"there is nothing like the feeling of leaving / when the things that mean the most to you / shine like mirrors in the sun // except the feeling of returning / when the things you took for granted seem like diamonds / in the eyes of everyone"
my first instinct was pure self-preservation: no, no, let me explain. i start with the words "this has always been my struggle," but immediately the word struggle
makes me think of rwandan refugees or antebellum slaves, so there's the first humbling. we in this country rate our suffering on a scale of one to ten, i heard once. what we don't know is that the suffering goes to a hundred. regarless: by either of those scales, or any other, i've led a good life.
what i don't mean is to take that for granted. i am grateful for the blessings i've recieved and the opportunities i've been blessed with. the struggle i spoke of, such as it is, is this: i often feel guilty for what i have, but i feel as though i would be worse if i didn't take advantage of it. part of it is that my parents worked
for this money, for this life, to give their children what they didn't have. i wasn't born into privilege or wealth (though i also wasn't born into poverty). when i was born, my parents were working their way through college, living a college-student's life, and we lived a long time in the lower part of lower-middle class. and then eventually, my parents made the american dream, worked their asses off, started their own business, and their business did well. really well. and now we have money. and i feel like it would be disrespectful of the work my parents did not to take advantage of that when i can.
let me stop before i get any farther: you're right. absolutely, entirely, ego-shatteringly right. i was being completely, and thoughtlessly, selfish and rude. however. my parents aren't paying for this, and i'm not going to ask them to. but arizona doesn't even have a minimum wage law; waitresses usually get paid about two dollars an hour, and college students and retirees don't tip very well. so i'm pretty sure there's no way i'm going to save a thousand dollars during the month of january.
that said, i still don't have the right to ask anybody else to fund my dreams, especially when they're as indulgent and luxurious as that one.
for the past few days, i've been meditating on a version of the second major precept of buddhism: possess nothing that should belong to others.
this is a lot heavier than thou shalt not steal
, and it's making me want to run off to the mountains again. i'm unmaterialistic in a way that i think only a fincancially-secure hippie student can be: my things are just things to me. my car and my computer are really useful tools that i know cost a lot of money, but i don't have any particular attachment to them. that would probably be different if i'd paid for them myself, but in a way i hope not. money is a means to an end; it isn't anything in itself. but still, you're right. i need to start taking more responsibility for it myself, and make fucking sure i'm not
taking any of this for granted.
so thanks for the kick in the ass, guys. you've got me thinking about more than you know.