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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hard Knocks and Nissans

I'm sitting in a car, sobbing. I am crying big fat tears all over the car's nice leather interior and all over my friend's mother, who is probably regretting having offered me a lift home. I have nine euros in my bank account. All I have to eat at home is one single solitary Petit Filous. I have hit the place just directly above Rock Bottom, because, as my dear departed granny used to say, there's always someone worse off than you.

Maybe I should rewind and give you a bit of perspective. People of my generation were born into a recession but grew up in a time of economic prosperity, therefore it's all we've really known. We lived in the shadow of the magnificent roaring Celtic Tiger, which as of last year had decided that it was a bit tired and didn't feel like propping up the construction industry anymore and went for a very inconvenient nap. So far, so formulaic.

When this all started and recession was a word only whispered about in speculative terms like Lord Voldemort in a Hogworts bathroom, my friends and I had no worries. We were in our last year of college. Surely this recession malarkey would all be over by then and we would emerge from a third-level education fug, Arts Degrees in hand, greedily grasping for manna and cushy jobs in the Land of Plenty, right? Actually, no.

And that is how I ended up crying in a Nissan Primera. Needless to say, my financial situation wasn't at it's healthiest. The cupboard was bare in every sense of the term. The rent was due, my credit card was maxed out. I had no money and was frantically scrabbling around for any semblance of paying work. My friend's mother put her arm around me and let me vent. After a few minutes of panic there was a distinct calm - the kind of resigned calm that comes over a person when you know that there's nothing you can do to change your situation.

I wasn't where I wanted to be by a long shot. However, I got the feeling that I was where I was supposed to be. It's a bitter pill for the children of the WAG generation to swallow, but it's foolish for us to assume that employment will fall in our laps and that we're entitled to the kind of lifestyles that our parents worked so hard to have through the mire of (yet another) recession. They had to earn it. And we do too.