The 54th Deadline: Whether you love it or hate it, money definitely defines what you can do.
Hi there. I hope the winter season has been going well for you guys. Around here, it’s been a basically low-snow winter because the rain keeps washing it away. I don’t really want to deal with driving in the snow, so I have my fingers crossed any snow comes in limited, manageable quantities.
But yeah, I guess the topic of money has made its way up, and it’s something I can’t keep ignoring. And who can blame me? Money is very important from the start you are born in this world.
After all, money defines what kind of life you will have.
And before we go into the shallow implications of what money can entail, it’s key to realize that money is like a measure of progress, so to speak. My parents are both immigrants who came here from Vietnam to seek a better life. When it came time for them to work minimum wage/low-paying jobs, they took them without a second thought.
It was really hard at the beginning. It was beyond difficult, but my parents managed to stick through it all, and from that they tried (in their eyes) to give my two younger brothers and myself the best lives they could do with what they could earn.
Mind you, I will admit our lives were not luxurious. We didn’t have cable the whole time I was growing up.
We rarely went on real vacations, so this meant no trips to Disneyland or anything of that sort. An idea of a big trip was driving across the state to see grandma. And that was basically it, in a nutshell.
My brothers and I rarely got a lot of cool stuff compared to the other kids. My parents could seldom splurge for toys or even video games outside of a special occasion.
The list goes on, but my family was leaning toward being middle class or maybe even a tier below that, if only a little.
Still, I can say with complete honesty that life wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t fancy or something to brag about, but it was my life. Nothing too spectacular, but it was my life.
In my current state, I have learned a lot about how I am when it comes to managing my funds. In short, I am awful at it.
I really need to budget better, but by that I mean I need to start setting aside my paycheck and paying things accordingly versus just doing it sporadically.
For instance, let’s say I need food in my refrigerator. Instead of making one efficient trip to the grocery store to last me the whole week and then some, I find myself taking frequent trips and spending chunks of $20+ at a time.
Obviously, this isn’t how I should do it. What can I say? I was spoiled at one point when I was falling apart and just trying to figure out life.
When you are living at home rent-free and not having to worry about the grocery bill, you just overlook how much everything really costs to feed your own belly.
Part of it comes from me not having a stove, so I need to buy the microwaveable crap that tastes subpar, but it’s quick and easy. As an aspiring chef, I would rather just try to cook my own meals. I would be able to practice cooking and make food that is enjoyable for my taste buds.
But alas, this is the nature of my standing in life and a gauge of (or lack of, depending on how you look at it) stability.
It’s such an important word for someone like me. A year ago on this same day, I was unemployed and on food stamps.
Spending the winter freezing my butt off, hoping someone from a job place would call me on my slide phone (yes, it took me a long time before I finally got a smartphone) and trying to live off of food bought through food stamps was a grueling time for me.
An embarrassing time, but it was equally eye-opening. The whole situation/ordeal taught me that I did not want to live like that for the rest of my life.
I did not want to be financially vulnerable. Granted, I am completely aware I was far from homeless. I was far the point of needing to go beg for money on the streets (I hate those people who hold those signs with their sob stories, by the way) and I was definitely far from being in true danger of losing it all.
Regardless, it made me think.
I was once a naive college grad who thought the world owed me something. I was a punk. I was too entitled. I was a brat to think the world owed me even one damn thing.
I have to go earn it. And I intend to.
I don’t want people to bombard me with sympathy anymore. I have been through my tough times, and now I want to focus on the future.
So yes, I am a guy who is working a wage-slave job. I work in a restaurant as a cook. I enjoy it, but I want to own my own place someday.
And between that time, I want to show others what I am truly capable of as an individual.
I want to prove everyone wrong.
I want to prove my college wrong.
I want to prove all who abandoned me wrong.
More importantly, I want to prove to MYSELF that I have always had it in me.
And the payoff for all of this? Well, literally, I want to have stability in life.
Not necessarily through money. Heck, if I ever become super rich one day, it would be a pleasant surprise. I guess I really want the sense of stability of not needing to live week-to-week and check-to-check.
I want stability in knowing I can do what I want and when I want to because I have earned it. And of course, money would definitely be a real helpful thing to have.
I just feel like I have lived my life for a long time just being kind of stuck because money has limited all I have wanted to do.
There are so many possibilities. I may sound like a hardcore capitalist, and that’s because I am. I believe in the power of money.
In the meantime, it’s cold nights just hanging out with my cat, Mango, until I can get my act together.
“RTN!” – Nhan Fiction