Growing Pains: Learning to do a lot with a little

What Julia THOUGHT post-grad life would be like.
What Julia THOUGHT post-grad life would be like.

Post-grad life has not been what I imagined it would be.

I pay legitimate bills now and, even though I work full-time, I never have tons of money left over. I usually have just enough to cover everything and then I’m left with around $200 for the next two weeks, which has been enough so I can’t complain.

However, I anticipated that my post-UNC life would be filled to its brim with copious amounts of flourish — personally, financially and socially. I had a list of books I was going to read and I was going to work out in my surplus free time.

But, instead I manage to get by with a little over a grand a month and I cannot even fathom going out, working out or doing anything extremely active after working a 40 plus hour week.

So I sit around a lot. I eat spaghetti and frozen dinners. I started smoking again (don’t tell my parents). I ponder life. I constantly apply for journalism jobs (pray for me y’all). I sleep on an air mattress because I’d rather pay my rent than buy an actual bed. I don’t have any furniture except a little blue nightstand I found in a Tar Heel Treasure bin. I have so many life hacks to save money up my sleeve that MacGvyer could learn a thing or two from me.

I live an incredibly simple life. Incredibly.

I don’t travel. I don’t party much. I don’t have the money to do any of those things. I also can’t take a day off work until August because work technicalities.

At first that bothered me. I’m not accustomed to working full-time or just having the bare minimum needed to survive because I’m blessed to have a mother who worked her ass off to make sure I always had everything. This also meant extra funds whenever I needed it.

The author after a long day at work. She is quite over it.
The author after a long day at work. She is quite over it.

So this new level of simplicity has taken some getting used to. I, essentially, had to grow up. I had never lived on my own or even killed a huge bug on my own before. Someone was always there to do these things for me. My first rent payment was $400. I didn’t even know I could come off that much money in one sitting.

This change has also taken me lessening my unrealistic wants and being thankful that I don’t need anything.

I have enough clothes to wear something new every day for at least six weeks. I have solid shoes. I have a bed, a nightstand and a nice set of sheets. I never want for food or toiletries. I have a roof over my head, lights, water, etc.

I do not need anything. I’ve learned that I can live a decent life without all the extra embellishes that people tend to want and not need.

What I need, at this point in my life, is to live as simply as possible so that I can save up money and not barrel downhill into excessive debt. Along with this realization/desire came the conclusion that this simplicity is only temporary — so maybe I should revel in it.

In a year or so, I’ll be somewhere living outside of my means again so that I can have back the lifestyle I’m accustomed to living. Just kidding, but I won’t always have to eat frozen dinners instead of actual meals.

Life is only simple in short bouts. Then, shit gets real.

So, I’m going to enjoy this simplicity while I still have it. I sit on my deck and come up with article and blog post ideas. I stroll through my neighborhood and listen to the birds as I gaze at the trees. I am loving not having any extreme demands because this is a short-lived period for me.

This is the most appreciative I’ve ever been in my life. Maybe because after you lose TWO MONTHS worth of groceries in taxes every other week, you learn to step back and truly appreciate what you’ve got.

Because, honestly, it could be worse.

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