as my day ends — “my day” because it’s my birthday — i take stock of my life, an aspect of it…
i am half-broke. broke a lot of times and unable to do things that require money to do or accomplish. can’t afford to buy a lot of things. can’t travel far. can’t enjoy many pleasures. but don’t pity me: i don’t believe that life consists in the abundance of materials things.
i am not poor by any means. yeah, poor compared to my rich friends who have a lot of money (millions and millions) and property. but not poor, compared to the homeless street urchin or the couples with little kids who live in pushcarts, residing anywhere they find safe shelter at, and feed off whatever convenient edible items they find rummaging in garbage dumps or on whatever kindness they receive from strangers.
i have not been too attracted to wealth. i never chased after wealth, and wealth never chased after me. i have a carefree attitude towards money. why? i am not sure. it may be genetic (born this way,) accidental (ended up this way,) environmental (grew up this way,) or religious (faith led me this way.)
i was born this way. no one can challenge that. i was born with the carefree gene. too carefree to care about anything (be it failure or success) at all — and money. it’s an empty void as dense as a black hole. doesn’t make life easy at all!
i may have become a carefree person as a result of a head injury i sustained when i was a year old. i remember everything around me visually spinning when i hit my forehead on the sharp corner of the glass-covered center table in our living room. something blacked out inside my frontal lobe. i was rushed, bleeding, to the ER — received so many stitches above my cracked right eyebrow. there is a hitman — a cold assassin — inside of me.
but growing up may have also taught me that happiness is not only achieved by having a lot of money, and whatever a lot of money can buy. yes, i learned that it could give you that happiness. but i also learned that it is not only money and the things money can buy that can give you happiness.
i learned that friends, the company of friends — the ones who aren’t bought with money, that is — are a genuine source of happiness for me. much more happiness than the things money can buy can give. in this regard i consider my friends much more valuable than money — losing friends is a greater loss to me than losing money. how much money can you price-tag a friend? and, of course, family — their love, and the happiness they give — that can never be replaced!
my faith in God has also taught me to trust in him despite appearances of hard times. it’s a divine catch-22: God tells me, “since you are content with little wealth, why should i give you more? i’d give you more faith instead, and just enough money.” and, in the divine economy in heaven, i learned that faith is more valuable than earthly wealth. but when there are people who depend on you for the things money can buy — the necessities of life — and when you owe people money… “God, give me more money, please! yes po, of course, i will work for it.”
as far as health is concerned, it always declines, never improves. when you hear your doctor say, “your health is improving!” or “you look better!” either you’re recovering from a stroke or a triple bypass operation, or he’s just commenting on the visible rejuvenating effects of stem-cell therapy or viagra on your general outlook in life. 50 somethings’ health is never improving, always declining.
i am 50 something.