I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately–coming up to November, how cliche, I know. I just finished The Secret by Rhonda Byrne which talks about being grateful for the things you have now and expectant of the blessings that are to come. If you’re interested in using the ideas in The Secret, read my article about how to get exactly what you want.
I helped out at the food pantry this week and my gratitude list hit home. There are so many things that make you rich, right now.
As a society, we like to complain about being poor, especially in our twenties. We joke that we’re broke college kids, or later, broke post-grads. To us, being rich means you have private jets, expensive cars, designer goods, a money pool like Scrooge McDuck, etc. These are all signs you’re rich, and we never think of the list below.
When in fact, we’re some of the wealthiest people right now. Here are 15 things that make you rich in your twenties:
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15 Things that make You Rich in your Twenties:
1. You have a roof over your head
We live in this adorable little three-bedroom home that we just purchased and I LOVE it! At first we were hesitant on buying, but the risk was worth it. Even if I do complain about having to clean the space every day.
You may not live in a sixteen bedroom castle complete with pool, rec center, and entertainment room, but you have somewhere to sleep at night. Having a space that’s warm, with running water, electricity, and furniture is a sign you’re wealthy. Even if you don’t have the benefits of living alone and have to share the space with some roommates to make the rent.
2. You have transportation to work
Most of us don’t live within walking distance of our work, but we own cars or have access to public transport to help us to get there. You might complain at needing to walk to the subway in the rain. You might prefer not to spend 30 minutes on a bus. Maybe you grumble about the traffic and being stuck in your car.
No matter your transportation woes, it is a sign of being rich that you have transport to get to work. Next time you’re crammed into a subway car, or stuck in traffic, take a deep breath and find gratitude in the moment.
3. You are earning enough to enjoy your down-time
We all go through that phase of not liking our jobs (trying to find our purpose and do what we love). Then we remember that all the fun things we like to do are paid for by our jobs. So we take a couple days of paid time off and go back to work.
Our current jobs might not be the dream job we want to have at thirty. We might not be bringing in six-figures, or even upwards of five. But we still have something that gives us the money to pay our bills and enjoy a hobby or a trip. And that is truly a sign of wealth.
4. You have food in the fridge
Lately, we’ve been lazy when it comes to grocery shopping (lazy meaning we haven’t been going). I’ve been opening the fridge saying there’s nothing to eat and it’s sort of a lie. There just isn’t much to eat.
When we say, “there’s nothing to eat” there’s a fridge or cupboards full of food that we just aren’t in the mood to eat. We even have the power to order in or go out when we don’t feel like cooking, which is a huge indicator that we are rich in comparison to many people. Our stomachs don’t have to question when, if ever, we’re going to get something to eat. In fact, most of us don’t know what it means to be truly hungry.
5. You have clothes in your closet
I thought when we moved in together that I’d have the most clothes, but I think it’s a tie. We joke about what we’re going to do when we have kids. We might have to – gasp – DOWNSIZE! Or just make the kid share a shelf with us…
In our society, we shop at places like Goodwill mostly because it’s in fashion, not out of necessity. Our spring cleaning means getting rid of all the old stuff we don’t want to wear anymore, only to make room for new things that we will pack into our dressers and shelves. The ability to continually replenish and refresh your wardrobe means you are richer than most. We don’t know what it’s like to only own one shirt or pair of pants at a time in our lives.
6. You have your health
I really like to spend my day curled up on the couch and feel like a rockstar when I get front row parking. I’m not incapable of moving, there are just days I prefer not to. Last time I went to the doctor, she told me I was boring because I have nothing bad to talk about.
Walking, running, breathing, taking medications only because you want to, not having to truly worry if today will be your last day on this earth, are signs you’re rich. We don’t have to go to cancer treatments on the daily or use a respirator to help us breathe. We can choose between exercise or to be lazy all day.
7. You have access to a doctor
Health care is a big topic of discussion in our country. Some have it, a lot don’t. I got a job just because I was turning 26 and needed health care. I can choose to go to the doctor whenever I need and even have access to him over the phone if I don’t want to go in.
When we are sick, we have access to doctors. Some of our employers provide better health care packages, but for the most part, we all have coverage. We’re so blessed, we don’t have to get a REAL job with benefits until we’re 26. We are rich because when we get the case of the sniffles, we don’t have to worry that it will become a life threatening disease.
8. You have clean water
First world problems are choosing between the bottled water in the fridge or using the purifier at the sink. I filled my dogs bowl with a glass of water instead of going to faucet and he looked at me like I was crazy. He just kept pawing at the bowl, afraid he’d been poisoned.
Clean drinking water flows out of our tap daily–in the shower, out of the sink, out of the fancy purifiers we hook up because we want it even CLEANER. We don’t have to look at brown, dirty water and think that this doesn’t look so bad today. Most of the time we don’t even think about water as a luxury, because we’re so used to having it when we need it. If that isn’t a true sign of wealth, I don’t know what is.
9. You have access to the Internet
The only grumbling exchange we have in our household is who is slowing the Internet down. I will holler up at my boyfriend to quit watching Twitch and playing video games, because my Pinterest page won’t load or my Netflix buffered. We even give away FREE Internet at my work that’s only 40mbps and people debate whether it’s good enough.
Most of us are reading this on our own Internet connections. How rich is a country where we get access through our cell phone plans, Wifi, or free public connection somewhere. Because it’s so easy to get Internet, we scoff at the idea of paying for a signal in public or get frustrated when we have to wait half a second for something to load. We have forgotten the age of dial up.
10. You have an education
I joke that the diploma hanging on my wall is the most expensive piece of paper I’ve ever purchased. My student loans didn’t pay for the paper, they paid for the college experience and education I received. Experience that I would never try to return if they’d let me (I learned quickly how to be successful in college).
When we are five years old, our society requires we receive some education. They will even call to find out why you aren’t at school and your parents can get in trouble if they don’t send you. There are even discount/free rates if you can’t afford the tuition because we all help pay for education with our taxes. It’s THAT important to us.
11. You are free to have a voice
The ability to write this blog right now shows how rich I am. I live in a country that has freedom of speech and allows women to work, think, and speak as they please. Even if I want to get sassy, they STILL let me talk!
My country tends to fight over things like religion, guns, life choices, etc. And while that can be frustrating, it’s easy to forget that’s a privilege. I don’t have to worry about things in fear of persecution. I can practice or not practice religion freely. If you live in a place where you can have your own opinions and views, that’s a thing that makes you rich.
12. You have people who love you
When I think of ALL the people that love me, it can make my eyes wet (I have always struggled with expressing the mushy emotions). I have a circle of support. Even people that I wouldn’t expect to care, do!
Having a family or friend group that we know we can call in times of need is very important. We joke that we’re not popular if people aren’t talking to us on our cell phones at a certain time. But we never think about what it feels like to be truly alone in this world because we all have a group of people in our lives that love us and we in turn love them. These are things that make you rich.
13. You have the power to give
For Christmas this year, we’re adopting 2 kids and I’m SO EXCITED because it’s my favorite thing to do. I love to give whenever I’m asked at the cash register and enjoy volunteering. I can’t donate a lot of money from my prospective (I would love to donate thousands) because I have bills and debt, but those few dollars I give add up over time.
Even when we only have a few pennies to rub together, we can still give to others. We can purchase supplies for back to school, give can goods to food pantries, adopt a family at Christmas, or we can donate our time–which is sometimes the most valuable donation of all. Sometimes we don’t think we have the money to give to people, or we think that if we only had more, we could give way more away. If we didn’t spend hundreds of dollars on food, booze, and entertainment, we could donate a lot more money than we are. It becomes a question of priority instead of a question of wealth.
14. You have entertainment
Going to the bar, seeing the latest movies, listening to a comedy show, enjoying a dinner out, visiting the museum or national park, taking a dip at the water park, going on vacations, the list goes on and on. These are all things that we do frequently, even weekly. There are weekends where we’ll get bored and go on a weekend getaway like we’re doing this weekend.
Even when we’re feeling extra poor one week, we still can scrounge up a couple of dollars for a drink out with friends or a dollar sandwich at the drive thru. We have our subscriptions to Netflix, extra cable packages, gaming, golf courses, etc that we think we couldn’t live without. All of these entertainment outlets are signs we are VERY rich.
15. You have choices
Maybe the greatest sign of wealth is the ability to choose. I can be whatever I want to be. I already have my education and my wealth, the only thing standing in the way is my belief in myself.
We can wake up and decide one day that we want to be a doctor, lawyer, professional athlete, CEO. Whatever we want, we CAN be it! There may be stipulations that hold us back–talent, work ethic, drive, commitment– but our society doesn’t try to hold us back.
Some of us may have a harder start than others, but we all have the CHOICE to change our situations if we want to.
It’s easy to get caught up in the problems of life and to think that we are worse off than we are. But if we think of things in the grand scheme of things, we are actually one of the luckiest and wealthiest people right now, despite living paycheck to paycheck. Take the time to create a list of things you’re thankful for. It will help you really see what matters in this world. <3