When times are tough and you find yourself eating 20p noodles mixed with a little watery tomato sauce costing only 75p, for the fifth day in a row, it’s easy to think ‘what am I doing with my life?’ or ‘when is this torture going to end?’
Of course it’s not really torture or poverty or any of those terrible things that do actually have commonplace in (some parts of) the world, but it is a bit depressing. Wanting to do things and then remembering that you can’t because you don’t have any money is as restrictive as living at home in your 40s, having your parents decide your meals, locking you down with a 10pm curfew. In other words, you can’t really do anything and it pretty much sucks.
See how easy it is to fall into doom and gloom, surrounded by a pit of despair that demands the constant re-working of CVs, days filled with pitiful street trawling and endless cover-letter writing, all to no avail?
It is so easy.
What else is easy though, and maybe even easier, is to forget that the best things in life are actually free.
I’m just going to say that again…
The BEST things in life are FREE!
I’m not kidding.
Let’s start with the best unemployment-induced freebie:
1. In times of trouble, you get the chance to feel love, and to see the kindness in those you love.
Family send reassuring emails, leave ‘emergency cash’, fill you up with nutritious take away meals, stock your cupboards with beans and tea and most importantly, treat you to a glimpse of the future, when this small snippet of your life turns into so much of an insignificant blur it becomes laughable. Then there’s your friends – your nearest and dearest who write letters and long Facebook messages, just to remind you of how awesome you are, and others you wrongly assumed didn’t care as much, who take it upon themselves to do whatever it takes to cheer you up.
All of this is free (for you) and softens the walls of the horrible-dark-pit quite a lot.
On to those things that are probably often taken for granted, but are an important part of a happy life, and just happen to be COMPLETELY FREE….
2. Hugs and Kisses – both free, both lovely.
3. Laughing – an instant cure to any blue Monday.
4. Reading – with so much time on those unemployed hands there’s no reason not to swap your noodle-filled world for one full of romance or mystery.
5. Running – gross, I know, but think about it. If you feel trapped within the four walls of your unemployment story, run! For extra free-feeling points run like Phoebe from Friends.
6. Dancing – we all have a favourite song. Close the curtains, yank up the volume and have a boogie. You’ll feel a million times better as a result.
7. Drawing – most people have access to a pencil and some paper, or a doodle app on their phone or laptop, so use it! Even if the picture looks like nothing at all, drawing is a great way of forgetting about your responsibilities for a little while.
8. Browsing the Internet – I wouldn’t recommend spending hours doing this, but the internet is a huge hub of entertainment, and one that could provide a source for all that laughter we spoke of at point number three. Find a spot for free wifi (a library, a café – just order tap water, a train station…) and browse to your heart’s content.
9. Dreaming – totally, completely, 100% free, as well as being private and a great escape. If you make it semi-realistic, your dream can also turn into motivation.
10. You probably guessed this one (it’s coming from me after all) – Writing.
Writing is free and a great release. If you write down everything; how you’re feeling, what happened (or didn’t happen) that day, your thoughts and fears, until the big pit of self-despair eventually disappears (because it will, at some point) then what a great story you’ll have. Existing as a reminder (though, really, could you ever forget?!) of the hardship you faced, and returning to point 1, the love you felt in spite of that hardship, you’ll feel more empowered to go out and conquer the world than you ever thought possible.
As much as I hate to admit it, money is quite important. For 99.9% of the population it’s an essential part of survival. That said, not having enough money is not the end of the world.
Let me say that again.
Not having enough money is NOT the end of the world.
There are plenty of great things to be had for free, and in those times when you feel like you’re slipping into an oblivion of sadness and self-hatred, remember that whilst money may be an unfortunate life-necessity, your happiness actually doesn’t depend on it.
Love, hug, kiss, laugh, read, run, dance, draw, dream and write.
Make the most of what is free and most importantly, remember it all when you’re a filthy rich millionaire.