Money. Yes, let’s talk a bit about money and when you’re in the lack of it. Both my sister and I have the dream of living in New York, so when we began this life adventure the natural place to start was just there: the concrete jungle where dreams are made. My sister stayed in the city after her UN internship and when I arrived in New York she tells me the status of her bank account: $1. Awesome. So, we’re in one of the world’s most expensive cities with no place to live, no visa, no job and only my savings to live on.
I had to tell myself to stay calm and not panic. At least I was in New York, right?
I’ve always been scared of not having enough money. To not be able to pay for myself, buy the cloths I want and live life fully. The months before I decided to leave my job in Paris, I was so uncomfortable with my situation that this big fear of mine shrank and turned into a no-biggie. When I started rationalizing about it, I knew that I always could get money somehow.
Anyways, back to New York and it being one of the cities with the highest rents in the world. Paying for rent was simply not an option (unless we wanted to spend all money and come back home broke). So we became creative. My sister had already been house-watching an apartment for the past 1,5 month, so we knew that the only way for us to live cheap in the city would be by connecting with people. We did dog-sitting, baby-sitting and stayed at friends’ apartments for a few nights and while they were out of town. We even stayed at a guy’s place who I had met on Tinder (and now we’re really good friends, lol).
The point I’m trying to make is that in today’s society we want to be independent and not put ourselves in a situation where we ask others for help. We isolate ourselves more than ever, which creates separation and loneliness. When you put yourself in a situation where you need other people; you open up for connections that usually take months or even years to establish.
The Ben Franklin effect takes place: when we do a favor for someone else, we tend to like them better. Why? Because we justify the favor we did by saying to ourselves that it was because we like the person.
At the end of our 2 months in New York, we had stayed at 10 different places, taken care of 4 kids, 2 dogs and 1 cat. Yes, it was difficult to move around a lot, yes it was scary not knowing where we would live the following night and yes I had a couple of nose bleeds (I get that when I’m stressed). BUT I loved the whole experience. The more people found out about our situation, the more they wanted to help. Eventually we had to say no to those asking us to stay with them.
In our vulnerable state, we simply had to connect with people and this created very strong bonds. We have friends for life just from these two months. From this experience (which is still a reality because now we’re staying with another friend in the Dominican Republic) I’ve realized the importance of knowing what’s important. I have to appreciate the one bag of cloths I have, really enjoy that cup of coffee when I buy one and focus on what I DO have, instead of what I’m lacking. Even though we’re in a period where we’re tight on money, we’ve never given away more money to those in need. You get a new perspective of their situation and can’t help but to give away those extra coins in your pocket.
Of course money is important and yes I want to make more than sufficient money one day. But, when the path to what we truly desire is blocked by the fear of money, we should NOT let it stop us.