I am not rich but I wasn’t born poor either. You can say I was born below middle class with my mom working for the government while my dad, after a couple of stints in the world of sales and marketing here and abroad, chose to stay home and take care of the family instead. It was quite a struggle growing up especially when I had people around me (in our little compound and in school) who were living quite a good life. I remember having feelings of envy, depravity and scarcity, sometimes with not enough food to eat and no money to pay for the things I needed in school. Thank God for my scholarship all throughout my school years, at least my tuition fee has always been paid for.
During times of so much wanting and desire for good food and material things, I’d turn to books in our school library (fiction, science-fiction, novels and encyclopedias). I’d read about adventures, architecture, cooking good food, astronomy and the universe because they make me feel less deprived and they help me forget about the fact that I haven’t even eaten anything yet that day. When severe hunger strikes, I’d pick up empty soft drink bottles as an eight year old kid in our school canteen so I can exchange them for money and I can buy myself some chocolate, which, I won’t immediately eat despite my hunger, because I’d want to revel in the fact that I have a chocolate for a few more days.
As early as my elementary years, I told myself that the only way out of this seeming poverty I was experiencing then was to study hard and finish school so I can get a good job and get paid well so I can then buy all the things I want and need, including helping my family as much as I can. Never again must I go hungry. So that’s what I did until I graduated at the age of 21, climbed the corporate ladder and retired early. And the poverty I then experienced growing up, in times of relative abundance, feels like a distant memory now. But I never forget. Which is why, as much as I can, I budget my life well — my time, my resources, my energy, my blessings — so I’ll never feel deprived again.
I’m still not rich, but I no longer feel poor. I may not have all the material things in the world, but I have everything I want and need right here with me. It amazes me when I catch myself thinking over and over again “Thank you, God. Thank you, universe. Thank you for everything.” I have a partner who loves me deeply no matter what; We have a beautiful, lively, smart, healthy baby boy who is the greatest miracle of our lives; We live in a house that feels like we’re in a mini nature hotel every single day; We get to travel to exciting places when the mood strikes; We get to cook, prepare and eat good food that we only thought was possible when we go to nice restaurants; I get to buy and read the books I want; I get to decide how I want to spend my time… We just feel really blessed.
I guess it’s this feeling of gratitude that makes us attract more things and situations we get to be thankful about. And again, for this feeling of gratitude, I say thank you. It’s just a never-ending loop of feeling grateful. So God, thank you! (See? It’s really never-ending!)