The Adaptability of an Income on the Low

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Did we have grand family vacations growing up, hell – did we have vacations? No, you will not find albums in my mom’s house filled with annual trips to Disney World or cross country adventures. We did go to Disneyland once when Aladdin was all the rage though. Did we ever go hungry? Not really, unless you count that one time my mom went to the casino and left the cupboard filled with crackers so old the salt had all but disappeared. Did we have it as bad as some of the other kids in the trailers that surrounded ours? Not at all. Some kids in Cabazon when I was growing up never went as far as Beaumont, others were constantly left with hunger pains and because of that and more, I have to say we were not spoiled, but rather lucky in comparison.

While on the lucky end of the spectrum in some scenarios, my family was considered low-income when filing any sort of official form – and that still holds true today. Because of that, I learned to make the most out of very little. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but today it’s surely one of the greatest lessons my mom instilled in me without trying. I did not value the thrift store as soon as I would’ve liked, but you can find me decorating the hell out of a space with secondhand finds today. The same goes with clothes. While I see others buying new wardrobes left and right, I’m waiting for a sale markdowns, or the Salvation Army to have a 50% off sale. Oh, and you better believe I will never waste more than I have to on beauty products. I find it funny that my hair is complemented quite often, and I do nothing to it but use whatever comes to me free from my boyfriend’s work, or something I found for two bucks.

When you don’t grow up with more than you need, and sure as hell don’t live that way when you’re older – you learn how to manage. People think they’ll struggle if they move out, and yes – they will. If they don’t, they did it wrong. Like Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling once said in an interview, “If you’re really living it, life is complicated.” So what if you have to struggle for a second or two when you’re an adult? It builds character. Look at those who are pampered and those who are not. Put each in a stressful environment and the one who’s had to learn to survive – they’re making it out alive without a scratch. The other is trying to open an app or something to send an S.O.S. That’s not to say people living more privileged lives are weak, but as a kid – if you put me and one of those kids who had way less up in the mountains – I would definitely not be here today, because at the time I didn’t know how to survive on my own. My mom was there, and while she’s still there for me today to talk to, I’ve had to learn how to make it through adulthood faster than others because as we’ve learned in previous weeks during our chats about jobs – I am an interview terrorist.

Yesterday Lauren talked about her parents and the safety net they provide and how that’s sort of slowed down her growth process. I think that’s true with a lot of people. It’s easier to take risks like walking away from a job, going back to school, moving to a new place – when you know there is something or someone to catch you if you fall. Sometimes though you have to just remove the net and jump though because if you never live without real risk, you’ll never learn to adapt when and if shit hits the fan. Adapting, it’s the way to survival – ask our ancestors. Those who failed to, well they didn’t make it as far now did they?

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