BROKE IS THE NEW BLACK - How the Millennials Are Eating Pancit Canton Our Way to the Top

How the Millennials Are Eating Pancit Canton Our Way to the Top
At 20, we all wish we are living a glamorous Dolce & Gabbana life.

These days broke is the new black. It started in college. There, we were taught to love free stuff. Even things we hated, we loved because we got it for exactly zero fortune. I have my favorite Hello Kitty sleepwear that I got for free during my freshmen year, without even fill-out the survey initially required to obtain it. Whoever said nothing in life comes free had never met Generation Millennial. We could have it all - and have it all for cheaper.

Broke is the new black

Upon graduating, it became increasingly clear that the girls of Girls (a TV series) aren't messing around. Being a 20-something means, aside from the nudity, that we're destined for a life of underpaid, almost indentured, servitude while trying to "find ourselves" in the years immediately following our college experience. For a generation that our parents call apathetic, smug, and entitled, I wonder if people understand the work that goes into being a postgraduate right now. This isn't a woe-is-me moment; this is just how it is. The job market is shit. If you can get a job, you're probably not getting paid very much. This is fine because many of us, myself included, understand that we have to pay our dues. But for those of us trying to make it in the CITY, you know that most of your work hours translate into a rent check that makes you want to weep while you write it. Oh, Apartment Rent, Carrie Bradshaw never told me what cruel bedfellow you were.

Among friends it's no longer a competition of who has the most expensive clothes - it's who has the most expensive clothes and got them at the best bargain. You paid 50Php  (approx. $1.25) for that shirt when it was originally 800Php (approx.$20)? It is now instantly cuter - and has street cred. It was a bargain purchase. It's broken-chic. we're young and struggling and most likely living off of ramen noodles - anything goes if we can get it at a steal. This doesn't just apply to girls either. Sure, bargain shopping the Forever 21/Banana Republic/American Apparel Warehouse Sales, (and ukay-ukay meccas!) is every post-grad gal's dirty secret to looking yo-pro appropriate in the office, but boys hunt bargains just like we do. And they talk about their money problems just as much, too.

Broke is the new black
photo excerpt from Myla Upshaw 

Overheard at Makati City brunch, my friend and I muse about #20something-problems: "I live in a shoebox apartment, but I have a new 70-inch plasma TV," he says. Or, "I have 500Php in my bank account, but I need my unlimited iPhone plan." yes, this is the way of the world now. The irony.

But while having these problems makes us sound like brats, the truth of it is we're really all just Liz Lemoning our way through life, hoping that at the bottom of each bowl of noodles we'll be one slurp closer to "having it all." We're still the same generation that grew up believing we could change the world. And we can. Our generation is capable of a lot, but that we’re also not living up to our full potential. And yes, we Millennials may be prone to the downfalls called “the hyperbole generation.” But just because we say that everything is “the worst” doesn't mean that we are too. We’re broke, we’re struggling, we’re building character, and we’re the perfect mix of naive and ambitious who still believe we can make a difference.

And while we’re broke, struggling, and building character, we want our friends to know about it. It has become a bragging right to say you've suffered so you can have the cool PR job that underpays you for all your overtime hours, or the digi-journalist job that lets you write what you love but doesn't afford you the same comforts you could had if only you just took that one business class in college and went into finance upon graduating. The liberal arts bleeding hearts are suffering, but we’re making it sound glamorous – somehow. Ramen noodles (or for us Filipinos - pancit canton) aren't just a punch line; most of us are subsisting off them. But when we make it - really make it - that's just going to make that big, juicy, steak taste even better.

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  1. I love this post! very well said :-)

  2. A good read. It's only until I really started living on my own that I've realized how shitty I've been living and I've been spending more than I can afford. Now I have decided to take that fulltime job in Pampanga with no traffic, lower rent (but bigger house definitely), with tons of benefits rather than a minimum wage in the sparkling city of Makati. I've managed to finally have an investment, cut off the expenses (no more regular mani/pedi or expensive laser and facial treatments), and set priorities for my future. It took me like 5 years to realize how I should really be spending money and what really matters.

    I couldn't believe how some people I know kept posting travel and party photos yet end up borrowing money from me even just to make ends meet. LOL


  3. OMG. Speaks all the uncomfortable truths not everyone dares say on social media! #relate


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