I guess for this question most of the people would give an answer like: “Of course! How could we live without money?” Last post was about what attitude helped me to reach my goal of earning a lot in the USA. In this one I will write about what price I had to pay for it.
Physically and mentally broke down
After I came back from camp my brother and sister kept telling me to go back to work at the resort to earn a lot in 3 months. When we talked it was about money, when we fought it was also because of money. I started to hate it all, though I knew I needed money. I went back to the USA in 2016, and worked in housekeeping. Later I did 2 jobs, 3am to 6am baking donuts and 8:30am to 5pm in housekeeping, sometimes I even did turning down service from 6pm to 10pm. And the next day I woke up at 2am again. My earning was really good and I was proud of myself owning a large sum of money.
But what was the price?
My sleeping cycle messed up. I either couldn’t sleep a lot, or I slept in the afternoon but woke up before midnight. And I didn’t feel well if I did something else after midnight before my shift. I was always sleepy up to the point I could even sleep while standing. I didn’t feel myself. I knew I talked, but I didn’t realize what I was talking about. It took me much longer to understand what others told me and what was going around.
When my work ended at the resort I had 3 days in Washington and New York in total. Since I didn’t want to spend money on public transport ticket I walked. I tend to walk for hours in sunshine and hot weather with all of my luggage just to save few dollars. I ended up having water blister on my heel. I felt terrible. Exhausted but I still couldn’t stop sightseeing.
When I arrived back to Hungary, I couldn’t relax as I went to school right after the airport. At home I thought I could finally have a bit of rest, but I already had schedule with students so I taught and studied. My cousin also came from Vietnam, so I had to take her sightseeing. I barely had any rest period. My skin got much worse. Even my mum could tell how bad I looked like. I always felt exhausted, my foot hurt when I stepped on it and my back also hurt. I extremely needed massage to which my brothers’ reaction was: “Why do you need massage at your age?”
I had never felt as terrible as that time. I worked so hard to earn money, so to make them stop telling me to work hard. There was no praise word… fine. But then when I had any physical problem they could only tell me to keep doing what I supposed to do as if I didn’t have a right to feel the pain or to have a rest. I had money but in exchange I had to bear all the physical and emotional pain, plus I always had to count what I spend my money on. I would rather walk for miles and stay hungry just to save money.
Fear and Unfulfilled
Still I was really happy to own a lot of money. I could buy a new laptop and a new telephone. So the next summer I went back to the same resort in 2017 to earn a lot again. I worked hard in room service. I lifted heavy trays and ran back and forth in the resort. I reached my goal again. I earned a lot.
However I had physical problems again. Once I hurt my toe and it was infected. I had blister on it. I was so scared, because I couldn’t walk. If I couldn’t walk how could I earn money? One week later my toe got better but I had rash from poison ivy. My skin was full of rash and of course I wasn’t supposed to serve with that appearance. Luckily it didn’t last long and didn’t affect my work.
Since I did physical job my muscle got bigger and tight. So my body. My shoulder was so stiff. Above this all I wasn’t happy. I earned a lot, reached my goal but I didn’t feel good or joyful. I was even scared to spend those money. I always tried to figure out how to spend less. I became much more stingy.
Then when I arrived back home again, I went to school. The next week I already taught my students. I kept working and working but I reached the point where I felt a huge burnt out. I didn’t feel like teaching or studying. I just wanted to leave.
I had an American boyfriend at that time, Panda. I was ready to give up everything just to go back to him. I realized I needed love much more than money. I even bought a flight ticket for 520 USD to spend January over there with him. However, we broke up one month before my flight. I couldn’t stay in the USA for 1 month as I already had a teaching job at a language school. I went on a solo travelling for 2 weeks in the west coast of the USA. I tried to get back to myself during that 2 weeks.
What is more important than money?
During that trip I had a case when I brought back the rented car to the airport then I planned to go to the hotel by public transport in Los Angeles. I checked which bus took me there. But when I arrived to the bus station it was written on the schedule board that “The bus stop is out of service.” I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how a bus stop could be out of service. I was in the middle of Los Angeles. There was nothing but cars and buses. I hardly saw any person. It was near to the airport so there wasn’t a lot of building. Luckily there was a gas station and behind it, a hotel. I went there and begged them to call a taxi for me. The taxi came in 8 minutes but it felt like hours. Fortunately I arrived to the hotel safe and sound.
This case made me realize money is not everything. Before the hotel I was at a Buddhist master’s place where I stayed for a night with the master’s student. I could have stayed there for one more night then people over there would take me to the airport. I could have free food and free accommodation and could learn from the master. However, I chose to stay in the hotel, just because I already paid for it and it was a non-refundable one. So I wouldn’t get back my money if I cancelled it. I didn’t want to lose money like that. So instead of staying at master’s place, I almost stayed on the street with all my belongings just because I didn’t want to lose 138USD for the hotel. I asked myself: “Is money that important to put myself in danger?”
When I wasted 520USD because of my boyfriend, I was upset. Not because we broke up but because I lost that sum of money. Then I almost stayed on the street because of 138 USD. I put too much energy on money where I ended up having pain physically and mentally. I realized money wasn’t worth that much. It is usually said “Time is Money”. But it’s NOT true. Time cannot equal to money. If we lose time we CANNOT find it back. But when we lose money we CAN earn it back. I could have spent literally 2 more days to learn from master but I would rather chose money. I missed his teaching and that one I could never get back. But I can always earn back 138USD. So I decided not to be stingy anymore especially with myself. I promised to make the best out of the present moment. If I need to spend I spend.
Stressed and more pain
I went back home and got back to work. By February I suddenly had so many students from the language school. My schedule was full. I barely had any time for myself or for my family. I regularly missed all the family dinner. I still felt burnt out from teaching. But I would rather work hard than being alone as I still couldn’t get over Panda, my ex. I agreed to teach more and more people. Early morning and late night. I even hesitated when I had a chance to go abroad for a speech contest. I left but I still felt a bit pity for the money.
I spent 3 days in Romania where the accommodation and food was free. So I ate as much as I could. I still felt full after arriving home. 2 weeks later my instestine under my rib hurt. I ended up in the emergency as it was hard to walk. Fortunately it wasn’t serious. They said my stomach had too much air and that pressed my organs that’s why it hurt. They gave me painkiller, told me to eat light food so to make it easier to do my duty in the restroom. After a week I got better but few days later my intestines hurt again. I always had to make sure to poop at least once a day. Drink a lot of water, eat more vegetables and less meat. Still it came again. My mum and my friend said it was because of the stress.
Money is just a tool not a goal
I overworked myself with teaching. If I didn’t teach I had to work on my thesis and study for the final exam. Once again I realized, yes money is important. It will always be important. I also admit I love money and I love having a lot of them.
But it doesn’t make sense to keep working and working, without a proper rest, for the money. I imagined if I died tomorrow and I still had a last second to think, “what would I think about?” Would I think about how much I worked and earned or about the happy moment I had so far?
What would my family remember about me? That I was a hardworking daughter, sister, aunt who earned a lot? Or they wouldn’t even have any memories with me since I never spent time with them?
There was still many thing I wanted to do, for example going to Australia. I knew if I kept working and got into the rat race, I would never reach Australia. So I laid back a bit. I decided to let everything go and learned to take things easy. I thought if I let go, things would go the way I wanted so I decided to leave for Australia for a year after graduation. But then I got job offer. The students still wanted to learn more from me. Teaching was still a bit hard since I wanted to quit for a while, but it was also easier because I did it from my heart not because of money. For the job offer, I was called for an interview and I tried to take it easy. I got it or not, it was all fine. But inside I still hoped they would accept me.
Like the structure of this post. We know we should do what we love, but once another “good” opportunity come, even if we don’t really like it, we still tend to go for it, make the same decision and get into another rat race. And then the problem comes back.
Honestly this is fine. This is a process of learning, making mistakes and learn from it again until we make different decision. The main point is that we remind ourselves to take it easy and believe things will work out when we go on the road we want to.
Instead of simply putting all the energy to earn money we should realize why we are working for it. What do we exactly want to achieve? The money? Or something we want to have with the help of money?
I realized the two most important thing in life is Happiness and Health. This is what we should take as a goal to achieve. Money can be a tool to reach it, but it shouldn’t be the main goal.