At 22 years old and recent college graduates, my friends and I are at the age that we have entered the real world. College loans, grad school, jobs, figuring out where to live, and how to still have a life are all problems in our young lives. It seems that no matter where you go or what you do, you have to spend money. For instance, my friend just asked me if I had any ideas for a date night for him and his new girlfriend because he was already running out of ideas. Besides going for walks or bike rides, what else is there to do besides watching a movie in your parents’ basement for free? All my ideas involved going out to eat or a movie, or even paddle boarding (rent for an hour or two?). But everything involves money. And it becomes even more of a concern when you’re taking out a ton of student loans for grad school.
Is it really impossible to find free things to do, or does our generation lack imagination? Or is the issue that we look at the cost of something to determine the worth and fun of it? Even as a grad student, I still want to make money, save money, and pay for the occasional fun outing or item in addition to the necessities!
So how do we accomplish having fun without the money? I remember one afternoon in Seville, Spain during siesta when I just started to explore. It was one of my favorite days because I saw so much of the city that I had never seen before, and the best part was that it cost me nothing. Similarly, I’m from the Twin Cities, which is one of the most active communities in the nation, where people are constantly outside swimming or biking or roller-skating (hey, we’ve gotta soak up enough vitamin D in two months to last us the other 10). These are all fun things to do but they are never the first things we ever think of. How often do we decide to sit on a bench and read a book, or just sit down and talk to a friend without any distractions?
Our generation forgets that money isn’t everything and that we control money–not the other way around. There was a restaurant in Seville that had a sign “La Vida está hecha de pequeños momentos-0€,” which means, “Life is made of small moments–$0.” If we look all around us there are many ways to live life to the fullest even without spending money. We should stop waiting until we have a large income to live our lives, and start living the best free lives that we can.