They say that having all the money in the world will not make you happy. And I believe that to be true.
It is like an inverse relationship, of wealth and happiness. The less you have, the lighter your problems are, the easier it is for you to find joy in the simplest things. But still, a lot of people would constantly strive to become financially better off. I guess it is human instinct. If you were not born with a lot, then you would naturally dream of having more, be it for yourself or for your loved ones.
As for me, I was born in a small town, in a quiet laidback province, in a small less-developed country. There is nothing special about my family, or the simple clan that I was from. But I always have this one peculiar characteristic even when I was still a small boy. I have always liked to learn. And I have always liked to read, to know more about the world. I never had siblings, so I grew up having books as my friends.
I would read all the books we had in the house, and when I was done I would read them again. I did not spare one book, not even this small booklet about medicinal plants and their scientific names. When I was helping my mother that time when she had to go back to selling fish in the wet market, I would sneak out and use the coins I earn from selling plastic bags to market-goers to rent these local comics. I would spend few hours reading about fantasy, and underworld creatures from Philippine folklore. I would read about love stories, between an heiress and her bodyguard. I would finish all sorts of pulp fiction I could get my hands on. I would borrow our neighbor’s only two copies of Archie comics, and I would read them over and over. And then my mother would borrow encyclopedia from our wealthy neighbor, and I would finish two volumes every week. I remember being amazed about dinosaurs, and animals, and Mata Hari, and Greek mythology, and astronomy, and the different biomes of the world. But then… but then I wanted more.
So I got into this premier high school via a scholarship grant. And I remember not only studying and having fun with most of the greatest minds I have met in my life, but also spending lots of time in the library. Especially on the third floor, where not a lot of people would go. I like it there because it’s very quiet, and, it houses this big big collection of National Geographic magazines. I was always at bliss when I travel through the pages. But then I wanted more.
So I got into a university, famous in my country for having the most radical minds. There, I met various kinds of people from all walks of life. I met provincial lads and lasses who were also struggling to maintain grades to keep the scholarship. I met the rich kids who would turn heads with their cars and their pristine sense of fashion. I met artists of all sorts who can easily communicate what’s in their soul. I met light, and darkness, and love, and passion. And then I met my own soul. I did not expect I would find it in that dreamy time and setting. The whole experience made me feel complete. But then I wanted more.
So I worked in the metropolis, for the biggest names in my industry. I earned enough to have to experience splendid dinners, grazed white beaches, trodden bigger cities in the region, held the latest technology, and lived different cultures even those far from my own country’s, which I thought I would have only read about in the encyclopedia. I had a stable lifestyle, but then I wanted more.
I want to see the rest of the world. I want to give my parents a much-deserved comfortable retirement. I want to take them to places and have them see the expanse that I have seen. I want to send my relatives to school. I want to buy lands, and houses, and make companies where my less-privileged cousins could work, and earn enough. I want to take all the people that have mattered to me to sumptuous dinners, and extravagant gatherings, and recall funny stories about the past. I want to have lots and lots of money so that I can do all these. And then when I am done, I will do what I have always dreamed of doing since I was a boy, to become a teacher. I will teach kids about the most complex bodies of knowledge that I have gained, and hope that they could use it for their own lives. I will share with them my story, about how I have sailed all the corners of the world and back. I will teach them that no matter how small you were, no matter how far-flung your origins are, no matter how unfortunate your odds were when you were born, you can make a difference.
And then when I have nothing left to do, I will stop, and just let the world be. I will retreat and take a rest in the little house on a prairie that I have built. That is where I would enjoy my quiet, and reminisce about the life that I have not failed to live.
Oh yes, I am ambitious. And I do not even see that as a weakness. I know I have the biggest dreams I could imagine, and I know that I have to pass through a needle’s eye to achieve all of it.
That is why few months ago, illogical as it may sound, I quit my well-paying job, where I have met the finest office colleagues you could ever wish for. I bade a quick farewell to my loved ones and came here to this strange city where no one knows my name. I enrolled in yet another Master’s program, hoping that this will be the key to realizing my ambitions. But as days pass, I realize that I wasn’t getting any nearer. In fact, I have been learning about how small the eye of the needle actually is.
And each day my heart becomes broken to see on the web how everyone else’s worlds have continued to revolve, while mine just, uhm, seem to be stuck. Here in this small room, which is the only one I could afford to rent. Alone. Scared. Uncertain about the future.
They say that having all the money in the world will not make you happy. Well, I must be near. Because from the looks of it things are definitely becoming extra desolate.