LIFE IN THE APPLE
As a less-than-financially-stable NYC local, it was my brilliant idea to give up the security of working a full-time, corporate job to pursue my dreams in New York. That being said, it’s almost comical how many New Yorkers are practically oblivious to how good they have it as compared to the majority of the population, and complain inappropriately.
It seems like everyone in the city –– no matter how much they’re making or how much cash they have in the bank –– will whine about money problems. NYC is incredibly expensive, so why wouldn’t they? The funny thing is that the people who bring up their money struggles are usually in a better financial position than most of us. They’ll say something along the lines of “I’m so broke, you have no idea,” and then go home to their luxury doorman building on the East River.
Obviously, everyone has their own individual challenges and should be allowed to vent every once in a while. But what I find most annoying is when people who are in more financially secure positions than those of us struggling twenty-something singles grumble about ridiculous things –– aka “first world problem” syndrome. And as someone who volunteers with homeless people in NYC, you’d be surprised what we hear on a regular basis from others who go home to their comfy co-ops.
When is it cool to complain? It all comes down to an essential concept called self-awareness. So if you are 1) employed at a steady job with benefits, 2) married to someone who pulls in a steady six-figure income, 3) renting an apartment without a guarantor or own your place, or 4) not having to decide between paying for a load of laundry or eating lunch on any given day, then you’re probably in a much better position than most.
The struggle is real, y’all. Here’s a list of things not to say to a broke person in NYC, and what’s running through my mind as I listen to the words come out of people’s mouths.
“Let’s go shopping!”
Where, Target? Buying a $25 dress at H&M is an important life decision for me. Window shopping is totally in my budget – but don’t be surprised if I look bored or annoyed while you spend hours trying on clothes, and then ask me which pair of designer jeans I think you should buy.
“Can’t you just dip into your savings account if there’s an emergency?”
What’s a savings account? You mean that thing I emptied and closed in order to pay the security deposit for my apartment?
“I can’t believe I make six figures, but I’m only considered middle class in New York.”
I know, your life must suck. Here’s a tissue.
“I know, I’m in the same position as you.”
I genuinely appreciate the fact that you’re trying to relate to me. Now stop.
“Why don’t you take some time off to travel? You need a vacation.”
That’s a great idea, why didn’t I think of that?! The only vacation I can afford to take is the $2.75 PATH train to New Jersey (thanks for raising the prices again, MTA). Quite frankly, I’d rather stay in the Upper East Side.
“It’s not THAT expensive…”
You do realize that every dollar I spend outside my budget sends my checking account into “overdrawn” territory, right?
“There’s something so romantic about being broke in New York. You gotta do it. You have to live there once without any money, and then you have to live there when you have money. Let me tell you, of the two, the latter is far better.” –Amy Poehler