I’m a child compared to my friends.
I am 31 years old, never owned a car and never owned a home, and don’t have children. I live in the cheapest apartment I’ve ever lived in my life, with my wife and cat. Logistically-speaking, my life is exactly the same as it was when I was 21 years old. My wife is in the same boat – her job is the same type she’s had since her 20s, and her friends are the same ones since she first moved to NYC (with a few exceptions).
My friends, on the other hand, have families, own cars and homes, and are experiencing the headaches and joys of all those things. I get that “owning stuff” does not make you a better person, or that having more kids around doesn’t provide deeper wisdom – people who are jerks still are jerks, just with more kids. That said, I think there’s a fundamental change when you alter your environment.
But frankly, it’s very hard to alter one’s environment in New York City. Rents are high, and get higher every year. Even if your job allowed you to get more money, what exactly does that get you? A slightly bigger apartment maybe, and the ability to eat out a bit more.
Or visit your other friends who seem to be progressing rather quickly into their lives while you’re still relating to college students with their first jobs.