Family, Fidelia Hall, Life, Titusville, PA

Goodbye Muted World: Seven Years Ago

About seven years ago I was told the truth about how someone close to me had made their money in the world. Before that, I was under the impression that it was through years of hard work and dedication to their craft. It made sense to me for such a long time. Since I was a child I was told that hard work and dedication would pay off. I believed this because that's what you do as a child: you tend to believe what the adults in your life tell you.

Once I learned the truth about how someone close to me earned their way ahead in life, everything changed. I had long wondered why my hard work and dedication to my job hadn't paid off yet. I was still struggling to get groceries. I couldn't afford to buy a proper home for my growing family. I was at the point where things should have been changing, but everything remained the same. My outlook on modern life changed. Gone was the hope that all of this work in libraries would "pay off". Now listen, I always knew I wasn't gonna get rich being a librarian. I never really wanted to get rich. I just wanted to be able to exist. But after this it donned on me that the ability to exist wasn't gonna happen.

In the world we've created, there's always this extra step that people gotta take to make it. You've gotta give up part of your soul, lose your innocence, align yourself with someone who has money, or dabble in things that get you ahead. I decided I wasn't gonna do any of that and here I am now.

I wouldn't change a thing about the life I surround myself with. As a family we're top notch. We've got a connection, we've got a unique life, and we've got love. None of that is worth losing just to get ahead in the world.

At the same time, I'm recognizing in a post anti depressant world that there are hurdles and bumps along the way. Tonight was a big one that can't get out of my head. After visiting a friend this evening we walked home and I had to explain to Finn (age 8) why we couldn't stop along the way to have a drink in a local restaurant. "We don't have any money right now" is something that's really hard to say to your kid. To Finn, it's not just a quick 20 minute stop at a restaurant to have a soda. For him it's an experience and a moment in his childhood. And I couldn't give that to him. I was, and still am at this moment, almost completely devastated over the fact that I couldn't have a $2 soda with my family.

After talking a bit more Finn said, "I wish we were so rich we could get a mansion and not live in this old house". I explained to him that it wasn't that simple, but I couldn't elaborate much more because I was completely spent mentally. I spent the rest of the night partially mute because anything I said came out grumpy and frustrated, further fueling my present state of sadness.

Learning how that someone close to me had made their money in the world did two things for me:

  1. It showed me the path I did not want to take because I did not want to lose all that was good and pure in the world.
  2. It showed me how fake the world that we've constructed around us really is. If you wanna be a part of this world, you've gotta lie and cheat the system.

I know I chose the right path, but goddamnit sometimes I just wish I could get that soda with my family.

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5 thoughts on “Goodbye Muted World: Seven Years Ago”

  1. I love you my friend. You are amazing and have that thing money can’t buy–humanity, empathy, LOVE and you inspire people!

    I sometimes feel bad when I see all these parents taking their kids to Disneyland, Europe and other amazing places that I never got the chance to go to. Then I think–dammit–I’m an amazing, awesome and unique person and those things didn’t make me into that. Other people, books, and love made me into the man I am today.

    This is my hope for my children, that they learn money doesn’t buy happiness, or make you into a great person. In fact, it can do the opposite.

    THank you for writing this–it struck a chord with me!

    1. Thank you friend. I needed to hear your words this morning. The idea that money actually buys anything worthwhile is such a silly one…and I find myself needing the constant reminder that I don’t have to “buy the world” for my children in order for them to have a good life.

  2. I love this post so, so much. I go through this with my family all the time. Sadly, my 10-year-old does have an understanding of how much everything costs because so often I’ve had to say, “We just don’t have the money right now.” And yet, like you said, we live decent lives. We live good lives and fuck those that don’t. We’re basically happy. Not happy-happy-joy-joy all the time, but happy enough.
    You’re fucking fantastic, Justin.

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