When It Is Important To Look Back

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Soon, I complete 10 years of Corporate life. I have loved every bit of it, but it was not my first job. Growing up in a middle class family, I had to give up on a lot of wants and sometimes needs too. Way too early in life, I started doing promotional jobs to make money for myself. I remember the first promotional job that I took up. It was an event for a mall inauguration in the heart of the city and since I was in between semesters, I took it up happily. The event was for 15 days and I got paid 250 bucks for a day. A bunch of us had to wear T-Shirts with the mall's name on it and promote it around the area and share pamphlets. It was a fun job. This was only the beginning of my journey of financial independence. During school, I used to work in mom's boutique and make money on the side. Watching her work and helping her in small ways back then, enables me to create clothes for myself today. I saw a dearth of money while growing up and how my parents were struggling to make ends meet. Once I started my journey of being financially independent, there was no looking back.

Then I realized, how important it is to look back once in a while. I strongly believe that one should never forget where they come from. The odd-jobs I did back them helped me grow as a person and molded me into the strong woman that I am today. I even completed my education by taking an educational loan and paying it all back with a hefty interest once I started working full time. As and when I got some free time, I took up more jobs. Be it at a furniture exhibition, or selling a hair-oil outside supermarkets on hot sunny afternoons, I have done it all. Today, I make more than enough money for my wants and needs, and to support my parents, but my journey till here is something that I will never forget. Most importantly, I am not ashamed to talk about it. Every time I get my monthly salary, I replay my journey in my mind.

I have seen so many people who act like they were born rich. Honestly, no one is born rich. The money one sees around them when they are born belongs to their parents or their parents. None of it is theirs. I hate it when people show off the money that belongs to someone else. Be it a rich spoilt kid or a housewife who only knows how to spend and not save. But something that annoys me more is when people who see new money act like they have been rich all their lives forgetting the small house that they lived in earlier or the frugal means on which they survived. They become pompous and look down upon and mock others who are a little below them on the economic strata. It is a good thing to move up the financial ladder, but to stay humble, it is very important to look back once in a while and trace the path where one comes from.

I have friends and relatives who have started from scratch and are doing well today. But they act like the past never existed. The hand-me down clothes that were worn or repeating the same socks day after day is instantly forgotten and they only talk about big brands that they can clearly afford but barely pronounce now. Every one goes through various phases in life. No, you do not have to pitch a tent and stay in the past forever, but looking back once in a while to trace your journey will make you feel good about yourself. The struggle makes you humble and grounded. Some people have conveniently erased their journey and now only focus on the numbers of zeroes in their back accounts.

One concept that I do not get till date is that of inheritance. A man and wife slog their entire life to make a house, a living and something extra and then it automatically goes to their children who may be good for nothing for all you know. I have seen siblings get at each other's throat for some free money that clearly belongs to none of them. They think it does, but since they have not earned it themselves, it doesn't. But hell, when it is free, why care? In today's time, people wait for their surviving parents to kick the bucket, so that they get a few lakhs in their account. For free. What irks me more is when the people who get this free money suddenly act like they have always stayed on the Forbes richest list. Someone dies, leaves something for you, you should consider yourself lucky and use the money wisely and stay modest. Not flaunt it like it was your birthright all along. And please, do not start planning what you would do with your share of the inheritance when your parents are alive and kicking. If not modest, stay human.

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I'm very proud of the journey that I have had in life. I do not regret it one bit as everything that I have gone through has taught me so much about life, hard work and success. Today, I can proudly say that I am a self-made woman and I have no qualms talking about where I came from. Anyone can go from rags to riches. It can either happen instantly or take a lifetime, but when one does get there you should not forget how it all started. A kid I know once told me "I have millions and lakhs in my account". Obviously, the kid would have heard his parents talk this way to learn it. Don't tell your kids that they are born rich. Instead, tell them the story of your journey and how you got to where you are today. If you are ashamed of it, then well, remember that what goes around, comes around.

As much as it is important to let go and move on, sometimes it is important to look back and feel proud of how far one has come and it is very important to be proud of the journey too.

20 comments:

  1. Congratulations on completing 10 years of corporate life, Soumya! That must have been so rish and varied! Its lovely to know that you paused to look back at your amazing journey and stay connected to your roots! That's what life is all about, isn't it? I loved the quote — fly high but stay grounded! Beautiful lesson to carry along.

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    1. Thank you, Esha!

      Fly high but stay grounded, you couldn't have said it any better.

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  2. Wow you started out young. I admire your will and your initiative and your sense of responsibility to go ahead and try to earn your living yourself. Most youngsters these days would probably just whine at their parents. They come with such a sense of entitlement. Oh and the inheritance bit really really gets to me. I think Rachna had done a post once on why should children think they are entitled to their parents earnings. That's such a valid query.

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    1. Yes, I did. I had no choice :)

      Oh yeah, I recall Rachna's post on this. Agreed with her back then too.

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  3. I am so happy for your present and proud to know about your past. I don't like the word 'struggle' somehow because I feel it should always be labelled as 'hard work'.

    I have been around those who talk about inheritance and 'how much right' they have on their parents earnings. I do not swear often but I do in this case - stop all the shit of talking about the right of inheritance, if you had worked hard even half of what they have, you wouldn't be waiting to have it all.Phew! sorry about the rant, but couldn't resist.

    As for you, Stay as you are :)

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    1. You said it, hard work it is.

      Thank you so much, Poonam. I hope inheritance becomes an extinct concept soon.

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  4. Soumya, I am getting to know you better. Hearty Congratulations on a decade in IT. I love the feeling.

    Somehow all this tells, some people must really understand what it is like to go out and earn a penny. I hate it too when people spend money that they don't earn. When they talk about saving 10's and go out and spend 100's and 1000's like there is no tomorrow.

    I come from a middle class family too and I can't bear watching money wasted like water on "wants" especially those which people buy but never use.

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    1. Thank you, Jay!

      I hate it too when people spend money they do not earn. Exactly why I hate housewives who flaunt their spouse's money like it is their birthright. Absolutely hate it and I have no respect for such people.

      I hear you, sister!

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  5. Sowmya, Agree with you on this. It is your roots that have shaped the way the tree spreads its branches. As we go ahead in life, looking back helps us to appreciate what we have achoeved in life and actually to be humble in a certain way. Inheritance- well what can I say, some sure have it lucky. Wish they learn to cherish it, rather than swindling it away.

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    1. Oh yeah, the roots, yes.

      Once should never forget where they came from.

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  6. Soumya, I've always admired you not just for your writing but for the person you are! I agree with you. We need to look back where we started and shouldn't take things for granted. I've also grown up in a similar scenario. Mom had to struggle to bring me and brother up alone and I'm forever indebted to her. She is happy now because both my brother and I have jobs. But each time I get my salary, I always remember had it not been for her and for the way she brought me up, it would be difficult for me to reach this place.

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    1. Thank you so much, Reema.

      You are an awesome person too. Your mother should be so proud of you both.

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  7. Sometimes we consciously forbid ourselves from talking or writing about money. Money has always been controversial. But you have put it so decently here, I can relate strongly. Kudos to the self-made women!

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    1. DN!! So long since I've seen you here. I've missed your posts and I'm heading there right now.

      Thank you, I know it is not easy to talk about money and one's past, but I needed to get this out of my system. I'm glad it came out well.

      Do visit often, will ya?

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  8. I am so, so proud of you! I cannot even imagine how proud your parents must feel :)
    As for inheritance, I blame the parents. I have friends with toddlers who have started saying how the property they have is for their kid's education, their wedding, etc. I wish I could tell them that your job is to give them values and provide for them till they are adults - after that, they can and will be able to fend for themselves.
    A reason they give for their planning is - I want to give them what I never had. Makes me feel sad for their parents who tried their best in every way. Makes me want to tell them to see where they are and how it is what their parents taught/gave them. That is truly the best inheritance.

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    1. We learn to live and live to learn!

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    2. Nisha - Here's my favorite homemaker in the whole world! Thank you, my dear. It is important for people to value money and know how it is being earned. You said it! When parents want to give their kids what they never had, it is almost like expecting the kids to want the same things they did. This is another kind of pressure on the kid.

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  9. Is there is post of yours reading which I would feel, here is where I differ from Soumya? :)

    Couldn't agree more. I was also born to parents who are teachers. Limited money made me value things I want. I learnt how hard it is to want something but not have the money to buy it. The concept of not chewing what you can't bite comes from having seen tough situations. Kudos to you that you started young. The city I come from did not have the culture where youngsters works for little money. So I did not start working until 24 but if I had a chance, I would have done it all for my financial independence.
    I loved that quote and picture. Super cool!

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    1. Great minds are often alike they say ;)

      I love and respect you for the amazing woman that you are. That shows where you have come from and I know that you will not hesitate to talk about it or look back at it. That's what's more important.

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