Grasping At the Word “Fortunate”

My friends have all told me at one point, I have an inability to fully grasp how fortunate I have it. They’re completely right. My mindset has always been “everyone has it better than me” and it hasn’t changed in years. I find it alarming when I hear a co-worker, friend, or someone I see tell me they have issues paying for gas, food, rent, bills, etc. The necessities of living. I know everyone’s living situation is different and I’m not one to judge. Far from it actually. I never think I’m better than the next person over. We are all people of this Earth and are therefore equal. Our fates are the same after all.

Back in my senior year of college, my roommate during the summer, called me to say she didn’t have money to eat. She asked if she could borrow a couple hundred. Without a second thought, I said yes and she was over the same day. I withdrew an extra hundred and handed it her. She was completely overwhelmed and repeated she would pay me back soon. I didn’t even care to be honest. If she needed it urgently and I had the means to help, I could never really asked her to pay me back by a certain date. I told her not to worry about it and just rest a little easier. She left me one huge (and long) hug and a kiss on the cheek. You can say this was my good deed for the year.

This month alone, I spent a few Gs without a worry or concern. My $1000 bill to fix my car? It didn’t bother me the slightest. Fixing both the rear struts on my car? I had my car at the mechanic the next day. My new stereo and speakers? Had it done the same weekend. If I had a comprehensive list of the amount I spend on the necessities, it would probably be long and shocking to some. It hasn’t registered that I am that fortunate.

My friend and I are in downtown LA about every weekend. You see the disconnect between neighboring cities and now quickly the landscape changes from the haves and have nots. There are homeless people on the sidewalks in their tents who literally have nothing to their name. It does bother me. It bothered me as a kid and it still does. They were at one point someone’s baby and child. What happened is only known to them and each person has their own story yet to be told. If I had all the money in the world, I would do something about it and fast.

Someone told me “I give and give and expect nothing in return” and it’s stuck in my head ever since. I’m not so sure how to respond to that, but I’d take it as a complement. A few months ago, I sent my best friend several hundred for a plane ticket just so he can go to a concert with the guys. I wasn’t even joining them. Truthfully, if he needed several thousand, I would have sent it to him regardless. His mom gave me a ride back from from the airport after we dropped him off and said, “What you did was very generous. If it weren’t for you, I would have not been able to see him.” I was touched by her sincerity and spent the long drive back bonding. Some may see this is generosity; I see it as simply being a friend.

I guess this is me in a nutshell. I never feel “fortunate”. Yet, I wouldn’t hesitate to give money to a friend who needs it. I always feel broke even though I’m told by my friends and family the absolute contrary. Does this make my goals something of a delusion rooted in falsehoods? Maybe.

I think I’ve always had an affinity for helping others. I remember when I was a kid, I’d wake up around 5 or 6 AM to not miss a minute of Saturday morning cartoons. Usually, they always played infomercials on helping poor starving children. I’d see images of kids with their belly swollen from hunger and flies landing all over their face. “For just eighty cents a day, you too can help feed America’s hungry children.” That’s always stuck with me even til now, some 20 years later.

If someone I care about is in trouble, I wouldn’t hesitate to take action. What bothers me is inaction when something can be done. They say money makes the world go ’round and I’m just here to help the people I love and care about. Everyone ought to be a bit more caring and compassionate. If that somehow makes me great or amazing — great, but I’m not looking for praise.

Later world.

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