I worry about money. All the time. I think about it all the time. I count ahead in my calendar, adding and subtracting as I go, to see when I might have enough money to feel comfortable again. I lose my breath, and straight up have trouble breathing, just trying to not worry about money.
I thought when I got hired full time with a salary this would change. When I was working a $9 an hour part time retail job I justified my constant fear with the fact that, well, this was in fact a $9 an hour job that couldn’t hire me full time and I was living in New York.
When I was hired at the firm that now employs me, I felt as though all my problems had been cured. I knew something was wrong with the fact that I thought money would cure my life, but I couldn’t help it. I was just so happy. I could pay rent, bills, and maybe get a drink during happy hour! Heck, maybe I would even buy lunch once in a while. Goodbye, sandwich bags and cheesesticks. Hello, tomatoes on my sandwiches and Chobani yogurts.
The biggest relief was that this job hired me just in time (really one week before) for my student loan repayments to begin. With three major payments, none being under $100 a month, I was incredibly relieved. Especially since one of the payments is as much as I pay in rent each month.
But now I find myself still unsatisfied. I am upset and nervous. When I get an email from a loan borrower or am reminded the 1st of the month is approaching, I get anxious and scared. I still count the money I’ll have left obsessively. I still try to figure out if I can pay for groceries/which groceries/from where. I think twice about a $5 beer. Thank god I don’t own a smartphone, or I would be obsessively checking my balance.
It all comes down to my student loans: if I didn’t have them, I’d be paying about $900 less out of my paycheck each month. Which would be amazing. I say that would solve the problem, but would it? I take full responsibility for my loans. I knew what I was getting myself into and I knew what it was. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are there and I hate them. WHO DOESN’T? Why are student loans even a thing? Where do I live? What is this country?! What the hell is everyone’s problem?
I know many people who I have spoken about with this make the argument “You didn’t have to move to New York! You could have lived at home! You could have saved up!” Yes, dickwad, you are right, I could have. But I didn’t want to. I wanted to move. I wanted to live in New York. I knew it was going to be difficult and scary. But I sure as hell wasn’t ready to be at home. College motivated me, it inspired me, and I have dreams god damn it, don’t you?? This is going to sound really annoying but, don’t I as a human being have a right to pursue what my heart truly desires? (gay marriage, abortion rights, everything that ever mattered insert here)
I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with my boyfriend about the decline of society, what the future will look like, etc blah blah shit I wish I didn’t think about. He sent me a really interesting article by a guy who argued for a world in which no one had to work, where everyone was merely free to follow their passions and loves and do whatever they wanted. A utopia where food production, pollution, human rights - all good forever. I argued “what about the lazy people who wouldn’t do anything productive for society?” and he said “what does it matter to you if everything is taken care of?” That freaked me out but also made me very excited. I half wish this was true.
I worried about money when I was six years old, when I was 14, when I was in college. This makes me think it is something about me. It is the number one thing I wish I could change. But then, I am sure many people can relate to all of this. So maybe it isn’t just me, even from a young age. MONEY IS EVERYWHERE insert a million cliches here, but fo real: is this the stem of the human condition? Money can’t buy me love or happiness, so why do I keep wanting more of it?
On that note, what kind soul, what lovely benefactor, would like to take this Sallie Mae loan off of my hands?