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  • Writer's pictureAliya

I Gotta Think of a Way to Get This Money by Tomorrow

next friday day day blankly staring
*stares off in millenial dread*

When I was in college, my roommate and I would regularly have conversations about our lofty plans for adulthood. I had dreams of being a chic Editor-in-Chief of a Vibe Magazine-type publication. I fantasized about getting to hear new songs before they were released, and writing long form think pieces about up-and-coming artists. I would live in a lush, stylish loft apartment, and have chill dinner parties with my friends, like Sanaa Lathan in Brown Sugar.

My roommate declared that she would be an entrepreneur; a PR professional that would work with all the big names, having meetings in her corner office while covered in luxury brands from head to toe. Think Samantha Jones, but a multi-millionaire. The only thing in our way was our degrees. Once we graduated, all we had to do was find high-paying jobs, become rich, the end. What’s so hard about that?

Spoiler alert. I’m not rich. For one, I graduated college with a degree in print journalism just as print journalism was going the way of the Nextel phone. Impeccable timing on my part. The job market was the embodiment of tumbleweeds blowing across a barren plain. And when I did finally land an editing job, I was raking in spare change and not the big bucks. How Carrie managed to write a weekly column in a small newspaper and afford designer shoes and fancy dinners is beyond me. Most of my newspaper work could barely cover the cost of a combo meal.

That’s partly why reminiscing on my naïve salary expectations all those years ago is embarrassing. However, I did discover that I’m not alone in my experience. Turns out over 60 percent of millennials believe/believed that they’ll end up wealthy. I suppose I wasn’t the only one counting the commas before they were actually in my bank account.

Here’s the part where you give me a gentle elbow nudge and a reminder that “Hey, money doesn’t buy you happiness.” My response? Sure, it does. Being able to live safely and securely with a full belly and peace of mind ain’t free. Living life cost money – a lot of it.

But also, yes. Having money doesn’t guarantee you a happy existence. And while I may not be wining and dining my friends in a fancy New York apartment, I have zero regrets about pursuing a field that I was passionate about. I may not be where I thought I would end up, but following my instincts and opportunities has led me to where I am. And that is a place filled with gratitude, happiness, and promise.

And although I’m a lot older than college Aliya, I haven’t totally lost that millennial sense of confidence that everything is still going to work out for me in the end. It just may be updating my fantasies to things like a secure retirement plan and paying off my car loan.

Either way, I’m leaving here with something.


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