Past and Present

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When you’re a 20-something there are few constants. The average one of us has home base in one place, but is attending college or trying to nail down a career somewhere else. We have lots of dreams, but not a lot of money to facilitate them. Yet we get through anyhow. We graduate, start earning good money, put the textbooks on the shelf, dust off the dreams that got put there, and then go to fame and glory and triumph. But in the meantime, things can be pretty hectic.

Regardless of what your parents or grandparents have said, being young is tough these days. We’ve all gotten the “When I was your age, the whole school had to use one computer. But, oh boy, Friday night we got to gather by the lake and we’d throw rocks in. Gee willikers that was fun!” The past generation may have experienced their 20-somethings before us, and so they’re experts at it, except that they are experts at being 20-somethings in their day, not ours. A computer is a necessity today, as is a cell phone. I’m not saying you have to buy a huge computer, most libraries have free-use computers if you get desperate, but to face the world today without technology is going to hamper you big time. Plus, there’s having a place to stay, food to eat, transportation. Let’s play the numbers game.

Rent on a shared apartment averages $300 a month. Cell phone (yes, a person needs one, that’s all there is to it) is $65 on the generous side. Food probably runs $150 and that’s pushing it. Transportation, well, a car is $200 a month easy. Right there we’re spending $700 a month, bare bones. That’s no hobbies, no fancy restaurants, no books, no CDs or movie dates or dentist appointments. National minimum wage is $7.25 right now. Now, it can be done. $700 per month in expenditures means you have to work 96 hours a month, or 24 hours a week, at a minimum wage job just to cover costs. So yeah, with a part time job, a college kid or right-out-of-high-school worker can get endure subsistence living. But, as humans, we want to follow those dreams. I want to follow my dreams. That means working, working, working, just like most things in life. We have to work for what we want, and getting by day-to-day is part of that. That doesn’t mean it’s any easier, it just provides motivation. The early 20s are the trial by fire of money management. Luckily for the average college kid, a nice grant or wonderful parents help stave off starvation. But us young’uns still are responsible for ourselves. It means being frugal with grocery money. For me, It means playing board games instead of going to the show sometimes. It means I wait until I’m home in Texas to see the dentists in Katy, instead of going outside the insurance plan elsewhere.

Being young is tough, but there are lots of old people to show us it can be done.

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