When $30 Feels Like $1 Million

I was feeling a little down on Thursday. It was so gloomy when I woke up at 8:30 that I thought it was 5 AM before I looked at the clock. It rained all day. I had work to do, plus I needed to finish cleaning my apartment because my mom and grandma were coming up the next day, but I couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes, even if I played music from iTunes, which often helps me focus. Nothing was really wrong, but I just felt a little out of sorts and grumpy. I also needed to eat some lunch before I went to babysit in the afternoon, and I was struck by a sudden craving for Chipotle, but it’s the end of the month, and after a couple of unexpected expenses popped up over the last few weeks, my bank account is depressingly low until the start of June.

So I did what any frustrated millennial does: I wrote a whiny Facebook status. Specifically, it said, “Cannot concentrate on anything today for more than 10 minutes. Also craving Chipotle and have no money for it. Life is rough.” Really and truly, I was just venting a little bit. I wasn’t asking for anything.

But it turns out I have the greatest friends in the world. My friend Meghan saw my status and emailed me a $20 e-gift card for Chipotle. She said, “Go get a burrito with Jeremy on me!” A few minutes later, I got a text from Venmo that said, “Annika Bergman paid you $10.00. Go get Chipotle. <3” I was floored by their kindness, especially because I know they both have financial situations similar to mine: they’re young, they work in the service industry, and they also deal with money frustrations from time to time.

In the grand scheme of things, me getting the burrito I wanted is not going to significantly change the world. It’s not going to end hunger or make American healthcare affordable for all. But receiving those small, unexpected gifts certainly turned my day around. I was in a better mood when I went to babysit, which is always good, and once I got home from babysitting, I was able to get some important things done around the house, and I was feeling happy and accomplished when Jeremy came home from a long day at work. I haven’t quite figured out how yet, but I’m definitely going to find a way to pay Annika’s and Meghan’s kindness forward. I’d really like to do something similar and provide a small gift to a young person with money woes — I’ve written about this before and I won’t go in-depth about it now, but it so often seems that baby boomers and even gen-Xers are constantly berating millennials for our overall lack of solvency, when those previous generations created the situations that are the root of young people’s financial problems today. It can get really depressing, and I think it’s super important for us young people to stick together and help each other out whenever we can, even if it’s only in small ways.

It’s actually been a really awesome week or so when it comes to small gestures that mean the world to me. Last Saturday I was back in my hometown briefly (unfortunately, I had to go to calling hours for a friend of the family), and I saw several people from the church where I grew up. A couple of them mentioned that they had watched me on Jeopardy!, and the organist told me that choir practice had actually been officially canceled so people could watch my appearance on the show. In almost 28 years of knowing the choir director, I’ve never been aware of a single other time when a Wednesday night choir practice was canceled. I really can’t properly express how amazing it was to hear that. And this morning I woke up to a post on my Facebook wall from my friend Brian, who’s spent the last several months working at the Magic Kingdom as part of the Disney College Program. He told me that last week when he got home, the very first thing he did, before even unpacking anything, was to pull up my J! episode (which he hadn’t gotten to see when it aired) and watch it, and he was very proud of me. I was so touched to hear that!

So I guess the moral of this blog post is that even the smallest gestures can have an enormous impact. If you’re able to do anything to improve someone else’s day, don’t hesitate, just do it! It might just mean the world to them.


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