Every other Wednesday, I am put back in line and reminded how lucky I am. Sometimes, through the week, I complain because so many Loyola students are handed things. My roommate from last year, for instance, didn’t have a job and still managed to have a weekly shopping trip, where she averaged about $150 a week. Not to mention she went tanning and always ate out and could afford absolutely everything. That wasn’t my case; I worked 15 hours a week at Loyola and even tried working at McDonalds on York Road for some extra help and I still couldn’t keep up with her – because I refuse to accept money from my parents. Obviously, this was more frustrating than anything. Though every Wednesday at 6 o’clock, I am reminded just how unimportant that is. I was frustrated that someone had to work less and got more than me, but at least it’s only money. On Wednesday’s, I spend my time with people who’s life story is “I work more and get less than everyone else.”
Last Wednesday, I met a man who said he was coming home from work and just stopped by to get some dinner. We started talking and I asked him where he worked, he told me all about it and then told me, “I work over 50 hours a week and still can’t afford my mortgage.” He said he goes to the grocery store once a month and when he runs out of food – that’s it for the month. Every paycheck he receives goes to outstanding debt or his mortgage and he can’t buy enough food until the creditors stop calling. Now, of course, if he were in debt, you’d think he did something to get there, but according to him, you’d be wrong. He went on about how it’s just not fair that he has to pay all this debt when he didn’t spend a dime. He told me how he was locked up in prison for around six months because his friend stole a car, didn’t tell him, and when they got busted - he freaked out because he thought he did nothing wrong. So, they charged him with association. Well, while he was in prison, his then wife, now ex-wife, decided she was going to go crazy with his money and drove his credit into the ground, and just about took everything with it. So he couldn’t even afford a good enough divorce lawyer to make her pay the debt.
So now this man is working harder than anyone I know and not being able to enjoy any of it. Which makes me learn a few different lessons: 1. There are more important things than work and money, enjoy your life as much as you can and don’t work your life away – because Emily Dickinson will relate more to your life as your life goes on. 2. Feel blessed about everything good in your life, no matter how big or small, because if it ever goes away, you’re guaranteed to miss it. 3. No matter what’s hurting your heart right now, don’t be hesitant to hear other people’s stories – you might just find that what you’re crying over isn’t half bad – or you might even find someone who’s going through the same exact thing as you. 4. Lastly, but somewhat post importantly, maybe, just maybe, don’t get into anyone’s car without seeing their registration first.