Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Broke and Happy vs. Rich... and Happier?

Being broke is both a gift and a curse. Well, I guess it’s mostly a curse. Today I had a chance to experience first hand the curse of being broke. I stopped by the corner store after school. There I was, gathering some food, making my way to pay. I whipped out my bank card with confidence of that I was paid recently and therefore I have money. After 3 tries, I realized that I am still as broke as a hobo. I spent all my money in early October buying a present for a friend, and still my bank account is empty.
Originally the gift was going to be expensive for me, but not nearly as much as it turned out. I organized a big gathering with a whole bunch of people and I took pledges from them and they would give me the money later… not too great of a plan. Today I am still broke and a whole lot of people still owe me money. I can not really go and demand my money for to big reasons: it is not nice and I did not write down the names of the few people that paid me. My friends parents offered to cover any expenses that were too great from the gift, but that just is unacceptable. When you make a gift, you make a gift to the whole family and you can not have them pay for parts of their own gift. Hence, I will just have to burden the debt and hopefully 50 cents will get me by.
Normally I would not have a problem with being broke, but my dad is gone until the 14th. I will be out of food tomorrow: that means I need to survive for 5 days on 50 cents.
This raises a question: does money bring happiness? I am broke, and very happy that I gave my friend a good gift. However, I am also going to be hungry for the next 5 days and when I am hungry I am not happy. Also, if you think about it, its money that got the gift and money that made happiness in the first place.
I believe “money does not bring happiness” is a novel idea, but a misleading one. It implies that you can be broke and happy and I think that is very hard in the sort of society we live in. That being said, it does not mean that everyone should just clench their money. I have several friends who have lofty bank accounts to their name and they have no clue what do with them. Still they are scrawny in their spending and very conservative about their money. It might be the remains of my communist roots speaking, but I think that money hording is just wrong. I would understand if that was the basis of Capitalism and thus important to society. But money hording has no place in Capitalism. In Capitalism you float your capital value into all sort of investments, that is how net worth is made.
I do not understand the money horders, and I think I never will. I guess this new discovery has a big effect on the “Got to Love Your Work?” debate. The wind has now changed in favor of making money and then finding happiness. Hopefully, I will be able to make some sort of proper and meditated decisions and I hope that my lack of understanding when it comes to money horders will not damage my adulthood.

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