Social welfare is often used as a mode of delaying reality, especially for the hordes of young people who still find themselves jobless or relying on increasingly tenuous sources of income. When you spend all your time in college, on close to no money and an excess of daytime tv to watch, going on the dole is simply another way of extending the college experience without actually having to go to college.
This might work for a short time (one of my friends has been signing on for almost three years; a fact he often announces with bizarre pride) but eventually real life will come-a-knocking and the realisation will dawn that your life is no longer dependent on the largest volume of naggins and noodles for the lowest price.
To quote John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". My plans were to spend the summer tootling along as usual in my house, selling some of my clothes on eBay and hopping on a weekend jaunt to Galway with the proceeds before the clouds went from June greige to September's leaden clumps. So, no-one was more surprised than me when I opened my big fat mouth and asked the other half if he fancied moving in together.
Now, after much humming and hawing, we are both poised on the precipice of doing the most grown up thing I've been involved with since managing to tie my shoelaces independently of my mother's help. It is terrifying.
The mild sense of foreboding that clouds what should be an exciting time has nothing to do with our relationship or how much money we have (or don't have, as the case may be). Our chosen abode is eerily perfect and almost impossibly affordable. The problem is not us. The problem lies with the endless parade of 'what ifs' that stream through our minds. What if the money dries up? What if we lose our jobs? What happens if our savings suddenly poof into nothingness at some unseen genie's bidding?
As a generation, we're only just getting used to having the fiscal rug pulled out from under us at no notice, so niggling doubts are suddenly transformed into looming possibilities.
We've gone from being cautious to shrieking at our own shadows.
My advice? Turn your 'What if' into 'So what?' You'll sleep easier at night. You'll display the blithe disregard and head-in-the-sand financial mentality that means that you have finally grown up, looked reality in the face... and decided that you didn't like it.