In the beginning of 2015 I moved into my first place without parentals. I was 21 years old, what should have been a glorious time, but within the same month of signing the lease I was let go from my job as a supervisor at a café near Union Square. Apparently, I was not bossy enough (I wasn’t). I’m a very emotional cancer though, so of course I cried, I was extremely stressed, I felt like a failure being the first (and only) time I have ever gotten fired and I just wasn’t sure how I’d be paying rent without a job. To add to this level of stress, a few days later my boyfriend at the time wanted to break up. We dated less than a year, but all those worries at once were overwhelming. I was broke, jobless and literally sleeping on an air mattress with blankets I jacked from my dad’s house.
I had an apartment though, right?! At this point in my life I did not really consider myself irresponsible with money. Of course, I never had an emergency fund, so how responsible did I really think I was? I can confidently say now, that I wasn’t very. While I was going through all of this I casually, very casually, remembered my grandmother left me $10,000 when she passed in 2009. Truthfully, I attempted to remove this money from the CD (Certificate of Deposit) some years prior, but Wells Fargo was not having it. I can’t recall if it was because I wasn’t 18, but it just wasn’t happening, so I left it alone.
I immediately went to the bank after I remembered that this account existed because what else was I going to do? I had been legal to drink for less than a year, barely an adult and I just signed a lease. That money was something I really thought I needed to get by and I was definitely relieved when Wells Fargo let me at it this time. I’ve sometimes wondered what the clerk thought when I requested the money looking like I was about 15 years old. Probably nothing to be honest, but it’s crossed my mind. Before she started she let me know the penalties associated with early withdrawal, but I was about to be $10,000 richer (ha) WHO CARES. After all was said and signed I walked out of Wells Fargo a little less stressed because at least now I could pay my rent.
I’d love to tell you all I only used the money for one month’s rent and got a job the next week then afterwards I very responsibly put the money back into a savings account or paid off some student loans. I didn’t though, so I won’t say that because it’d be a lie. Instead, I decided I needed to go to California for the first time in my life. I deserved to take time off work and spend the week in California by myself. So, I did that exactly, booked a flight, hotels in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, built an itinerary and off I went. California is where my now-husband Leo had been stationed, so when I planned the trip I let him know I’d be there. We were just friends at the time (with a long history), but he was always a good friend and the only person I knew in California anyway.
The day after I landed he literally had just financed his first vehicle. This month was full of bad financial decisions that would haunt us into 2018. He drove up to Los Angeles from Camp Pendleton that evening, and we had a wonderful (friendly) time. We saw Furious 7 at the Chinese Theatre that night then we went to Disneyland the next morning. Leo ended up leaving on Sunday to get back to base, so I spent the rest of that week by myself exploring the city via Uber. Ironically the next week Leo took military leave with no plans to go back home. I had just finished spending a week of exploring by myself and now Leo had a week off. Well of course, since I had just recently become a millionaire and wanted more time with both Leo and California, I decided to cancel my flight and extend my stay.
That week was definitely the best decision I ever made in the history of 25 years of me. But, I blew $10,000 and I couldn’t even tell you what it was on. I obviously had no sense of travel on a budget, but I could probably bet 80% of the money I withdrew went towards funding my two weeks in California. Could I have done it cheaper? Without a doubt, and I would never spend that much money on domestic travel ever again of course. That first week was great and I got the opportunity to be alone and just wander, but that second week… I did with no serious intentions, but it changed the course of my life. A week or so after I got back I started a new job in Times Square and things got real for Mr. Polanco and myself then by the end of that year I was living in California (yes, I moved on fast, not sorry). All in all, without making that decision to stay in California for an extra week I may not have married the best person in the universe and I’d never take that back for $10,000.
Disclaimer: I am not recommending you spend $10,000 in domestic travel in search of love (but hey maybe).
TL;DR: My grandmother funded my plane ticket to the loml from her heaven.
P.S.: Leo didn’t know about this until a couple years after and he was not very amused.