancy jet peoplem and rise up and make sure everyone got a fair piece of the pie, and then we'd all be middle class, which means sadly no jets for anyone (this is the classic issue everyone has with communism), but also happily, no little kids starving in cold shacks working 18 hour days. But Marx HAD no idea that someone would invent credit cards. Which created the illusion that we were all middle class and middle class meant living like we saw on TV where "middle class" people had mansions or huge NY apartments. So it's not like you should beat yourself up for falling into a perception trap like that. A lot of people were fooled. Anytime one of your friends went to dinner with you at a fancy restaurant and they also made what you make per year, you were each confirming each other's perception that what you were paying for was what people like you pay for things. Your debt is a manifestation of a shared delusion we all had for a while in this country. One of the thing I think is so interesting to me about your perception of "worth" and value is "how good a time did we have"- and some of that is actually about things, but also it's a lot about people. You love people, you want to hang out with people, so you use money you don't have to make that happen. And the good thing about that is if you can shift your value system you can probably become the best picnic in the park host and free babysitter, and letter writer and volunteer and I suspect you'd ultimately be exactly the same or more happy, with just as many people who really appreciate you for you. Like you offered to buy Greg a drink at the end of this interview, but what if you said, "Thanks dude, I owe you cat sitting"?