Being financially independent is important to me. Being financially independent means being an adult. I grew up pretty secure so I was definitely unprepared for the leap after college into the ‘real world.’ Now, I’m not going to make any arguments about what this ‘real world’ entails for you, but for me, and a lot of my friends, this means following your passion and being successful at it. Or at least trying. It’s harder than I ever imagined, and I’ve been pretty darn lucky, but I still have to persist and make the best life that I can for myself. Childhood fantasies of freedom from responsibility are still very alluring, but no longer fruitful. Here are a handful of deeds that have empowered me throughout my twenties. They are almost over anyway. I must have learned something right?
– Pay Your Bills –
Yes it sucks. Rent, electric, gas, internet, phone, car insurance, and Netflix are among the most common bills for us millennials, but if you setup automatic billing, there’s something satisfying about seeing these necessities get checked off the proverbial checklist every month. Sure you may have to play some complex bank transfer game to get it done and you may have to settle for some cheap eats, but the nagging feeling of these essentials pilling up is not worth it.
– Monthly Payments Make You Strong –
I’m confident that most of us are in some form of debt, crippling or not. Living beyond our means isn’t necessary, but it darn well sure happens in the kind of consumer culture we live in today. Boo hoo all you want you say to me, but the best form of action is always hitting that credit payment on time. Having any kind of monthly payment instills a kind of discipline that grows like a seed. Over time it grows into a strong tree centering your mind (and your spending habits).
– Exercise –
I did crossfit for a few years mostly because it helped my anxiety (it also helped me get back into shape). Sitting at a desk all day isn’t always a delight and studies show it’s slowly killing us, but you don’t have to spend money to stay active. Park a little further from work, go for coffee breaks down the street, take the stairs instead of the elevator, these are a few things you can do to ensure your mood stays as fit as your body. Trust me, a lot of existential energy gets created when you’re in a box all day.
– Get A Pet –
A handful of us remain wayward souls even into our thirties, but by now Los Angeles looks to be my home for awhile. There’s nothing more responsible than caring over another living thing. While my plants expire far too often, you better believe I will fight tooth and nail like a mother lioness to protect my cat. Cleaning the litter box, feeding the judgmental but loving life form, giving it Amazon boxes to play in, and constantly having lint rollers handy has given me confidence that I’m not just a helpless creature myself.
– See A Therapist –
Mental illness is a very real thing, but it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself. It’s your life. Seeing a therapist was one of the best things I could have done (once I finally got health insurance). Friendships and relationships can be a tricky thing as we all strive towards self-actualization. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is not easy. Having a therapist to bounce off of will only give you confidence to be bigger and bolder during the rest of your day. Taking care of yourself feels good. Trust me, it’s the most adult thing you can do.