Posted in Musings


“Jobs fill your pockets; adventures fill your soul”

“Just go where your heart takes you”

“Money is not everything”

There definitely was a point of time when I believed that these were truly inspirational phrases, but now I largely view them as the coinage of elitists ignorant of their privilege.

I still appreciate the underlying notion – that we should strive to make the most of what life offers us, grab opportunities to explore things outside of our comfort zone, stop ourselves from being bound by societal expectations, and widen our understanding of the world. Kudos to all that. But how feasible is all this for an average person?

Old English novels talk about the protagonists being tutored in languages and the fine arts, spending their time on literary pursuits. I remember wondering how amazing it must have been to live in an era where everyone seemed to do nothing but read and write and travel. Growing up, I obviously realised my folly – how the representation I saw was but one of the royal and elite classes, and the poor have always had sustenance above all at the centre of their existence.

Even today, the trend is the same -it is the higher classes who set the standards for an admirable lifestyle, even when that is not one of blatant luxury. We aah and ooh at travelers’ accounts of how they denounced money in the pursuit of happiness. I know that I certainly have. I knew people who traveled to a different country for every summer holiday, and I would wish and dream of doing the same, having the same experiences as them. The number of places you have been to becomes a benchmark of awesomeness.

In addition, we think of a 9-to-5 job as something to be ashamed of and convince ourselves that money is evil. But for many like me, earning money by working two jobs is a way to ensure my house remains mine. It gives me sanity in the relief that I will be able to pay for health insurance and save towards an emergency. Sure, given a choice, I would love to “free myself” and travel with abandon, but who would pay for my flight tickets, my food and stay overseas? How many can really afford to run on pure adrenaline?

So now every time I come across these phrases, I ask myself: are we really inspiring people with these, or simply reminding them of their shackles?


A wayward thinker hiding behind the facade of necessary courtesies

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