She works hard for the money

work in progress
work in progress

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I’ve spent the last week looking at stuff. Yes, stuff. I have been at the mall for two days straight, and not buying a thing (Except food and a replacement mouse, my third in 3 weeks). It’s been nagging at me, how much fun shopping can be. It is. The girl in me longs for shopping trips, walking around the mall like I used to for hours, calling it exercise, but actually checking out The Gap and Topshop for things to buy the next payday that comes along. It was fun. I was alone, but I felt freer being by myself. I could check out stuff as long as I want, go to the stores I wanted to, without apologizing for the time I was taking since it was all mine. (And the sizes I ask for, kept a secret between me and the salesperson, the tag could always be snipped off later hee)

But I digress. I’ve seen people (not the people I was with, coz they deserved that trip) throw away money on stuff they forget, not use, or break after a couple hours. And I think, the person I was with summed it up perfectly (and my mom says the same thing) in a sentence “Work, and you’ll find out the value of money.” It’s true. I’ve never realized how hard it really was to make money until I worked. Years of blowing my allowance on useless things that I admittedly didn’t really like, have turned into carefully looking at stuff, weighing if I really wanted it or not. Not that I’m short on money (on the contrary, I’m much more comfortable now, doing something I really like), but I know now, how hard it really is to make it. I work for a living, and I’m really lucky to be doing something that I really like, but not everyone has that luxury.

Some people are even luckier, and get everything they want, without even lifting a finger. During sleepless nights of work, and dreading waking up to a bunch of emails about tasks, I get a twinge of envy, yes, I’m only human. But if my parents ever taught me anything, it’s the value of making it on your own. Even when we were kids, we couldn’t point at stuff in the mall and just get it. We had to save our allowance for it. My parents provided all we needed, and sometimes gave us gifts all of a sudden, here and there, but the common rule was, if you wanted it, save for it. Very practical, these people. We never hurt for things, if anything, it taught us to really work for what we wanted.

As a kid, it was easy. We were doted on by relatives from the US and my grandma in the province, sending money almost every month “to buy whatever” or “to go out and celebrate” every little thing, every little achievement. It was a cool deal. Even if i was the worst at saving, I still got to buy what I wanted, thanks to those relatives.

I finished college and the privilege of being sent money by relatives I grew out of (well, some relatives still send a bit, to those who do thank youuu), deemed too old and should make money on my own. It was freeing, not having to ask for money from my parents, and actually helping out a little at home (key word is little, I’m not rolling in dough ye know).

It was also a little bit frustrating, being disciplined about money. I felt like an adult. (In any civilized society I do realize I’m considered one) But going through, I’m a bit better about it. I can actually buy the things I want, and still have a little bit left over to treat the family on food and go on dates.

I work. I bought all of the things I have, with the money I sweated for, bled for. Go on trips paid with the money I saved up. The proudest of which is spent on the people I love, making them happy with meals, or buy gifts that are just perfect, or take them to where they want to go.

I guess I’m glad, of my middle class life. I have enough to be a little carefree. I don’t have too much to just throw it away, to realize how good I have it. And I have to thank my parents, and God for providing me with the sense, the ability to make it.

I work hard for the money. And it makes me better for it.

A realistic optimist just trying to find her way.

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