Many folks think I have it all together. Me, I have my doubts. A lot. I’m in my late 20s and I’m nowhere near where I had planned to be at this age. I worry constantly about bills and food…anything that an expense. I stress just like the rest of you, and sometimes it feels like I’m going to be swallowed in the vast black hole that is life. I feel like I’m treading water. And then I stop and think…I’m not doing so bad after all at this whole “being an adult” thing.
- Your bills are paid.
I love the end of the month. There’s a big, fat wad of cash just sitting there. And for a moment, I feel we’re rich. And then we pay bills. And, just like that, it’s gone. It’s a little depressing to watch your money dwindle away within a week. $100 here, $60 there, $500 over there. But the good news is you don’t have to worry about paying these things for the next month. You don’t have to worry if you’re going to have power, heat, food, or a place to live. You don’t have to worry if you’re going to legally be able to drive your car. And that means you’re doing okay. You’ve paid all of your bills, and you might have a little leftover for a pizza. Good job!
- You’re employed.
Regardless if you’re a waiter, a cashier, or a garbageman, you’re earning a living. And that’s far better than some could say. You’re putting in the hard work to pay for your lifestyle, and that makes it worth it.
- You bought a cup of coffee.
Whether it’s from a gas station or Starbucks, you had enough extra income to afford it without worrying. And that goes for anything. It could be pizza, a new pair of shoes, treats for the dog…all those impulse buys. When you’re broke, you worry about whether or not that soda is going to overdraft you’re account. If you didn’t think twice about it, you’re clearly doing okay.
- You think you’re failing.
That’s right. I said it. You think you’re failing. You think you’re treading water. You stress over only having $7 in your account after all the bills are paid and groceries are bought. That’s normal, folks. That’s your survival instinct. That’s what keeps you going through the hard times. Just take a moment to realize what you’ve accomplished, and you’ll feel much better about your situation.
- You have your own place.
Or maybe you have a roommate. But you’re not couch-surfing or living with your parents. You are out on your own! You are in control of your own domain, and you make the rules. Isn’t that what everyone wanted as a teenager?
- Your “friends list” has been weeded.
Much like gardening, your friendships need to be tended often. Where you used to have somewhere near two dozen friends you could call up any given night, now you have maybe five. These are the ones that are in the same boat, the ones that understand you, the ones that don’t care if your house is a mess and you’re in your pajamas, the ones that won’t try to coerce you into going out when you can’t afford it. These are the ones that will listen to you complain about the stupid people at your job without getting tired of it because they understand and sympathize with you. You went from having a ton of friends to drink with to have a few close friends you can really connect with. And that makes you richer than having all the money in the world.
- You have a wardrobe.
You actually have options. You have summer clothes and winter clothes and it takes you forever to choose which cute outfit you’re going to wear that day. That’s a luxury many don’t have since they’re on day nine of wearing the same pants and their only pair of shoes just got a hole in the sole of them.
- You did your laundry.
This one is important. I know some 30-year-olds that still can’t wash clothes without shrinking them or turning everything pink. If you have clean clothes to wear that you haven’t ruined by washing them, fantastic.
- You’re eating better foods.
More than that, you’re watching where you spend your money on food. You try to get the most bang for your buck. Sure those T.G.I.Fridays frozen appetizers look appealing, but compared to a hunk of meat that will feed you for a week, they’re expensive, unfilling, and unhealthy. You choose to buy the yogurt over the Ben & Jerry’s, and the cranberry juice over the 2-liter Coke.
- You have a hobby.
You like to sew. You like to read. You like to binge-watch Netflix. Regardless of your chosen hobby, you have something you do that you make time for, where the only reward is joy.
- You have a goal in life.
It doesn’t have to be anything big like, “I want to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 10 years.” Your goal could simply be, “I want a larger apartment,” or “I want a car that won’t break down on me every month.” Whatever your goal is, you have something to push for, to fight for, to achieve.
- You’re okay with curveballs.
I still have a problem with this one, but I’m a lot better than I used to be. No matter how well you plan your life, it’s gonna throw you a curveball that alters your course. Learning to adapt to these changes is a sign of growth.
- You’ve eaten asphalt.
There are times in your life where you fail miserably, fall flat on your face, and end up with a mouthful of gravel. You’re not alone. Anyone who has any worth in this world has done it. It’s kind of a pass/fail exam. You either try again, harder, and with a different way to do it, or you live at the bottom of life defeated. Most people learn from their mistakes because gravel is awful, and they do better the next time. You’ve survived and now you know that you can survive anything.
There, now don’t you feel better about yourself? You’re not doing so bad after all!!