Let me just clarify something right now.
In a previous post, I said that for the first time in my life things are hard, but I think in that post I was alluding to the financial realm. Things are hard because I have to buy my own furniture, and I have yet to stumble over a bag of money while walking down the street. Etc.
Let me clarify that.
That’s not really what makes things hard. That’s more of a lesson in patience. And discipline. It’s not hard to save up to buy a bed if you’re patient and disciplined. It really won’t take that long if you’re living within your means, and the lessons things like that teach about making judgment calls and prioritizing and self-restraint actually end up being invaluable life lessons.
So it’s not the finances thing that’s hard.
The hardest thing about adjusting to adult life to me is all of the choices you have to make all the freaking time.
When you’re a kid, people tell you what to do. And you either do it, or you don’t do it. But that’s it. Those are your two options. You do it, or you don’t. And for the most part, things end up OK either way (barring some drastic extremes). Pow. Simple.
But when you’re an adult…I mean…yeah, there are people telling you what to do and stuff…but at the same time…there just really is no way someone other than you even can govern your life in all the detail that adulthood requires.
And everything in adulthood seems to build upon the results or consequences of everything else, and you have to deal with the avenues that the choices you made in the past force you to take.
Take me, for example.
I graduated from college (yay) and got a good job quickly, so I immediately wanted to move into a nicer apartment. And that’s all I was really thinking: move into a nicer apartment. I’d been living by myself in a studio apartment, so I just naturally saw myself continuing to live alone in my I-Got-A-College-Degree one bedroom.
And I factored in things like utility bills and student loan repayment and stuff, and determined that I could make it work.
…and about .32 seconds after I signed the lease, I found out I would very soon either have to put up some major duckets to get some serious work done on my car, or scrap it and get another one.
And that’s, you know, that’s normal, but now that I’m in the middle of dealing with this car thing, I think that it would have been much smarter of me to get a roommate than to try to be a living-alone-post-college-baller. It would have been a much more appropriate response to a comprehensive view of my situation.
But adulthood is a city of one-way streets, and so I can only keep going down the path I chose or possibly find a roommate who’s willing to share a one-bedroom apartment.
Which is not what this post is about.
What this post is about is the car, and why this car is such a damn headache, and why and how that car and headache are what make the difficulties of adulthood make sense to me.
I went to the bank to see about a loan last week. All last week. Actually, since before Christmas, I have been shopping banks to find the right bank to find the right car loan. And I ended up at my new bank. And so last week, starting about Wednesday, I went to the bank to see about a loan. And so I went Wednesday and explained about how I wanted to see what my options were in terms of loans and how much I could be approved for, etc.
And then I went back Thursday because I had to bring in pay stubs.
And then I went back Friday because I had to bring in my offer letter.
….and by then, I’m already over this. I am sooo the lazy American who will pay for convenience. I feel guilty about it because I know it’s wasteful and destructive on a massive scale and just a waste of money on a smaller scale, but I will pay $2.98 a gallon over $2.93 if that gas station is CLOSER. Etc.
So then they call me Monday and they tell me I’m approved for $5000, an amount that, in my opinion, is just annoying. $5000. That means the car will have to be $4000 because I’ll have to pay another $1000 in fees. And I’m a girl. I don’t know how to distinguish a reliable $4000 used car from a lemon.
So I tell them that for $5000 they might as well just give me $25o0 so I can fix my old car and $1000 so I can pay for my grad class and keep it moving. This was yesterday.
Today they call me back and say now it’s $10,000 but the car has to be newer than a 2005. And I can use $1000 for tuition.
And that’s great and awesome I guess, but the space above my right eye has really started to hurt because I’m tired of making choices and negotiating things and trying to foresee possible results (And because the thought of taking on another $10,000 of debt is pretty daunting).
Last night I went to bed relieved because this was done. Today they call me and now I have another option and more possible results to contend with.
But my good friend Denny really put it in perspective when he was listening to my complaints today at lunch.
He started laughing. “Listen to you! ‘Ohhhh I have to have money to pay my grad tuition. Ohhh I need to buy a new car! Do you know what your complaints are supposed to be, statistically, at your age??”
And then I started laughing. Because anyone who is complaining that adulthood is too hard because the banks are giving her too many options to really find an optimal solution for her situation…should be laughed at. Because wow. The complaints of the blessed.
- Top Five Financial Mistakes New College Graduates Make (distance-education.org)
- Things I Learned from College Outside the Classroom (bryoneyh.com)
- Surviving College and Tax Season: 7 Tips for Students (turbotax.intuit.com)