a train of thought

by brogan anderson

I am an independent and able individual, however my world revolves around money. Not often does a day go by that my mind isn’t consumed about money: How much can I budget for lunch? Will I be able to get by with those two eggs, half a lettuce and jar of pesto I have in my fridge for dinner for the rest of the week (me on a typical Wednesday)? If I don’t go out with my friends tonight, and I don’t buy that new pair of trousers, will I be able to pay this month’s rent and bills without going into my overdraft again? It takes over every little piece of my mind – everything I do in my life is affected and judged by how it’ll financially hinder me.

Now, a lot has to be said about my self-restraint. You can ask some people who would assume I had none, and often, this is true, but it’ll be my compulsive stress reflex that ‘if I buy that skirt, I’ll feel better’. I never do. I’ve had a reality check–an intervention with myself, if that’s possible–and told myself to slow down. I’m overwhelmed by everyone that I see on social media and the desire to make it look like I’m living a life that is equally, if not more comfortable, than theirs, but it’s unfortunately just not the reality of it, and that’s okay.

"Everything I do in my life is affected and judged by how it’ll financially hinder me."

I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had to study in London at my desired university. But often I find myself wondering if it was really all worth it. I didn’t come to university to live off my parents, have them pay my rent and bills, and do my weekly shop, fund my livelihood, and pay for everything I have in my wardrobe. I’m proud of the money that I earn, how hard I work to get it, and where it takes me in life. Juggling university, part-time work, and internships, my entire university life has resulted in a lack of commitment to, unfortunately, my university work. It happened after I came to my realisation long ago that I don’t need this degree to reach a respectable position in my desired career path, and since establishing that thought in my head, I’ve become lax on my university attention. Don’t get me wrong – I want to graduate; however, I’ve accepted I won’t necessarily do very well. But again, that’s okay. The journey was necessary for me. I’ve established an incredible work ethic and know to work hard for everything I want. If there’s something I want, at least 50 other people want the exact same thing, and a lot of them will be better, but I know how to prove to myself and potential employers how much I am an asset and showcase how hard I have worked in the past. Regardless of what I get in my degree, I’ll show them I deserve to be there.

To do a 180, however, I know that if I had decided to not attend university, I would undoubtedly be living a much more comfortable life. I could have saved a considerable amount of money that would have given me a firm basis to live in a property independently, in which I could relax in finding work that settled within my career aspirations. I wouldn’t have this underlying sense of dread, anxiety, and misery consuming me every day about how I’m going to get by the following week, and I wouldn’t have to put friends and social relationships in the backseat because I can’t afford to socialise, or enjoy it while I’m there.

"I know that if I had decided to not attend university, I would undoubtedly be living a much more comfortable life."

That is not how I live though. It’s easier to think about the ‘what ifs’ and different outcomes my life could have had, but that’s just not how it is. Sometimes a rant and rambled train of thought is necessary for me to realise that if I had decided to take the easier route, none of the friendships, life-altering experiences, and opportunities I’ve had would have been presented to me – and in reflecting on that, it’s then that I know it was all worth it.