My bank account was in the red today.
It was quite fortuitous how it all happened, but I’ll spare the details. Long story short, I ended up having to beg my aunt for $3 to prevent me from getting an overdraft fee.
Here’s the irony in all of these.
If you’ve been reading my posts you know that TM and I have been fighting the past few days about ‘ambition’ and success – basically, what do those words mean to us, and how much do we value those things if we follow the standard definitions. It led to him telling me that he didn’t want to be successful “just for the sake of being successful,” that he would only become such insofar as his family needed him to, and I got upset at him about it, because I wasn’t sure how to define success if you didn’t measure it by the length of your career.
Then my account gets overdrawn.
Talk about getting knocked off your high horse.
Now, TM is sitting pretty with his cushy savings account and stable income. He has his own car, his own apartment. He pays all his bills – and manually, too; he doesn’t like to be surprised with automatic transactions. He’s saved up money to buy a plane ticket to come visit me in Japan this September. And he still has money to do fun things with every now and then.
Me, on the other hand, I can’t even tell you how many automatic subscriptions I have pulling money from my bank accounts, let alone where they’re coming from, how much they’re taking out, or even when they’re due (I know vaguely that they’re crowded around the beginning and end of each month, will all my bills due in the middle). I have absolutely no savings – in fact, I pulled the meager $20 I did have in my savings account to my checking account to offset the overdrawn cost that was there. (Still had to beg my aunt for $3.) I don’t own a car – don’t even know how much it would cost to get one – and I can’t even afford my own apartment. I’m renting out a sharehouse with 4 other girls because I can’t afford the upfront cost to move into my own place. And I don’t even know if I’ll be able to make it home for Christmas this year, because I can’t afford the plane ticket. And yet, still I somehow manage to find time to waste away my weekends drinking, seeing movies, traveling the city, and eating lots of food I don’t need. Not to mention the countless books, TV shows and mp3s I’ve bought.
So, who is it that seems more successful after all?
Here I am judging TM because he’s sitting at home not doing something he absolutely loves. Meanwhile, I think I’m doing pretty good – studying something I’m interested in at a prestigious university in Japan, ready to “change the world” – and yet I can’t even afford to eat out once a week. (Doesn’t stop me from doing it, though, and that alone should drive my point home.)
When you look at the numbers, TM is vastly more successful than I am.
Not only can he fucking take care of his self, but he has found a work-life balance that works for him, at least for now. Yeah, his job might not be the greatest thing – who’s is? – but it allows him to spend quite a bit of time with me, as well as talk to his friends, watch his favorite TV shows, study to get an engineering qualification, and save up money to do all the other things he wants, like buy a house and get married.
Meanwhile, I think I’m over here sitting pretty – “the successful graduate researcher in a foreign country” – and yet, I hate my life. I hate being stuck in this tiny apartment. I hate the fact that I can’t afford to go home and see my family. I hate that I’m not doing what I really want to do with my life. I hate that I don’t even know what I want to do with my life (though my biological clock is telling me I know exactly what I want to do with my life right now, and yet I’m not strong enough to ignore the societal pressure telling me to do anything but that).
I hate it here… I hate myself, and I hate where I’m at, and I don’t even know how to begin changing it.
And TM, who I judged so harshly for not doing what I’m trying to do – what everyone around us is telling us to do – is happy where he’s at.
I’m so jealous of that.
And I’m sorry I couldn’t see it sooner.