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Duration:04:43
Uploaded:2022-11-17
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Through bi-weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video by Grace Lee
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https://twitter.com/whatssograce

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If you're a single girl and the type of person who puts everything into friendships and values those few close-knit relationships, you understand how important those people are. I've been fortunate enough to have kept the same group of best friends around a decade. And we are inseparable.

But as we enter our late 20s, we all now have different careers and schedules. A few are in relationships and a few are married and even expecting babies. Different relationship statuses never made me bat an eye, until recently.

As someone currently single and OK with this, it can be a transition when close friends begin to move into a very different stage of life. The good thing about good friends is that we love celebrating each other's respective milestones. Nonetheless, changes change, even when it's not your own.

And it's helped me learn some really valuable insights about myself. Here are some life lessons I've learned as the only single person in my friend group. Number one, it's OK to have different values.

Something that I love about my friends is that, while we share similar interests, we are so beautifully different. Our jobs, talents, or favorite TV shows aren't the only things that set us apart. We also have different goals for ourselves in our 20s.

For a few of my friends, fulfilling these dreams means getting married and starting a family. While that's something I hope to do someday, it has not yet been a priority. At 28 years old, with my first two friends pregnant and others in committed relationships, I am learning that it's important to celebrate my priorities too.

For me, investing in friendships, learning about myself, and striving to succeed in my career are what fills my cup for now. The cool part? There's no right or wrong.

It's OK to value these things independently. And it's OK to value these things with another person. And it's also OK to have these priorities shift when you do start a family.

Our different priorities mean that we can't attend every girls' night, but there is still so much we can learn from each other. Number two, our financial situations are our own. I'm a renter and probably will be for the next couple of years.

A few of my friends are homeowners. It's easy to play the comparison game. But it only took me two decades to realize that this game is always lose-lose.

When comparing myself to my friends who have higher paying jobs or the support of two household incomes, it's easy to get down about not having more in my bank account. But when I look at my spending habits and savings accounts compared to my early 20s, I am reminded of how far I've come and how quickly I'm growing. Remember those different priorities we discussed?

The things you value also impact where your money is going. As my friends bring their sweet kids into the world, their budget will undoubtedly change. Living on my own, I'm only supporting myself and my cat, further proof that not all budgets are created equal.

Number three, I am not alone. My best friend's relationship milestones are something that I genuinely love to celebrate. Seriously.

All of their significant others are vital additions to our extended friend group. Occasionally, despite being in my singleness, I do fall prey to asking myself one very nasty question. Am I behind?

Thanks to society and the power of a good '90s rom-com, it's easy to dig yourself into this hole. The ironic part is that I'm not asking myself this question, because I feel I haven't accomplished personal goals. It's just because I'm surrounded by friends who do different things.

While it's not a feeling I have often I have learned that a change in perspective is vital when my mind begins to spew lies at me. No, I am not falling behind in life, nor am I the only single person in the world. In fact, I know that there are thousands of single people in their 20s and 30s in my city alone.

And if more of my girlfriends were where I am, I'd feel differently. The solution? Go to a happy hour with a single friend.

Talk about work and the trip you're planning and the book you've finished. While I wouldn't trade my girlfriends for the world, I am learning that there is merit in expanding your circle to others in the same life stage as you. Number four, my milestones matter too.

Let's begin with a caveat. I don't think my friends discount my accomplishment. But I think sometimes I discount my accomplishments.

When your friends are literally in the process of creating a human being, it can feel trivial to share that you've finally finished your reread of an intensely long book series. Of course, there is no real comparison between the two things, but it's OK to feel proud of your personal accomplishments. Publishing your writing, getting rave reviews from your boss, or cooking a new meal might not be long-lasting successes, but they might be the best part of your week or month and that counts for something.

Such a big aspect of solid friendships is sharing the little things. And it's a special bond when you can find people to celebrate these things with you. The best part about best friends is that we have built-in people to cheer us on for victories both big and small.

Our victories might start to look different for a little while, but one thing remains the same. It's worth popping open the bottle of champagne with your girlfriends.