It is easy to lose sight of what really matters in life, Its no secret that over the past three years things have been pretty rough for me, with my father suffering a terminal Illness, my sisters husband suffering one, and me of course taking a huge hit in the pocket book via the Economy and having to sacrifice work for taking care of My father, something I surely do not regret, and I am damn proud of actually, but after I somehow became focused on my own woe’s, and not on those of others. It is easy in the rat race of America to focus on having the new and best of everything, and in reality, we already have it, at one time the American dream was ust having a stable job, a family, and a house. Now, it is the most expensive toys you can possibly fined coupled with as much fun as possible. Now don’t get me wrong, having nice things is good, and having fun and enjoying life paramount, but the toys takes us away from what really matters IMO, that is life experiences ,now for me that is not the newest shiniest of anything, but rather what I can do for others.
I like being an employer, although It has always been seasonal for me, I like knowing I give people something they really need, money to take care of their needs, as a landlord I like knowing that I am giving someone a home to live in, and not just a dump, but a nice home.
But still I want to take it farther, traveling to various countries the absolute most heartbreaking thing I have ever came upon were children starving. Adults I tend to be a bit harder with, but Children, man, what did they ever do to deserve being born in a position to just eat once a day? And hell, their meal is what an American would just consider a snack I remember my fist real reality to this was on a train going to Wisconsin and sitting next to me was a beautiful woman from Liberia, we struck up a conversation and of course I pried as much as possible aout her county, IM like what is your staple food, her reply “rice” ok so IM like rice and what? “well we make sauces for it” now this just dumbfounded me, no meat in it, “you don’t put monkey in it or something” no was her reply, just rice. Now up to that point most of my travels have been to western countries with the most poverty being in a Mexican border town, absolutely nothing of comparison, and then Russia, now Moscow is a big beautiful city that is one of the most expensive to live in in the world, and here and there you see someone holding a sign up for food, or some old lady trying to sell some dried fish I would not use for bate, but outside the city you start seeing collapsed apartment buildings, that’s strange I think, why don’t they just tear the damn things down? Then you see someone go walking in carrying their groceries, wtf?
So then I hit the Philippines and my first thoughts and sights walking around is simply amazement, there is a tall modern buiding, or a nice new home, and right in-between is a shack that in America would be something some kid would build for a playhouse, but there, people live in it, I kept walking and underneath a parking garage I see a man giving a bath to his two daughters with a five gallon bucket, that really still sticks in my mind. Later I traveled around to other parts of the Philippines and there huts will become more common, there will be houses, but many will not have a shower, only a bucket and a pale to wash with. And those are the fortunate ones, in the villages people seem to be happy and helping each other, but as you get back into other cities, you find the unfortunate Pilipino street children, those that are able beg, I like handing coins out to them, but you have to be careful giving them to much or the other children will attack them for it, and worse, adults will take it from them. Usually I make them dance or sing, something to earn the coin as I do not believe in simply giving. But that changes quickly the first time you step over a child who is just laying there starving, there is nothing, nothing more heart wrenching than first hand seeing a child who no longer has the energy to move, who’s skin hangs from their bones like rags.
SO I ask you, what is important in your life? What really matters? For me I have decided that I really want to get rich, one , so I can build a castle, that would be pretty damn cool, but my greatest dream is so I can go back to those poor countries, and give something back, maybe help a village put in a septic system, dig some wells, and most of all, help educate, as it is not even this generation that will benefit, its those down the road, I really hope that will be my legacy, giving someone a better tomorrow.