You borrow 20 bucks here and there. You ask for a ride to the store. Your sister gets a good job and you’re like “Hey, put in a good word for me at your office.” But more and more, you find yourself in a funk of sorts. Everyone around you seems to be take-action and have the promise of a go-getting go-getter. Not you, though. In between jobs (that’s cute talk for no job), going to school while looking for employment, confined to a crummy existence with one foot out on your own, and the other constantly on the phone asking Mom or sis or bro – or even your children – for some money for groceries. Ladies and Gents, it’s time to cut out the nonsense and go be a big kid now. And here are some tips to do so.
Ask wisely when borrowing anything. It’s not just a matter of being able to pay it off, but who you borrow it from, and how often you ask. Take it from me, the last thing you want to do is be in debt to that one family member who lords it over you and expects you to be at their beck and call. The kind of person who treats a loan like a indentured servitude and wants you to put everything down and come see to their needs. And don’t you dare have anything else to do; you belong to them now. No, but in all seriousness, if you have a dire need for monetary assistance you could see about finding payday or installment loans in your area. I would suggest you be extremely careful with those as the interest rates are high and many can be and are scams, but if you need some money to float you by, it’d be better than having to constantly ask the relatives (I recommend finding a facility near you though; do NOT go online unless you absolutely need to). Eventually, it will wear on them and on your relationships with them when the only reason for your constant badgering is to unleash your vampire fangs of money-grubbing and suck them dry.
Learn to be more self-reliant. For a lot of us, it is a knee-jerk reaction to pick up the phone, lay on the sob story and violins, and let good ole fashioned sympathy and guilt do work we could easily do ourselves. What’s so wrong with instead of going to the nearest shoulder to cry on, you putting on your big boy or big girl pants, learning to live on a fixed budget or getting a better job that expands your financial horizons? I can’t even stop myself half the time when I’m asking one of my relatives for money, especially how I remembered how it felt when the shoe was on the other foot and I was the financially independent one and they were pestering me. But with my age, I guess, comes self-awareness, and picking up on trends and patterns allowed me to create a plan that would help me to end the cycle. Do you need a ride to the store? How far is the store from your house? If it’s in walking distance, then you already have transportation: your legs. In this day and age, you realize quick that you do what you have to do (as long as it isn’t illegal and doesn’t harm anyone or yourself) in order to make it. On the plus side, your family will see you trying to be independent and may be more inclined to help out. After all, help those who help themselves, and all of that crap.
Stick to a plan and mean it. There is nothing I hate more than hearing someone make some cheesy New Years resolution to quick smoking, or to lose weight or to become financially independent. Because nine times out of ten, it is nothing but empty, superficial garbage to make one sound like they are getting their priorities together without actually doing so. Naturally, everyone else forgets (read: don’t bring it up until it’s convenient or if they have a fight) and you are back in your usual rut. You know what I did to quit smoking? Nothing… I stopped. Why? Because the health risks and adverse effects to my body were no longer worth it. Sometimes, it takes setting a strict deadline that you know you can follow. Saying “I’ll start tomorrow” is a generic copout geared to take an inch and stretch into a millennium. After all, I can say “I’ll start tomorrow” tomorrow, the next day, the next month, next year, next decade, and so on.
Don’t be afraid to fail. With nothing but my sheer willpower and determination, I smoked my last cigarette and simply went on with my life. And after bouncing off the walls, feeling like crud, and wishing death on anyone who ate the last English muffin, there emerged a smoke-free butterfly, reading to flap these new wings over to another personal venture of mine: weight loss. But this isn’t about my smoking and extra pounds. It’s about you and your need to make promises to yourself that you can’t keep. That can be real disheartening after a while, sweetness. Setting unrealistic goals for yourself and not achieving them can really hurt; especially when you base them on things that your heart really desires. So, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. Start off with basic, feasible things. Save 5 dollars a week for the next year. Make it a mission to walk to the mailbox instead of drive. Learn to generously turn down certain offers instead of saying yes all of the time. Eat grapes instead of a candy bar. Do the small things for yourself and watch how easy it becomes to implement choices that you can stick with.
So quit your bellyaching and complaining. Stop being so quick to take the easy way out and dial 911 when you can be your own rescue system. We only have so many years on this tiny blue marble we call Earth. Do you want your legacy to be “The freeloading moocher” or “The independent juggernaut who could take on any obstacle, no matter the size. A penny here, a push-up there; There is nothing you cannot do for yourself, all on your own. I’m telling you, sweetness, there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you can take on anything on your own. Help is nice, but self-sufficiency is its own special reward.