My biggest motivation for making money is being able to provide for and take care of my family/friends when needed. My parents immigrated to the US with an infant and a three year old, leaving behind a good life and their friends so that my sister and I could have a future. Growing up watching my parents struggle and sacrifice taught me the value of money and the importance of saving. But like many, excessive consumerism got the best of me.
Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, temporarily paralyzed and hospitalized for 37 days. Your priorities tend to change when you’re 25, and you have to teach yourself how to walk because your body has forgotten the motion, or you have to watch your hand perform simple, everyday tasks because you have little sensation or fine motor skills. When I got out of the hospital, I sold and donated as many of my possessions as I could; every few months I’ll go through my things and purge. What was the point of stuff sitting on shelves or hiding in drawers collecting dust? What did any of these things mean to me anyways?
I’ve recently become interested in the minimalism lifestyle. There are varying opinions on this type of living, and I’ve concluded that – at least for myself – I want to decrease my consumerism and be smart about what I chose to spend money on. I want my purchases to have purpose or a meaning to my life or others. To be clear, I don’t think there is anything wrong with material possessions. I’m not saying I’m never going to buy anything or that I won’t occassionally treat myself. However, I think that it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying more and more things unecessarily especially when one has the resources to do so. I recently bought a house, and I’m afraid I’ll collect stuff to fill the vast amounts of storage space I now have.
But I’m trying to remember how blessed I am with what I already have.
I am blessed to even own a home.
- Every year, millions of Americans are evicted from their homes, and 20% of renting families spend half of their income on housing that is often substandard.1
I am blessed to be able to feed myself and my family.
- There are 1.5 million families, including 3 million children, in this country who live on $2.00 a day per person.2 There is a lot of hunger for these families. It becomes very real when some of those families live within 2 miles of my job.
I am blessed to have a job.
- Loss of work is a primary risk factor for living on $2.00 a day.2
Too many people live without the the most basic of human needs. It’s important for me to live a life not of excess but of generosity. I hope I’ll continue to share my blessings with others and always be grateful.
1. Desmond, M. (2016). Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. NY: Crown Publishers.
2. Edin, K. J., & Shaefer, H. L. (2015). $2.00 a day: living on almost nothing in America. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.