January 2019 Reflections: When My Privilege Saved My Broke A$$

A note to the universe: this is the last time I’ll ever call myself broke. This is the last time that word will ever describe my situation.

Two minutes before typing this sentence, I had inputted my card details into Squarespace and spent 174 USD to keep this website running. My annual payment had failed two weeks ago when Squarespace tried to charge me. My bank account was dry as a bone.

Paris is still haunting me, it seems.

A word of caution: that city truly is profoundly expensive. Especially if you’re an idealistic, previously sheltered 24-year old… AKA me. Long story short, I had spent the Christmas holidays in France with my friends, splurged a shit ton, I caught the flu (aggravated by my insistent touristing), and then, dragged by a fever and a sad spell, bought a new (quite expensive) flight home to Madrid.

Dolla dolla bills, yo. Or Euros, I guess. Gah. Semantics.

TL;DR - I was broke.

ANYWAY. January was a both a blur and a lifetime. I still can’t decide whether it went by fast or if it dragged on forever. It was uneventful in a sense, as I’ve only had one trip out of the city, and it was only a simple yet challenging hike nearby. On the other hand, each day felt like a long, painful, humbling streak, just spent watching the digits of my bank account decrease each time I desperately checked for a miracle. I went to work, took the train home, cooked a quick meal, siesta-ed for hours, woke up, read a book aggressively, slept. Repeat. Between those mundane tasks I would crave for something I couldn’t afford.

What annoys me most is that I’m Millennial Broke, not actually broke. Meaning I could’ve prevented this, but didn’t.

I got paid today, though, so that was cool. I’m well-fed and sheltered and clothed for yet another month, and more than anything, I am grateful. My privilege feels so present now that it’s gone, the privilege being my safety net and my financial support. And while I still have threads of that safety net to fall back on should I truly fall, the distance I put between me and my family has made that almost impossible. Quite frankly, the distance made it… shameful.

I moved to Spain. I made that choice. I live in Europe. I earn Euros now, a far cry from the Pesos that I was earning four months ago. I have a small business. I have a Youtube channel. If I can’t learn the ropes of budgeting now, when will I ever?

I’ve wallowed in self-pity long enough, and after a month of surviving thanks to my privileged position, I’m here gearing up for a fresh month. I know I can do better.

So as I go to work, take the train, cook meals, siesta, read, and sleep in February, I’m going to keep this gentle reminder tucked away in my heart, in the spot that my bank account worries had just vacated. A reminder that my life is a privilege. While the challenges I face are valid, reasonable, and real, I am still lucky to be where I am, physically, mentally, financially, and geographically.

I understand myself well enough to know that I would regret it a year from now, if I were to allow my little pains to consume me and this Spanish detour that I’m on. Because it’s one hell of a detour, and it’s one hell of a life.

Onwards and upwards!