BY Jack Kingsland-Wills 

Surviving in this seemingly outlandish adult world faced me with a new hurdle each week and the track was beginning to appear endless. It was becoming abundantly clear to me that handling money was far more difficult than I had anticipated, and as a simple dishy at a local restaurant, I simply could not stretch my funds as far as I would have liked.

I needed to start paying attention to what I was spending, which was easily achievable through the week. Concentrating on what I was buying when going shopping was step one. A phenomenon that I had noticed was that fruit and vegetables go off remarkably quick when you’re the one paying for them. I was forced to accept the fact that simply buying vegetables to make your fridge and pantry look socially acceptable was no longer an option. 

Secondly, repeated calls to Domino’s and my local Chinese had to cease. This was a hard pill to swallow, daydreaming of big greasy pizzas and a steaming bowl of goodness from Happy Chef as I stirred my macaroni and cheese from a packet. Though so far so good, nearing the weekend my bank account was looking in far better shape than it had done in previous weeks, I was mid-jump, the hurdle beneath me as I soared ever closer to the finish line, being a successful adult. I wonder - is there a medal for this?

It’s a tough gig being the only person studying in a friendship group of tradesmen. Payment and the weekend means the week’s over for all of them. Being my stubborn self, I insisted that I was able to study full time, fill every free day I had with work and spend every weekend like I had not a responsibility in the world. This was a plan riddled with holes. After such a successful week of wise choices, the weekend rolled through and my bank account rolled over. I was broke.

The following week came and with it an empty pantry. Toughing it out by eating the scraps my housemates were willing to part with became my livelihood, I was a scavenger. However, the time came for me to walk down to our local supermarket with my last five dollars. Much akin to the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, this five dollars was my final hope. I trotted off into town to solve my night's hunger. Walking through the aisles of the supermarket I was looking for something that could potentially fill me up for five bucks. Thus far a loaf of bread was my safest bet, but I thought I would do the rounds of the store and see if I could spot a bargain.

At the end of one of the aisles was a rotating stand of silly toys, I gave it a spin, partly out of boredom and partly out of childish curiosity. A tiny English bulldog bobble-head caught my eye on the stand and I loved it. He was the last one on the stand...and he was five dollars. I was so torn between sustenance and this bobble-head that I almost broke a sweat. I uttered to myself “Don’t be ridiculous you need to eat” and turned to walk away.

Sitting on my couch at home eating diced tomatoes from a tin with a fork, I looked down at my little bobble-head dog and was delighted with my decision. I named him Douglas, and three years later he still sits on the dashboard of my car, reminding me that I will more than likely never reach the end of this hurdle track.

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