Clean

My Moneyless Journey

 

It would be fair to say that i was always broke, and to add to that I was always unlucky with the ladies, but  my money-less journey began a few years before writing this book.  It was when I realized that I had enough of the consumerist system and that I needed to make some changes with my life.   It started when I bought myself a kindle ( it’s a really good deal, don’t get me wrong ) but i realized what the hell was I doing with a tablet when i already have both a laptop and a desktop.  It was when one of my little devil cousin who is the cutest munchkin by the way, dropped my tablet from the upper floor of the house and smashed it went. I was  quite devastated but later on realized that i was not happy nor was i satisfied or feel at all accomplished of what i have achieved on the basis on my materialistic goals in the first place.  That “gadget” was not worth  the un-happiness that I  had to endure.

 

But most of the people in our society associates security with having plenty of stuff.  Security can mean plenty of things to anyone, and it usually depends on the circumstance that a person is in. In today’s society, I thought that ”security” meant “monetary” security.  But I was wrong.  It took a long time to realize that money was not the answer for me.  As I have mentioned in the previous chapters that I was able to realize that I was way more happier when I was in my teens with not much security to my name.  I realized that relationship with friends and loved ones carried more weight in happiness towards my life than any materialistic or monetary success.  I value more having a secure relationship with my family and friends.

Lets go back in time

 

It occurred to one day how really complex and stressful my life has become.  There have been plenty of bills piling up in my living room table and I felt actually trapped by all of this.  Before judging my monetary recklessness, I want to be clear that ninety percent of my debt were acquired during my college days.  God bless those catholic schools and their outrageous tuition fees.  So again, I feel trapped which actually is more like suffocation and getting drowned in my own ocean of debt.  It feels as if I had become a slaves of my own debt making sure everything is paid  off month after month.   I have a couple of credit from Citibank and capital one that had about more than 5 k each.  And a student loan in which I was paying monthly installments on that totalled approximately 13 k.  At that time I had a job in a non profit working with kids with mental and physical disabilities.

 

At first, I was only working part time, but to add  injury to insult of getting paid really low wages,  I also did not qualify for any benefits at all.  Since i was paying taxes even with the very low wage that I earned I thought that maybe I can avail to some of the government programs that I helped paid for in the first place.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to qualify since my monthly stub was a few more dollars to what is considered the poverty level.  Just like there are loopholes for the rich for their tax break, so does people in the bottom.  Everyone has their own ways of manipulating the system.  But my catholic guilt self don’t want to risk going to hell eh…  so I tried my hardest to stay in shape and become healthy without any government help on health insurance.

Pay of the debt

 

Even though my job did not really paid much at all and barely pays for rent and groceries for me every month, I felt very satisfied with I was doing ( although mom was not really proud of this feat ).   It was a very rewarding job since I was able to help families and advocate for their needs and the needs of their children.  There became a really close relationship between me and the families to the point that until now, most of these family member stay in contact with me and still invites me to important family gatherings that they have. I became a part of the family for most of these families even years after working with them and their children.  Although my income was almost close to non existent.  I was still able to save up a good chunk every month.  My plan was to first focus on paying of the debt that I accumulated.  Instead of paying the minimum amounts, I doubled and sometimes even tripled the amount.  The vicious cycle of paying off my debt  became an obsession and had me by the throat, until I was able to pay off almost everything in about three years.  My mindset evolved around the idea that as long as I am healthy and sustainable I would be able to survive a very low lifestyle as long as I tackled my debt first.

Humility

 

It is without a doubt a true statement that a person’s character is a shadow and a  result of the way they were raised as a child.  I noticed that People coming from a more cultural close knit family usually are more mindful and humble about life.  Living close to poverty enables a person to build more character. Living in the east coast during the time of the super-storm sandy brought resilience in my character that I never had before.  A few houses down the road there was a house in which a huge tree fell on, and got several of the family members sent into the hospital for serious injuries.  It was all over the local news in my town.  Soon after this incident, everyone in my street decided to have fundraising in order to help the family. Everybody in my small knit community helped  to make it happen.  I realized soon after that how relationships are a very important thing that a person should cherish and is truly sacred. There is always something about the human spirit after experiencing something close to death that gave me a renewed sense of life and a sense of empowerment on my own struggles.

It is very important to understand that we share the same basic emotional needs such as love, belonging and compassion but at the same time we can also be very vulnerable.  When Mother Nature speaks it can speak loud or it can speak softly.  Understand the  One path leads to demoralization but another path leads to strength in character which leads to mental and emotional mastery.  As I spoke to the mother who has both her husband and son in the hospital due to the serious injuries that they sustain from the tree that fell in their house.  I see inner strength and a fighter in her eyes, she was an optimist and that is her biggest asset and her key to returning back to a normal life after such a horrific tragedy.

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