Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Benjamin


It's Wednesday, the middle of the week, hump day, as they say. And all I can think about is that I get paid on Friday.

It's so true that humans seek balance in life but once they achieve it, things feel a little too perfect, too quiet, so they have to shake things up, or find something else to worry about. That's why rich people worry about such petty, juvenile things - because all their "real problems" fail to exist, smoothed out by hoards of the heaven on earth blessing: money. I think I've reached a comfortable point of stability - something that I've yearned for since I stepped foot in this crazy little city. I have an apartment that I adore so much it rivals the love I have for myself, and a job that pays the bills and is reasonably easy and stress-free. But of course, me being me, I always want more. I'm always thinking ahead, trying to figure out how to attack the next hurdle, plotting, putting the pieces together for my potential future.

So of course, I've got money on the mind. Money, or the lack of, is what has kept me stagnant. I'm a creative person, an artist, but starving is not what's up. Past laziness and negativity also contributed to my standstill, there was a point in time where I wished money would just drop out of the sky and save me from my broke peril. How silly of me to think that anyone owed me anything. Now I know you're probably thinking, "You want more money? Yeah, you and everyone else." But I'm the kind of person who, if I won the lottery tomorrow, would know exactly what to do with those funds. I'm a planner you see - I know that you need money to make money for one. And I certainly know what I plan to do with the extra money that I will make.

I've been in the city for three years now, it's about time me and Benjamin get close. Mama needs to go to Miami this winter!

I want to pay off my debt - to me it's a mark of being successful. It's also very important to me because I'm innately independent and I want to feel like I owe no one, and what's mine is mine. You are only worth what you have minus what you owe others. I want to own a home one day, and I don't want the debt to work against me in that scenario. I don't want to be the primary adversary against my personal success. I want to own a business. I want to be able to put money into my personal projects, and watch them blossom and soar into something spectacular. I want to eat new foods and try new things and see new places. I want to treat my loved ones and myself to the finest. I want to be able to say no to people, simply because I can afford it myself.

I went to the OB-GYN yesterday - my doctor is a sincerely sweet and chubby Asian woman in her early to mid thirties. As she was reviewing my paperwork, she noted my age. "I would never want to be 22 again... all that uncertainty." I nodded and she continued, "If I could be your age, with the knowledge I have now..." her voice trailed off. I remember thinking, "If I could have your money, at the age I am now..." I could work miracles.

We all have unique challenges in our 20s, we're either dating or finding ourselves, or finishing school or trying to decide on a career or surviving on ramen noodles for weeks in a row or fighting with roommates. My biggest beef with the 20s is the lack of money. I didn't go through a lot of the other "normal" things teenagers or young adults go through, in fact I opted out of most of the experiences [prom etc]. I think being an old soul, I just feel like my mind is beyond all that. I want the home, I want the stability, I want the fridge full of yummy food, I want the few thousand stashed away for emergencies, I want the vacations to Paris with my friends and nice things to wear on my feet and around my neck.

According to The Science of Getting Rich, I shouldn't even be talking about the lack of anything in my life. But avoiding that is avoiding reality. I can still be honest with myself, and still know that this too shall pass. It will pass because one day I'll be so successful... I'll be so successful that one day I can credit BLUESHAME as being just the beginning...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Janitor

Sunday evening, I am at work typing away and someone sneaks in behind me. He is cleaning.

Soon he makes his way to my area and he is still mopping and vigorously scrubbing dirt away. I observe that he is skilled, as skilled as a floor mopper/scrubber can possibly be.

We make small talk and soon he knows what I make hourly, my schedule, and that we are of the same ethnic background.

He is 26 years old, with a smooth, young face, and symmetrical features. If only he were a bit taller, he'd be head-turning. He has been in New York City for two years and doesn't yet know the language. He says he has all the time in the world to do that. I wonder how he expects to get ahead.

He leaves and brings me back a cup brimming with ice and coca-cola, complete with a grin. The cup is not as clean as one I'd pick out, but I still thank him kindly as I think "It's always the people who have nothing who are the most generous."

He asks me if I'm married and/or have kids, I shake my head no. He asks me what I'm waiting for? I try not to roll my eyes too far into the back of my head while answering that I'm far too young, and I have my whole life for that. He in turn shares that he is married, with two young children of his own. He tells me that his wife is a manager at Wendy's - and that if I like burgers, he can bring me one. He seems happy with his life. As happy as a janitor and married father could be. I marvel at the fact that what easily satisfies him, could never satiate me.

We could have easily judged one another, gone our separate ways with our noses in the air; but instead we focused on what we shared. Our culture, our love of the city, our dreams.

And in the end, I got a new perspective, and an invite to his home in the Bronx, to attend his son's 1st birthday party.