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How I ditched youthful idealism and learnt to love money


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A few days ago, my cousin and her fiance caught me moping around the house and decided to take me out for bubble tea. My cousin was a twenty-seven-year-old lawyer. Her family - my uncle and aunt - was enormously wealthy. Their constant fear was that my cousin would marry a handsome, charming scoundrel, who would then take advantage of their family property. Therefore, they auditioned a dozen eligible young men and chose a worldly, go-getting Hong Kong upstart - my cousin-in-law-to-be, also Big R.

 

At first, I was depressed, but when the calamari arrived, my taste buds were aroused. Then, my mood soared. So I began talking about the various girls I met at bars in Hong Kong and Beijing. When I’m excited, I become talkative. I really like girls – So as I narrated my various girl-related adventures, I began gesticulating all over the place. This was when Big R said, "You can't go to bars in Hong Kong this summer. Your uncle has decided to offer you an internship at a friend's law-firm."

 

I wasn't surprised about the internship - My uncle told me about it at a family dinner. But I was surprised that I was banned from visiting bars. So I asked Big R about it.

 

Big R was a commanding man. He was used to giving orders. He took a sip of water, stared at me sternly, examined me up and down, and then replied, "Green sapling, you’re living life the wrong way - All you care about are fun and games. You chase after girls, and it amuses you, and that is good. But I want to ask you a serious question – Do you know what a man's biggest assets are?"

 

I guessed, "Money and career?" (It was too easy.)

 

That was the right answer. Big R looked surprised – Maybe he expected me to say something wrong but philosophical. But he continued, "Yes. When a man has money and career, he exudes charisma. Then beautiful women will flock to him. For me, there's no fate more painful than to have money. If you keep up the good work you are doing - in a few years, when you go back to China, you won't have to chase after girls. Girls will offer themselves to you. They will throw themselves at you. They will gravitate to you and cling to you. At that point, you will face all kinds of temptations."

 

He looked at my cousin, who looked back at him. She nodded knowingly. He continued, "At that point, you will face all kinds of temptations - younger girls, older girls, smart girls, dumb girls. Don't go for any of that. You must learn to resist temptations.

 

"I’ll give you a friendly advice, because I’ve learnt more than a few lessons in this world: Make money. Focus on money. Just money. Set only one goal for yourself - Money. When you have money, everything else, including women, follows."

 

"Let me tell you a secret," He lowered his voice, "At night, I even talk in my sleep about making money. Your cousin here can testify."

 

My cousin added something like, "Yes, he really does," but Big R interrupted her. He was on a roll.

 

"Green sapling. Let's say you have an unprecedented opportunity to make a lot, a lot of money at a law-firm for one year. This opportunity will also thoroughly establish your career. However, there's one girl you like. She's beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. The type you dreamt of screwing since you were a kid. You get excited even thinking about her, let alone seeing her.

 

"Let's say if you want to keep seeing her, you can't work at that law-firm. Do you choose the girl or the law-firm?"

 

"Well, it depends," I replied. I ransacked my head for an answer. I haven't thought about this matter this bluntly before. I thought I gave a good answer, which I later realised was not the best answer.

 

"It depends on how deep our relationship is. If she has genuine feelings for me, and I for her, I can give up the law-firm."

 

Big R shook his head. He took one long look at me and sighed, "You think too much, green sapling. Okay, that's enough for now."

 

We then proceeded to gobble up the calamari. Meanwhile, the conversation drifted to Chinese celebrity scandals.

 

It was time to go. My cousin went to the washroom. Big R said to me in private, "You're a stubborn kid. But you're a smart kid. You've read all these books about philosophy and literature. I bet I’m not even one-tenth as smart as you are. Maybe one day you will make a lot, a lot of money. I wish I have your smarts. Then, I will apply your smarts to make a lot, a lot of money."

 

***

 

Originally, I was sceptical of Big R's views on money and women. But on the car-ride back, his enthusiasm began to infect me.

 

I said, "Gege (elder brother), let's work together when I'm done school. Together, we'll make a lot, a lot of money, and then we'll enjoy many, many beautiful women."

 

He must have found me amusing, because he laughed and patted me on the head.

 

***

 

Later that night, I saw my mom in the kitchen. I related my conversation with Big R to her.

 

I added, "I disagree with Big R, because I believe good women do really exist - the type who stick by you whether you're rich or poor, who are loyal to friends, and who value genuine feelings."

 

My mom then said, "Big R is not entirely accurate. But he is right on some things.

 

"You're young, and you think yiqi solves everything. But how many relationships begin in genuine feelings but end in failure? 'A destitute couple has a hundred worries.' Suppose you're poor - You married a girl, and you two genuinely loved each other. Before you two were married, you thought the world of each other. But after you're married, every little necessity of life will grind you down. Inevitably, the marriage will end in tears and separation.

 

"The opposite can also happen. A poor couple might strive together to leave poverty. Their common purpose unites them. But then, when they become rich, many troubles can arise. Look at your uncle Joey."

 

Her answer made sense, so I didn't quite know what to say. Later, I asked, "Originally, Dad and you were poor. But now, our family is exceedingly well-off. What if Dad never got rich? Would you have stuck by him?"

 

My mom said, "Yes, but I'm not like other women."

 

(Actually, there was a famous story in my family circles, where my mom told my dad she would support him in his study of Chinese literature, even if he made no money all his life. This took place before I was born.)

 

***

 

Uncle Joey is the black sheep of the family. But he is also very talented. He used to have a very beautiful wife. Nevertheless, he continued playing with other women. ("Talented men enjoy the company of women," I guess.)

 

One day, he was out playing with other women again, when his wife crashed her car into a train. People said her emotional distress caused the crash. The whole family blamed Uncle Joey.

 

Ever since, Uncle Joey has redoubled his efforts at womanising. Because of his business, he travels quite a lot. He has a woman in every city he visits, including Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, etc.

 

The last time I visited him, he was gaming a girl over msn. It was very amusing. We spent a pleasant afternoon over tea, discussing his internet tactics.

 

***

 

So I don't quite know what to think now. On the one hand, I retain a sincere faith in lasting, genuine love. I also believe that truly-spectacular women exist – the type who enjoy being with you even when you’re poor. Disdaining talks of gain, these women prefer friendship and loyalty. These women care about genuine feelings. When they love, they love deeply and don’t look back.

 

On the other hand, “all feasts must come to an end.” Sometimes, things just aren’t meant to be. My romantic ideals notwithstanding – I realise that the practicalities of everyday living can erode all declarations of undying love. Furthermore, while sometimes I think I would be happy with one woman, with whom I can fall in love again and again, at other times I like the idea of having several women. It’s not just about sex. There’s excitement, too, as well as a boost to the masculine ego. Maybe men are naturally polygamous.

 

There’s an old story in the Pali Canon. One day, an elderly couple approached Sakyamuni Buddha. They’d shared a good life together, and they wished nothing more than to share their next lives together as husband and wife. Sakyamuni promised in reply that if two persons had both led righteous lives, they could pray to spend another lifetime together, and their prayer would come to pass.

 

For me, this is the most beautiful, most romantic story there is – It is so short and plain, but it says everything which needs to be said. Basically, I have given up on love. But there’s still a very small spark within my heart which hopes, prays, and longs for this.

 

***

 

Fortunately, I don’t face the dilemma which Big R proposed, where I have to choose between a beloved girl and a lucrative career. Actually, I’ve been advised to keep distance from all women at my internship. (My uncle asked my mom to tell me. Thanks to my sister's big mouth, everyone thinks I pick up women all the time.) So I’ll be on my best behaviour – no skipping work, no visiting bars, and no picking up girls.

 

Any views?

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This is random, but you live in Burnaby, don't you.

 

And I agree that it's happiness what matters. To me, it's money, as shallow or bad as that might sound. I enjoy earning the money that I do. To some, other things bring happiness.

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This is random, but you live in Burnaby, don't you.

 

And I agree that it's happiness what matters. To me, it's money, as shallow or bad as that might sound. I enjoy earning the money that I do. To some, other things bring happiness.

 

Haha, no. Are you making a guess from the bubble-tea reference?

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This is random, but you live in Burnaby, don't you.

 

And I agree that it's happiness what matters. To me, it's money, as shallow or bad as that might sound. I enjoy earning the money that I do. To some, other things bring happiness.

Money does not bring happiness. If it did, I should be one of the happiest people on earth; i'm not.

 

EDIT - good to meet another fellow BC'er here!

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Haha, no. Are you making a guess from the bubble-tea reference?

 

Lol, I live near Lougheed mall, and we've got the best bubble tea place around here.

 

Money does not bring happiness. If it did, I should be one of the happiest people on earth; i'm not.

 

EDIT - good to meet another fellow BC'er here!

 

I like to be able to get bored, go out and buy a toy. Be able to pay off the folks' mortgage for them. Money brings me happiness above all else.

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Lol, I live near Lougheed mall, and we've got the best bubble tea place around here.

 

 

 

I like to be able to get bored, go out and buy a toy. Be able to pay off the folks' mortgage for them. Money brings me happiness above all else.

 

Dude. You're my age. Keggers are supposed to bring us happiness.

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Dude. You're my age. Keggers are supposed to bring us happiness.

 

Hahaha, they used to. I grew out of it after highschool, for some reason. Waking up and checking my affiliate programs to see that I pulled in a grand overnight keeps me satisfied and smiling these days.

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I would have wagered more on Richmond than Burnaby, but I digress.

 

I'm one of the opinion that if love can survive the hardships of being poor or becoming rich, then it can only become stronger. To love money first and foremost with the expectation that women will flock to you once you have it seems a bit off to me, assuming that you're looking for someone other than a potential gold digger.

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Money is false security... and with it will bring only false women...

 

As for productivity, it can provide security... but lets say you lose an arm to a huge accident(not trying to kill your dream here)... then where's your security?

 

Money will also bring happiness, but only to a certain level... and then you will realize that calamari and lobster will eventually begin to taste like soap... and all the girls only want your money, and not you... the shine will wear off.

 

 

As for you imprecision... I suggest you look into a writing career if you haven't already, you're good.

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I would have wagered more on Richmond than Burnaby, but I digress.

 

I'm one of the opinion that if love can survive the hardships of being poor or becoming rich, then it can only become stronger. To love money first and foremost with the expectation that women will flock to you once you have it seems a bit off to me, assuming that you're looking for someone other than a potential gold digger.

 

I don't agree with that completely, from personal experience.

 

Simply enough, money grants opportunities. She can be the sweetest girl in the world, but if she sees you as someone with no possible future, she won't be interested. It's natural for her to select someone who's going somewhere, like herself.

 

Now, obviously, it's not the best idea to flaunt it completely when you're trying to find the right girl, but like I said, money grants a lot of opportunity.

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Lol, I live near Lougheed mall, and we've got the best bubble tea place around here.

 

 

 

I like to be able to get bored, go out and buy a toy. Be able to pay off the folks' mortgage for them. Money brings me happiness above all else.

Then you're missing a vital component to life. I used to think that if I had a lot of money, i'd be happy. Then I made a lot of money. I'm not a gazillionaire, but i'm not poor by any means. When the market crashed, I lost some money, but not enough to be concerned - that should give you an idea.

 

Money can buy "temporary" happiness. I get depressed at times - always have. Clinical disorder thing, not going to get into it. But one thing that used to make me feel goo was to go out and buy stuff, like tv's, stereos, game stations, wild nights at the bar, you name it. I've done it all, spent tens of thousands of dollars on things that I thought would make me happy - only to learn that after the initial excitement of a new toy wore off, I was just as miserable as I was before. I just had some new toys.

 

Money will make you happy for a minute. True happiness comes from realizing that you need nothing. Not money, not acceptance, not admiration, not comforts, nothing. When you realize that happiness comes of its own accord, you are good to go.

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The thing is, I know that it won't make me happy in the long-run. But it will give me the opportunities to achieve that happiness.

 

I know I'm social and easy to have fun with. Every time I have doubts, I have a date and reinforce that. It's just that since my folks are immigrants [along with myself, though I'm pretty much Westernized since I moved here at 8], I want to have them set up, and have myself well off enough to be able to go do some real things that I've wanted to. It's really my biggest thing. I've always liked to have "safety", so I want a nest egg sitting there waiting for me in ANY case.

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Money is false security... and with it will bring only false women...

 

As for productivity, it can provide security... but lets say you lose an arm to a huge accident(not trying to kill your dream here)... then where's your security?

 

Money will also bring happiness, but only to a certain level... and then you will realize that calamari and lobster will eventually begin to taste like soap... and all the girls only want your money, and not you... the shine will wear off.

 

 

As for you imprecision... I suggest you look into a writing career if you haven't already, you're good.

 

Very true. When it comes to women, you don't want to have the ones that only talk to you because you have cash. If anything, it will make you worse off than you were before, emotionaly. They will destroy you.

 

At first, sure, it's nice. All the attention, the glamor, the excitement. But it wears off quickly.

 

When I started making money, I found that my dating life skyrocketed - at first. Women wanted to be around me, because I had money to spend. Women like guys with money, because to them, money = excitement. In truth, it doesn't.

 

After a while, I found that the only women I wanted to spend any time with were the friends that I had established before I had any, because I knew they liked me for who I was and not for what I could do for them. To this day, they want nothing from me other than friendship, while i've gone through dating dozens of women who I toss back into the pool because they can't appreciate me for ME.

 

Money doesn't buy happiness - but it will buy you adversity.

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I can only love a man who is successful. It is not the money alone, it is the mindset of successful men that I love. They generally appreciate intelligent women more, have less nasty habits, drive nice cars, and let me be successful in my career, also. Gotta love the rich men!

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I can only love a man who is successful. It is not the money alone, it is the mindset of successful men that I love. They generally appreciate intelligent women more, have less nasty habits, drive nice cars, and let me be successful in my career, also. Gotta love the rich men!

I mostly agree, but not all rich guys drive nice cars. I have a nice truck

 

The mindest you speak of, when it comes down to it, is one of confidence in ones own abilities, which is an attractive trait in anyone, rich or poor. Successful people are more likely to show this trait though, so often get associated with it. That doesn't mean a guy with lesser means is necessarily going to be less successful with women - he just needs to be confident in himself.

 

As for a rich man appreciating intelligent women - all men appreciate that. But it's the confidence of the man that is required to be with that confident woman. Less successful people may have trouble being with a successful, intelligent woman only because they percieve her as being above them - like I said it's a confidence thing.

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Love won't solve all your problems. When I was young, I thought it would--but there are still problems, questions, doubts, uncertainty about your life and your future and where you are going. Even the deepest love cannot take those problems away--although it does mean that you'll have company along the way, and someone to lean on in the hard times.

 

Money won't solve all your problems either. While having enough money to be comfortable does improve one's happiness, it is statistically proven that happiness only increases with income up to a point. After that, you could earn a million more--and it wouldn't really make you any happier. Without someone that you love (it doesn't have to be an SO, but a family member, a parent, a good friend) to share your fortune with, it would be significantly less meaningful.

 

Like you, Russ, I often fantasize about how making the big bucks or hitting the lottery would help my mom out of the financial hole she's in. Tbh, when I think about making it big--I think about her first, and myself second. Even as a young person, I'm lucky to not have any debts--at all. I'm not wealthy--I basically live on 20k per year from grants and scholarships and working during the summers--but I really can't think of any material objects that would make my life substantially better. I have a nice apartment, with nice furniture in it. I have a convertible. I have a sportbike. I have a big screen tv. All these "big" things are accessible to someone like me--someone who is essentially living below the poverty line. But I certainly don't FEEL impoverished. Is everything I own the best of the best? I might argue that some of it, in fact, is...would I be happier if I had double or triple the amount of money I had in a year? Hypothetically, of course. But what would I do with it? Save it I guess? It only COSTS me 20k a year to live (and that is living fairly comfortably, going out to dinner a few times a month, buying some new clothes every few months, buying one "big ticket" item like a big screen tv or motorcycle per year. Why should I spend more on myself?

 

My point is--you only need so much money to live. After that, everything else is a luxury. I wouldn't trade my family, friends, or boyfriend for an 8-figure salary. I do hope for a good job when I'm finally done with my schooling, but I would much rather have a job that I really enjoyed than one that was merely lucrative. I'd rather have time to relax all through my life and enjoy the wonderful people around me, than focus on working and making money and ignore the "human" side of living until I've got a big fat nest egg saved up. IMHO, that's just not living.

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Money can help with happiness through providing the SECURITY to pursue those things which can make you happy. Does that make sense? That's why I work so hard - I work in a field that has a tremendous amount of instability, so I'm very sensitive to the financial risks that go along with that.

 

So in a sense, money can buy you happiness, just not in the way most people think.

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What I'm saying IS: You need BOTH. You need money to live, and you need people to share your life with. A life consumed by the pursuit of money for one's sole benefit is not a life at all.

 

Balance is always great, but it's not exactly easy to achieve it. In fact, most people spend their whole lives trying to strike that balance.

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So as I narrated my various girl-related adventures, I began gesticulating all over the place. This was when Big R said, "You can't go to bars in Hong Kong this summer. Your uncle has decided to offer you an internship at a friend's law-firm."

As if you can't do both? The most successful people in the world are those who have the self discipline to balance their social and professional life without needing to have stipulations placed on them.

But I want to ask you a serious question – Do you know what a man's biggest assets are?"

 

I guessed, "Money and career?" (It was too easy.)

 

That was the right answer.

No it's the wrong answer. A man's biggest is happiness and everyone has a different definition of what it is. For me personally, even though I am recently graduated from law school, I am not set with these two items yet I am extremely happy.

Big R looked surprised – Maybe he expected me to say something wrong but philosophical. But he continued, "Yes. When a man has money and career, he exudes charisma. Then beautiful women will flock to him. For me, there's no fate more painful than to have money. If you keep up the good work you are doing - in a few years, when you go back to China, you won't have to chase after girls. Girls will offer themselves to you. They will throw themselves at you. They will gravitate to you and cling to you. At that point, you will face all kinds of temptations."

And how does money and career develop your social skills necessary to interact successfully with these girls? If all your looking for are gold diggers who will eventually leave you when they realize that they are unsatisfied with what you give them, then enjoy. But it's a recipe for losing.

"I’ll give you a friendly advice, because I’ve learned more than a few lessons in this world: Make money. Focus on money. Just money. Set only one goal for yourself - Money. When you have money, everything else, including women, follows."

An extremely jaded view based on incorrect analysis. If you look objectively around you and get to know enough people, you will see this theory false.

"Let me tell you a secret," He lowered his voice, "At night, I even talk in my sleep about making money. Your cousin here can testify."

My father does this. He is divorced with no social life.

"Green sapling. Let's say you have an unprecedented opportunity to make a lot, a lot of money at a law-firm for one year. This opportunity will also thoroughly establish your career. However, there's one girl you like. She's beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. The type you dreamt of screwing since you were a kid. You get excited even thinking about her, let alone seeing her.

 

"Let's say if you want to keep seeing her, you can't work at that law-firm. Do you choose the girl or the law-firm?"

The correct answer is not to choose and find a way to have it all.

Originally, I was sceptical of Big R's views on money and women. But on the car-ride back, his enthusiasm began to infect me.

Be careful his advice is absolutely incorrect and if you follow it you will not be happy.

I added, "I disagree with Big R, because I believe good women do really exist - the type who stick by you whether you're rich or poor, who are loyal to friends, and who value genuine feelings."

My experience is that this number approaches 100% if not achieving it. The only variable is whether or not the male demands her to act this way.

But how many relationships begin in genuine feelings but end in failure?

The result of the failure of the male to manage the relationship. These are skills which can be learned and applied.

But after you're married, every little necessity of life will grind you down. Inevitably, the marriage will end in tears and separation.

Once again a jaded view based on misplaced blame and assumptions. It's possible to succeed at this.

"The opposite can also happen. A poor couple might strive together to leave poverty. Their common purpose unites them. But then, when they become rich, many troubles can arise. Look at your uncle Joey."

The troubles aren't related to money, they're emotionally based.

Later, I asked, "Originally, Dad and you were poor. But now, our family is exceedingly well-off. What if Dad never got rich? Would you have stuck by him?"

 

My mom said, "Yes, but I'm not like other women."

She is like most other women. She has no basis for this statement.

Uncle Joey is the black sheep of the family. But he is also very talented. He used to have a very beautiful wife.

I could've guessed. And if she had not died on her own, she would eventually have left him one day anyways.

Nevertheless, he continued playing with other women. ("Talented men enjoy the company of women," I guess.)

A man's motives are his own.

One day, he was out playing with other women again, when his wife crashed her car into a train. People said her emotional distress caused the crash. The whole family blamed Uncle Joey.

 

Ever since, Uncle Joey has redoubled his efforts at womanizing. Because of his business, he travels quite a lot. He has a woman in every city he visits, including Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, etc.

 

The last time I visited him, he was gaming a girl over msn. It was very amusing. We spent a pleasant afternoon over tea, discussing his internet tactics.

This is fine and I also appreciate this type of skill, but attracting women and keeping them interested in you and developing a deeper emotional connection are very different and separate skills.

On the one hand, I retain a sincere faith in lasting, genuine love. I also believe that truly-spectacular women exist – the type who enjoy being with you even when you’re poor. Disdaining talks of gain, these women prefer friendship and loyalty. These women care about genuine feelings. When they love, they love deeply and don’t look back.

This is the truth of the world. My relationship is living proof.

I realise that the practicalities of everyday living can erode all declarations of undying love.

No these are distinct and separate, ie. what do problems with a coworker have to do with the emotional you feel for your partner?

Furthermore, while sometimes I think I would be happy with one woman, with whom I can fall in love again and again, at other times I like the idea of having several women. It’s not just about sex. There’s excitement, too, as well as a boost to the masculine ego. Maybe men are naturally polygamous.

We are naturally polygamous, but that does not mean that you cannot live this lifestyle. I have a bisexual gf, we sleep with women together. You can also find a woman who understands that while you love her, your sexual needs are not related to this and therefore you could sleep with or even care for another woman without it infringing on your feelings for her. As an example I am very much capable of sleeping with and even caring for any of these other women and will love my gf just as much as before at the end of the day.

Basically, I have given up on love. But there’s still a very small spark within my heart which hopes, prays, and longs for this.

That's too bad, because it is a very attainable goal. You just have to refine your views and actions and you can have it.

Actually, I’ve been advised to keep distance from all women at my internship. (My uncle asked my mom to tell me. Thanks to my sister's big mouth, everyone thinks I pick up women all the time.) So I’ll be on my best behaviour – no skipping work, no visiting bars, and no picking up girls.

 

Any views?

Well that's not going to develop any self control and is infantilizing you. I mean this with no disrespect, but you're receiving some pretty poor guidance. Look out for yourself, this is your life to live.

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heloladies21

 

Haha, I very much enjoyed your critical commentaries. For the most part, my experiences accord with yours.

 

My experience is that this number approaches 100% if not achieving it. The only variable is whether or not the male demands her to act this way.

 

Wow, I never realised you were so idealistic.

 

Well, even though the title of my thread is "How I ditched youthful idealism and learnt to love money," I have not actually ditched youthful idealism. As I said - I still retain that "very small spark within my heart which hopes, prays, and longs for this."

 

However, I'm trying to fit into my family structure. So even if I disagree with my elder's views on life, I still have to act according to their instructions and expectations.

 

As always, I enjoyed your writing and will consider it deeply.

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Money will make you happy for a minute. True happiness comes from realizing that you need nothing. Not money, not acceptance, not admiration, not comforts, nothing. When you realize that happiness comes of its own accord, you are good to go.

 

I think what you are referring to is the seeking of joy. Happiness can be and is often fickle and doesn't last. Often people think money or the acquisition of things is the path to happiness. Heck, I know I did...and I still like a shiny thing or two now and again...LOL.

 

Joy is related to happiness, but it is much deeper, bigger than you or I. It doesn't come and go with your circumstances and is not related to how much you have or do not have. For me it is the calm within; the connection to a collective beyond my physical brain and body (No, not the Matrix, but I can see the similarities...hahaha). Some call it a connection to God or the creator, living in his/her eternal light. In my opinion, when you know true joy then you are at peace with yourself and see the blessings all around you everyday. And to find someone in the world to share that with, what a greater blessing! I haven't got there yet, but I'm working hard everyday!

 

Ok, stepping down from the spiritual soapbox.

 

Imprecision - I wish you the best on your journey. It sounds to me like you have influences all around you that give perspectives that will help you decide what is best for you. I can't give much more advice than that...

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