Someone on Quora had asked me:
This is how I responded:
I’m going to assume you’re Asian because of your last name. My best friend, who happened to vanish off the face of the planet, is Asian and was in the same predicament as you. However, she wasn’t forced to live on her own. It was a choice she made, to be independent.
I’m assuming you’re from America, because from what I’m reading, it sounds like you bought into the “American Dream.” To find a rich husband to take care of you, so you can do whatever you want. The sad thing is, the chance of having that so called “American Dream” coming true is quite slim. When women decided to be equals in the work environment, there was a shift in the economy. I’m actually quite happy about what they did, because I wouldn’t want to work in a room full of men each day. However, no longer does a man’s salary of $30,000 support a mortgage payment, a car, his wife, and his two children. Now, it’s quite tough to do all of that on a household budget of $60,000 a year. Even on $100,000 a year, it could be a handful, depending on what part of America you live in, especially in California. I mean, with your spending habits, $100k a year is nothing.
I had an ex-girlfriend once upon a time who seems to have “achieved” what you are looking for. I made $100k a year when I was with her. I couldn’t afford a mortgage, I lived in a 1 bedroom apartment, and I paid rent on both our places. Even with my $100k a year, we couldn’t afford to go on vacations or anything else, because all of my money was spent on food.
Looking back at my prior monthly statements, my food transactions cost about $2,000 a month since she never cooked, even though she knew how to, which makes no sense to me. Considering that our combined rent was $1,500 a month, and my car payment, insurance, and gas was around $1,400 a month, I didn’t have much money left. Especially since most of that cash went straight to taxes. My ex made money too, but I have no clue what she spent it on, since she never opened her pocketbook for anything. So basically, this is what I was spending without the cost of clothing, cigarettes, alcohol, health insurance, or whatever else there was to pay for.
We just recently got out of a recession, so there are even less people out there who earn as much money as I used to make. Sorry to burst your bubble, but chances of finding that rich guy you’re looking for are possible, yet extremely unlikely.
So, let’s get back to what my friend did, the one who vanished. Let’s go over what she did to survive. When she first went off into the world to live on her own, she went to live with a roommate to cut down costs, then went to find a job. Being a lazy young girl who wanted to be free, she was always late to all the jobs she showed up at and got fired from multiple places. There were many times when she needed to be bailed out, so on occasion I would have to cover her electricity bill after the lights shut off or comfort her while she was crying in a drunk stupor, condemning how hard life is. The unfortunate thing is that, life is really hard, and there’s no way around it.
So, what did she do?
As time went by, she tried her best to learn how to be disciplined. Now, these are extremely hard things to learn, especially for a sheltered Korean girl who came from an upper middle class family, living in a gated community, where she never had to worry about a single thing.
Now, she was off in the real world trying to get by. She was lucky–her parents covered her phone and her car payments. However, she had to come up with gas, rent, clothes, make up, and whatever else women buy. Oh, I remember now. She was fixated on her $3 Fiji waters, her $5 Menthol cigarettes, and her fast food, since she didn’t have the slightest clue how to cook anything that wasn’t burnt to a crisp.
Now, let’s talk about what she did. It took her a really long time to get used to living on her own. Her parents had to bail her out on multiple occasions. She had these horrible spending habits, and she would always catch herself with overdraft fees from the bank or being absolutely clueless how to survive. But, she was determined to live, determined to succeed.
It took her years upon years to figure it out, and she did some unusual things, such as steal the toilet paper from the bathroom at her work because she couldn’t afford to buy it herself. However, after finally figuring out how to budget, learn new skills and work hard, she made it through. Then, she bought herself a one-way ticket to Hawaii, got a job, started a business, and was living the life.
Until, one day, when she fell out a banyan tree. She temporarily suffered from amnesia, was rushed to the hospital, put into a neck brace, and had to go back home to live with her parents.
After about a year or so, she was able to give it a second shot to live on her own. She went out and tried again, and guess what… It was still hard for her. However, she dedicated her time to build self discipline, educating herself, working on personal development, learning new skills, planning her budget, changing her philosophy, and working like no tomorrow. She started another business and was able to afford to live on her own in Hollywood, as she divulged herself into drawing and reading self help books. Then something magical happened. By December last year, her complete aura had changed.
No longer was she this lost little girl who was clueless about the world. She had gone out and overcome. Now, here she is today, being probably one of the most classy, genuine, sincere, heartfelt women in the world, at the age of 26. I’m 100% certain she will be changing the world, unlike my ex who is just looking for another guy like me to live off of.
Hopefully, you can take a lesson from how my best friend decided to live her life. Hopefully, you decide to deal with how hard life is and seek to overcome it all, until the greatness within you is exposed, as opposed to just looking for someone to take care of your needs like my ex did and is still doing today.
Originally posted on Quora.
Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.