As adults, we spend a lot of time working towards that one day at the end of the month when we get paid. But unfortunately, as adults, a lot of that time also goes towards worrying about where that money will go and how much we’ll have left over after that. As part of our new grown-up lives, a large portion of my friends’ bills include their car loans, phone bills, unlimited Internet and even paying back their parents; the rest of that pay goes towards shopping, saving up for concerts and buying air-tickets for holidays we insist that we need to maintain our sanity from our “stressful lives”.

Watching this cycle of cash flow made me yearn for the old days, when any money was big money and $100 made us feel like we were pretty much set for life. Fast forward a decade later and a hundred dollars equates to paying off some annoying forgotten bill that’s bound to pop up from nowhere the moment you get paid, buying phone credit, a casual dinner with friends and maybe a lipstick. Thinking back on it, I remember very specifically the first two things I bought with my very first pay from my first job as a teenager.

  1. A huge tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream

A part of new adulthood is slowly realizing that you can get away with more things without having to answer to your parents. For me, this was walking past an ice-cream freezer at the grocery store and having it dawn upon me that I could eat as much dessert as I wanted without having to share with anyone, and without having to listen to my parents nag me about my health, my weight and my appetite before dinner. And of course, no sinful tub of ice-cream is complete without…

  1. An entire jar of maraschino cherries

Why cherries, you ask? I remember basking in my wealth and mentally rolling around in dollar notes and thinking, “Why is there only one cherry on top of a sundae? And why is “cherry on top” used to describe a special event as if it’s a one-off that can only be savoured in one bite? I’m an adult, therefore, I deserve a cherry with every bite!”. Cue Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for The Money” as I contentedly stuffed myself with ice cream and cherries while lounging lavishly in bed.

Of course, real adulthood followed eventually, and I was forced to part ways with my money on more practical amenities. But I will never forget the initial innocence of getting my first real hard-earned pay, and understanding all the possibilities and freedom that it meant to me. Some days, it also serves as an early reminder to not always see money as a means to an end but to also take the time to enjoy it.

So, what did you use to spend your money on?


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"I'm the writer your mother warned you about." A modern South East Asian girl who's ahead of her time and currently in the midst of self-rebranding. Plans on being a lazy, entitled, money-driven millennial even when she's seventy. A perfect combination of all four Golden Girls, her fruit equivalent would be a spicy strawberry.