The summer of my junior year in high school, I got my first real job, working as a lifeguard at my local recreation center. The hours were weird, sporadic and each weeks schedule was different. The pool was big and crowded, kids would try and get away with as much as they could, and you were in the sun all day. Did I mention my boss was incompetent and passive aggressive? What about only getting paid seven dollars an hour after taxes? A shitty summer job. But what it taught me about necessity and budgeting is something I still use to this day and am grateful for the experience as a whole.
When I was young, say about seven or eight, I thought adults were geniuses. It baffled me how my dad knew how to fix the lawnmower when it stopped working. I was amazed when my mom would drive for hours on miles of roads and still be able to find her way back to our house. “This stuff seems impossible,” I would think to myself. The way I imagined it, you were a kid till you were seventeen, and then on the night of your eighteenth birthday you went to bend and poof! You woke up an eighteen year old adult, now gifted with the knowledge on how to file taxes and work a computer. This silly idea faded as I started to age, but I still thought until recently that being an adult meant you took careful thought into all of your actions, using your years of experience to make the best possible decision for each situation you were faced with.
This was something I noticed awhile ago when I first starting working full time at my construction job. I would wake up at 6:00 a.m, get out of bed at 6:30, make breakfast, get dressed and leave by 7:00. I would arrive at 7:30 and the day would begin. Haul materials, screw in boards, put up drywall, sweep the floor. Stop for lunch at 12:00, start back up at 12:30, and then it all starts again. Clean the windows, pick up plywood, fix some holes, put down some track. Before you knew it 4:30 p.m had rolled around and the day was done. Get in my car, get home by 5:00 and make dinner. Eat, take a shower, and go workout by 6:15. Lift weights, sweat, get some water from the drinking fountain. Get home at 7:30. Take another shower, have a snack, get dressed and it was 8:00. Watch some YouTube video’s, be in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 10:00. Weeks would go by this way, this routine of work and home activities eating away chunks of my twenty-four hour day until every second seemed to be taken towards some activity. Routine made my life slip by in alarming chunks.