Last week, I showed up at my doctor’s office for an appointment and was making polite conversation with the receptionist.
He was asking me the usual COVID questions when I noticed a bit of anxiety in his voice. His eyes darted between me and the computer screen and back to me.
I began to worry that I had gotten my appointment time wrong or that my doctor needed to cancel when he finally spoke.
“You have a $90 co-pay today?!”
He didn’t frame this as a clear statement but rather a question. And I could tell he was shocked. When I told him that I knew about the co-pay, I saw him let out a long exhale. A bit of relief perhaps that I wasn’t going to freak out about the cost.
“Well damn. Insurance companies are wild these days, huh? Makes you wonder what the point is of paying for insurance at all!”
I agreed and we had a good-natured laugh about the cost of simply existing these days.
The conversation itself was light-hearted but I think we both knew that we were only laughing to keep from crying internally because the whole situation was depressingly relatable.
Then a few days ago, my sister sent me a video that brought back this same feeling.
In the clip, a mom (the_arielb on TikTok) talks to her children about what it takes to manage money when you grow up and has them fill out a budget worksheet based on a monthly income of $3,000. I could not stop laughing at her daughter’s reactions but I also had moments of compassion because I could feel her stress about a future that hasn’t even happened for her yet.
If you’re currently going through the struggle of adulting and want to feel seen, or just want to better prepare your kids for what’s ahead, this is a must-watch:
@the_arielbTeaching my kids budgeting, they only have $3,000 a month. ? FREE PDF ? in bio ❤️♬ original sound – The__Ariel_B
Mom: And don’t forget, when you get an apartment, say your apartment is $1,200 a month, they will need first, last, and security deposit.
Daughter: Why do they need last month’s rent if I wasn’t in there?
Mom: You’re signing for a year. They just want to make sure you have the money to provide. That you’re good with your money.
Daughter: But I still wasn’t here last month!
Mom: If you pay it for a full year and we get the first month and the last month, you’ll make sure to stay because you already paid for it. You won’t leave us out in the wind to try and find another tenant. So make sure you stay.
Daughter: Little scammers…like what are y’all doing?! And now I’m under because the car is a used car, a 2010 car. Still $400! I’m on a bike that’s $60.
Mom: You’re going to pedal to work every day?
Daughter: I ain’t got no other choice!
Mom: What if it’s raining? What about your child?
Daughter: I’m not having kids! You’re gonna have to write me all the money in your will.
Mom: What are your views on adulthood?
Daughter: I’m in debt already…and it’s not even real money. Like, I have nothing. Where did my freedom go? Where did my friends go? Where does this say I got money for friends? I have nothing! I have no money at all. And I don’t know what to do about it…and I’m already on a bike! Like I don’t know what to do? What else can I do?!
There’s a lot to love about growing up—new experiences, new ideas, new people, new opportunities. But adulting? The day to day art of trying to build a life that we love, that we can sustain, that supports our right livelihood, that allows us room to breath (emotionally, physically, and financially)? Well, that’s hard…and expensive.
And sometimes, when it feels really hard, all we can do is laugh.