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10 Hard Life Lessons Growing Up Teaches You

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Growing up often involves confronting hard life lessons that shape resilience, character, and perspective. Ultimately, the challenges faced during childhood can build a strong foundation for personal growth, resourcefulness, and the ability to handle future hardships with grace and strength.

1. Cheap Things Can Be More Expensive

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One of the things to learn as a poor person is that having little money makes you spend more on cheap, substandard products. It can also lead to exploitation. A member on the platform narrated a story about how he saved his gardener from being preyed on by a washing machine retailer. His gardener nearly paid $1300 for a machine that cost $300 because he didn’t know better and thought he was getting a good deal. When the gardener showed the contract to the member, the member got angry at the exploitation and posted it on social media. The post went viral, forcing the retailer to return the money.

2. Your Account Balance Can Determine Your Preferences

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Having little money can make you adjust to any situation, no matter how bad. The stories you tell about yourself also change too. On the platform, a member talked about changing how she viewed things whenever she could no longer afford them. When she stopped taking music classes as a kid because she was tired of asking for extended due dates for paying the fees, she just told herself that she didn’t like practicing. When her roommate asked her to share a cab, she said she preferred walking back home.

3. It Is Expensive To Crawl Out of the Poorhouse

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A user talked about how she kept sinking into more and more problems when she was poor, so much so that it became harder to ever come out. Since her car was repossessed, it meant she could only qualify for high-interest loans. Poor credit meant she had to pay over $150 a month for PLPD insurance. To pay for utilities, they had to make down payments. There was no internet, so it was difficult to look for a job. Even getting access to health insurance and toilet paper was a big deal.

4. Keeping Things for Later

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Growing up poor might make a person always want to reserve things like clothes for more important occasions. A user shared a story of when she was helping her mom clean out her grandma’s bed after her passing. She found two boxes under her grandma’s mattress. One contained a shirt the user had bought for her from her first salary. Grandma appreciated the gift but never wore the cloth because she was reserving it for an important occasion. Now she couldn’t wear it again.

5. Socks!

Poor kids being happy
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A commenter shared a story about when she was a kid going to gym class. They had to sit cross-legged on the floor while their “attire” was being evaluated. Her good friend always gave her one sock and kept the other. Then they’d cross their feet so the naked foot wouldn’t show. This story demonstrates how poor people can lack access to little things, and good friends help make life easier.

6. Compassion Can Be Found Among the Lowly People

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In this story shared by a user, children that she tutored always went out to buy snacks from a snack truck that often arrived outside the facility. They were children of incarcerated parents in Los Angeles, so they had little money. Sometimes, they’d ask her for money, but she always told them she didn’t have any since giving them can lead to problems. One day, she went outside to stand with them as they bought snacks, and they all came up and gave her some change they had contributed so she could buy snacks, too. They thought she didn’t actually have any money.

7. Plastic Bread Bags Are Useful

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One user said that as a poor person, he would wear shoes until they had holes in them because he didn’t have money to buy new ones. Then he’d wear socks, put plastic bread bags over the socks, then put his shoes on. The plastic bags would keep his feet from getting wet, and the shoes would keep the bag from tearing.

8. Food Is All You Think About

Homeless poor woman
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A user shared an experience about a relatively brief time in her early 20s when she had no money and all she could think about was where her next meal would come from. It was the only thought that consumed her mind.

Of all the nice intellectual pastimes and philosophy and culture books she’d read, none meant anything. She’d go visiting a friend and while making small talk, would wonder if they were going to offer cake or something to eat with the coffee.

9. Smaller Bills Evaporate Faster

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A nugget someone shares on the platform is that they’ve learned from growing up poor that money evaporates, and smaller bills evaporate faster. So you shouldn’t break a $20 into a ten. Even though that is still $20 in total, you’d spend it faster.

10. Dread

Poor sad child
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If you’ve survived poverty as a child, according to one user, one thing that can be hard to overcome is dread. The amount of fear that has to be negotiated every day is enormous. You’re constantly on guard because you think someone is out to get you. You’re also always afraid of returning to that time when you barely had anything to eat. The trauma can last for a long time and be the motivation behind so many of the decisions you make, even the unconscious ones.

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