If you’re in your early 20s and already financially stable, I have one thing to say to you: GO AWAY.
Being in your 20s is a confusing time for anyone: you just passed through the hellish, pimply phase that is puberty and have been thrust headfirst into adulthood and handed–*gasp*–responsibilities. You’re paying bills left and right and expected to earn and save money when barely a few years ago, you had to ask for permission to go to the bathroom.
So okay, we have all these obligations and responsibilities, and we’re broke as hell. Here’s a few things I’ve realized as a member of this exclusive club:
1. Instant Noodles Become Your Best Friends
Okay, show of hands. Who knows the instant noodles aisle in the grocery store better than they should? I bet you can tell the difference and quote the prices between all the noodle brands off the top of your head–who says you’re not good at memorization?
Instant noodles are like that guy (or girl) you have on the hook. I’ve written about this before. To reiterate, being in the Friendzone is like being a fish in an aquarium with one of those decorative castles. The girl you like is in the castle, waving at you and even coming out to swim with you from time to time. She has no idea you like her, and considers you as a friend she can hang out with.
When you’re on the hook, you’re not just inside the same aquarium – you’re tethered right outside her little castle like one of those plastic divers is holding you there in a death grip. When she wants you, you’re there – when she doesn’t want you, you’re still there. You get even less freedom than one of those dumb ass friend zone guppies, who at least gets to swim around and smash his face into the bowl to forget. When the other fish are ignoring her, or she doesn’t get enough food, or she gets fin rot, she comes down and you’re there to console her. When things start looking up again, or a bigger, manlier fish comes along, you’re left waiting while she swims off to get her swerve on.
The same concepts applies to instant noodles. When you have like zero bills in your wallet, you go for instant noodles. But when you’re a bit well-off, you abandon it entirely. Nobody goes for instant noodles when there’s a better choice. But you all go back to it when you’re in trouble.
Shame on you.
2. You Walk Everywhere
And no, it’s not for exercise, though that’s the excuse you give everyone. Even if they don’t ask.
When you’re broke, you need to save every penny you can. So if that means walking to work instead of taking the bus, so be it. So what if it’s 10 kilometers through a wooded trail that looks like a scene right out of a Supernatural kill zone? At least you didn’t have to dish out for the fare.
One time, I walked all the way home from work just because I didn’t want to spend Php16.00. That’s about ..36 USD. I was that broke.
3. You Start Appreciating The Little Things
The thing about being broke is that your relationships will suffer because your broke ass can’t leave the house because *NEWSFLASH* you have no money.
This forces you to do stuff you wouldn’t normally do if you had the money. Instead of going out with your friends for a drink at that expensive bar, you spend the weekend playing video games at your place, for example. My SO and I have also been spending time to stop and smell the roses the past few months (because I’m broke, in case that’s not clear) and it’s actually been really great. We watch movies on the TV, we have picnics at the park, or spend time book hunting all over the metro.
tl;dr Relationships will suffer, but you can do something about it. So get off your butt.
4. You Will Be Forced to Be Creative
Have you tried frying stuff in a rice cooker? I have.
How about living off of stale chocolate and mints for days because you were too broke to buy food before a massive storm hit? I have.
That’s just some of the many ingeniously MacGyver skills you develop when you’ve been broke for a really long time. It’s basically Cast Away–you have to make do with what little resources you have. Tom Hanks turned a coconut into a friend. I turned mints and chocolate into a three-day feast.
Survival of the fittest, man. Darwin will be proud.
5. Piracy is a Lifestyle
I’m a big book junkie. Movies too. And TV shows.
Now, I cannot afford a Netflix subscription. (Also, Netflix is not available in the Philippines so fuck that–but that’s not the point.) I also cannot afford to buy every Rick Riordan or Neil Gaiman book. Nor can I buy box-set DVDs of all the TV shows I’m watching (and I watch a lot of TV shows). But I can download them from P2P or browser-based file sharing sites.
I’m not saying I have, mind you. Piracy is wrong and illegal, and the victims are billionaire producers, directors, actors, artists, and authors. Those poor babies, staying up all night worried about piracy while their sports cars sit in the garage–next to their 16 other cars–of their multi-billion dollar home.
Piracy is wrong!
(but if you get away with it why the hell not amiright)
What I’m trying to say is, you’re not alone.
Everyone in their early 20s is financially unstable. Also, emotionally unstable. And mentally unstable. Basically, we’re all crazy.
Welcome to the club.