Debt, Booze and McDonald’s

March 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm 1 comment

The American Dream: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Or is it?

After flying out to New York City for my spring break, I discovered that while I’m looking forward to living my life, flexing my liberties and pursuing the things that make me happy, I simply don’t have the means necessary to actualize my dream at this stage in my life. In the meantime, New York City taught me a new set of ideals: Debt, Booze and McDonald’s.


Don’t let debt, or anything for that matter, be an excuse from doing the things you want to do, but keep it within reason. As a poor college student, I knew I was going to have to travel on a budget. Last month was also one of the most overwhelming months I’ve had all year. With little time and little cash, I bought my tickets a week before my trip and after a slight speed bump, had to book my hotel the morning of my flight. However, what ended up being my biggest concern was that two days before my flight, I lost my job. Thankfully it wasn’t performance-based, but rather a time, effort and cost issue. However, I was afraid and apprehensive about going to New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the world, having just lost my main source of income. I realized that I was talking myself out of something that I had been looking forward to since January. Was I being incredibly risky by flying out to NYC after just lost my job? Probably. Was it going to cost more than I had planned? Most likely. Did I get crap from others about it? Definitely. But being cynical and holding yourself back will cost more in the long run.


While I’m not advocating the dangers associated with alcohol use, I am most certainly advocating letting go of your inhibitions. Don’t be afraid to jump up on that platform and show the world what a good time you are having while you discover the world. This is why I tweeted live from NYC, creating my own hashtag #MikinzieDoesNYC and made my Facebook photos from the trip public to everyone (while all of my information on Facebook is public, I like to keep photos for friends only). While I wanted to cram all I could in the matter of a few days, I also wanted to enjoy myself and have fun. This is why most nights in the city were unplanned. I let go of the “itinerary” and let whoever I was with at the time grab my hand and drag me to whatever art space, dive bar or pizzeria was in sight. Don’t take yourself or life’s “small stuff” too seriously or else you might forget to enjoy the adventure.


Seeing as I was on a budget, I had to remember while living it up, not to live it up too much. I admit it: with all of the famous foods in NYC, I ate a meal or two at McDonald’s. This may sound crazy at first, but I had to remain realistic and remind myself to pick and choose my budget battles. McDonald’s is quick, cheap and predictable; I knew my meal would tide me over for a few hours and cost me under $5. When you’re on a budget and have a ticking clock in your ear, you have to prioritize. You have to find that fine line of not limiting your experience while still being conscious of very real limitations.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Andrea V. Lewis  |  March 17, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Sometimes bad situations bring us the most enlightenment in our lives. It sounds like you learned about yourself and life on your NYC trip. Thanks for sharing!


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