The minute I turned 18 I was counting down the months until I moved away to college. It was exactly 76 days until I would be moving in with my cousin, on our first foray into “the real world.”
I landed a job at the mall making a killer $6.25 an hour. Seems like small potatoes, but it was right on par with our $600 a month 2-bedroom apartment. We felt like a million dollars on that first night on our own. But we soon learned some of the pitfalls of living on your own.
On our first night, we realized we would have to go to the grocery store if we wanted to eat. We had $20 between us as we grabbed our cart and headed into the 24-hour Giant. It was a shocking realization when we had returned home and noted that all we had was a gallon of milk, a block of cheese, bread, butter and a packet of Kool-Aid. Food is expensive!
Life is a lot tougher when your parents aren’t there to rescue you. But, we made due. We were innovative, young, and independent. We would do whatever it took to live on our own. We made it happen.
We saved money by washing clothes in our bath tub with the wooden handle of our broom to stir the water (Yes, I have pictures to prove it), we ate beans out of the can to save money on purchasing dish soap (Beans are very filing and who has time to hand wash dishes), and every Wednesday morning we rushed out of bed to get our free commuter breakfast voucher (It’s amazing how good free food tastes).
Life wasn’t all roses and sunshine. We did have an epic roach problem and on Thanksgiving break, we returned to our apartment to see that someone had peed in every one of our dishes (Yes, I have pictures to prove it). Our cars were broken into, our apartment was broken into, and alas, one day we terminated that lease and moved on.
Since that first apartment, I have lived in several different apartments, changed jobs, gotten wage increases, job promotions, graduated from college, got married, and learned to grocery shop. My point is, that sometimes we get so swept up looking for the next best thing that we forget to look at where we have been. Whenever I get down on myself that I can’t afford that dream vacation or new outfit, I try to think back on where I started. It is often that perspective which we lose as we try to “keep up with the Jones’s.” I may not be the richest person I know or the most successful at business, but I have come a long way.If nothing else, at least no one is peeing in my dishes.
By Kristen Keyes
Kristen graduated from
and holds a Bachelor of Health Science, with a concentration in Community Health Education. She brings 10 years of retail experience, 8 of which come from Whole Foods Market, as a buyer and a healthy eating educator. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in School Counseling from Towson University . Loyola University