Miss Independent

Dana - Brielle, New Jersey
Entered on January 20, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Ever since I was younger my parents never spoiled me. Instead of handing me cash, they would make me work for hard earned money by completing chores around the house such as emptying the dishwasher, or helping out a neighbor by babysitting their kids for the night. I was never fed with a silver spoon. I believe in living simply, independent, and being appreciative for the little things in life.

There came a day a couple of years ago when my mom called me into the kitchen. Thinking I had done something wrong, I sat across from her, straight faced and silent. It turned out that I was completely incorrect. “Just to let you know, we are a bit tight on money right now,” she explained to me, “with your father having trouble finding a job, the only income we have coming in is mine.” The statement shocked me and I began to contemplate any possibly way that I could help the current situation. Less than a month later, I got a job.

Something made me open my eyes that day when I spoke with my mom. I knew that if I still wanted to enjoy the lifestyle I was living, I would have to have the money to support it. It was difficult at first. Being only a freshman, I had to give up some social activities with my friends and from time to time go straight from work to play practice for my school’s musical that I was involved in. When spring arrived, it pained me not to be able to go into work sometimes because of to lacrosse practice. I struggled every once in a while, but it made me proud to know that I no longer was dependent on my parents to give me a weekly allowance. I feel that getting a job at such a young age proved to them that I was on my way to being a responsible adult.

I never quite realized how thankful I was for their guidance until I got to college. Not only did I immediately accept a work study job, but also found that I had been more prepared for my experience by my parents. I laughed to myself the first time I walked into the laundry room and found directions posted on the wall as to how to do laundry. Right next to it, a girl was cramming both dark and light clothes into a single washing machine. I was shocked and a bit taken aback by the fact that someone my age still had no idea how to do their own laundry because they were dependent on someone else to do it for them. Granted, I didn’t always have to do my own, but I could at least tell you what order to put in the clothes, detergent, and fabric softener.

Independence is not something that comes overnight, but instead a characteristic that blooms over a period of time. In some sense, having to work for money, respect and privileges was difficult, especially when it came to social situations. Everyday I’m thankful my parents raised me the way they did, with a genuine appreciation for the small things in life.