Tag Archives: growing up

The Early 20’s Minefield.

18 Oct

Yes, yes, I get it. You’re in your final years of uni and despite what your parents, lecturers and employers seem to think, you’re battling though a first-world mine field of opportunity, anxiety, deadlines, bankruptcy and uncertainty. You’re put to the challenge of juggling an ensemble of important commitments and choices, all of which are relevant to your personal and professional development as a young human being.

You endeavor to find that delicate balance between holding down a thankless part time job  (or two) , meeting relentless assignment due dates, committing to countless, seemingly fruitless unpaid internships, maintaining a healthy social life (aka fitting in as many student pub nights as your schedule will permit), as well as finding some time to squeeze in those other things you love in your life, such as fitness, relaxation, dinner with family, chores, weekend getaways, quality time with the girls, or heaven forbid – a boyfriend.

I can proudly say I conquered each of the above with great success, but this isn’t to say there weren’t hours, days, even weeks, when I didn’t collapse into a heap in a fit of frustration, engulfed by an overwhelming sense of defeat, telling myself how no one seems to understand how hard it is being 22! I would wonder when the sparks I was sending off in all directions would come together and finally create a dazzling fireworks show I could be proud of.  And my toxic frustration slowly began to seep into the way I perceived the all good things happening in my life.

Now at 26, with just four eventful years up my sleeve, self-esteem in tact, a stable income, a stimulating full time job, a solid friendship group , a healthy work / life balance (including plenty of down time, exercise, dinners out, bottles of wine and trips to the beach), and I can quite confidently say that without having navigated my way through the minefield of challenges put forth during my misshapen, over-committed, action-packed, uncertain university years, I would not be the capable and level-headed person I am just four years down the track.

Looking back, I still feel it wrong to discredit those “lapping up a booze-fuelled uni life of no commitments or responsibility”. Those years were new, important and tricky. They required dedication, agility, resilience, flexibility and positivity. They lacked the structure of a “nine to five” work week, which (despite sounding mundane) holds direction, job security, routine, income and still leaves time for the good things in life. I think this stable monotony is underestimated for its ability to keep one’s head above water, despite the common woes faced in the average workplace.

So in a shout-out to those blindly feeling their way through their “infant 20’s” – don’t beat yourself up when a ball or two drops and you nearly loose the lot; it was hard, it is hard, it does get easier!

B.

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Becoming financially independent (being broke).

16 Oct

Becoming financially independent can be compared to walking down the street with no bra on. At first you feel confident, free and having  fun with your girls hanging out. But once you finish striding down your first block, the discomfort sets in. You begin to miss that support you took for granted for so long and suddenly you’re yearning for a sports bra strong enough to support an Olympic hurdler. You miss it because every crack in the pavement and every step you take sags your breast and your once supple and perky bank account.

You see, the financial independence journey isn’t a cruise down Fifth Avenue, it is an uncoordinated stumble down Reality Street which is lined with ciggie butts and rubbish. To make matters worse the blisters on your feet are getting bigger by the second because you now have to buy your shoes from Pay Less Shoes. Your money is no longer funding you and your girls having fun, all of a sudden you’re paying car insurance, rent and interest on your credit card that your prick of a bank keeps convincing you to increase your limit on… Welcome to hell!

Ok, it isn’t that bad. It does feel liberating to not be indebted to someone, not having to sheepishly ask (grovel) for another $50 and the freedom to go where you want and when you want (after spending months staying at home and saving your arse off). Thankfully, my dad was generous enough to support me through school and uni where I had sporadic jobs to fund clothes and partying, you know, the important things. Back then I thought that was a sign of independence, if I wanted the Sass & Bide jeans, I needed to buy them myself, boy how wrong I was.

Once I got my first ‘real’ job earning a whopping AU$30,000 a year I was thrown into the financial deep end and left to drown with my credit card acting as my life raft. I thought I was killing it with my career woman attitude and steady income, even though  I was earning less than a part time employee at McDonalds. At first the novelty of dad forwarding me the bills for my phone was cute, $79 a month was do-able and I felt a sense of achievement and pride the first time I paid it. Then the big scary bills started to roll in and the novelty wore quicker than my soles of my cheap shoes. Health insurance, car registration, rent, physios, groceries, dental check ups and with petrol prices rising as fast as my desire to go out and party…. I was fucked! Not the good sort of fucked…. The sort of fucked that has you considering a career in stripping.

I still struggle with money as I am not at a point where I can have it all like the TV shows (even the ‘reality’ ones) depict. I am at a point where I can have my cake and eat it, but only a few slices because the rest is on lay-by. The Camilla kaftan I want to buy will replace a social life for two weeks, and I need to sell half my closet on eBay if  to go on that trip to Bali….  Goodbye Camilla Kaftan, and so the cycle continues. But there is no doubt that the first year of being financially independent was the hardest and I learnt many, many lessons – here are a few:

  • Passion Pop isn’t thaaaat bad
  • Budgets are boring but necessary
  • If you get a credit card you sign your soul to the devil
  • Two-for-one Tuesdays are a god sent
  • You will never turn down a home cooked meal again
  • Starting salaries should increase at the same rate as inflation
  • The feeling you get when you find $3.60 in the crux of the couch cushions, I imagine, is similar to when you win the lotto
  • You lose weight while walking because you can’t afford can’t afford petrol, cabs or sometimes even the bus, but then gain it because all you can afford is fast food
  • Your dad is the best sports bar you will ever have.

H x