A friend told me, "You really shouldn't have left money lying around. Alam mo naman ang poor."
"Excuse me," I said. "I grew up poor and I never ever was tempted to steal. Not even tempted! Hello, para namang mayaman ka rin. Parehas lang tayo pakalat-kalat sa kalye nung bata pa tayo. Wala yan sa kesyo poor ka o rich. May mga tao talagang maitim ang budhi!"
Until I find out what really happened, I won't talk about it. Well, I don't even know if I'll find out the truth so maybe I'll tell you one day. Meanwhile, I've been thinking about growing up poor and how glad I am that my parents and grandparents raised me so well that I never stole, cheated, envied, became greedy or begrudged those who had more material wealth.
I am also grateful that I was raised a Born-Again Christian. It's hard to have poor mentality when I knew I was the daughter of the King and a member of His royal priesthood. I am a princess and a priestess! There is no room for envy and self-pity in the heart of one so blessed!
But I will admit that having so little when I was growing up did still leave vestiges of poor mentality on me. There's this funny but insightful article on Cracked.com that talks about the stupid habits you develop when you grow up poor. Go, read it! You have to read it first so you'll understand why it's habits of poor mentality. Thankfully, I only caught two of the habits! Here they are:
You develop a taste for bad food. I won't name brands but for the longest time, my experience of La Paz batchoy was from a noodle company. Their La Paz batchoy is soooo good! So when I finally encountered the real thing, I didn't like it!
Same goes with coffee. Ngayon lang naman ako pa-brewed-brewed, pa-Cappucino, Americano. Please, with warm cream and brown sugar. Ang type ko naman talaga instant coffee. But that's not something I'll ever admit in public (shhh!) because I'm surrounded by sosyal people now.
You want to go overboard on gifting. Well, I kinda got over this affliction when the kids came haha. But before the kids, I loved giving gifts. To everyone! My goodness, sayang ang pera!!! Haha, I gave nga kasi to everyone—family, friends, friends of friends, people who are nice to me at work, the condo guards, the neighbors, the everybody!
There was this one time I felt really bad because... Okay, many years ago, there were two girls named Frances in the publishing company where I used to work, one was an editor and I, well, I was the new PR girl. But everyone was nice to me so that Christmas, I gave sooo many people gifts. The other Fran got the thanks. Nobody thought the gift came from me because, really, no one knew me! Sayang ang pera ko! Lalo na't ang liit pa ng sweldo ko then. Poor me. Literally!Hmm, come to think of it, I think there are other habits of a poor mentality. Add these to the list:
- Poor people buy tingi. Sachets, sample sizes, cellphone load.
- The poor always make tawad. Argh. Vince hates this! He says it's embarrassing when I haggle. He says, "If you can't afford full price, don't buy it!" He's actually okay if I haggle in Greenhills, tiangge, market. But the habit is deeply ingrained—sometimes I make tawad sa department store or at boutiques! Cringe!
- Poor people dream to be an employee for life. Aha! Most of us go to school so we can end up working in some company. We spend so much in schooling just so we can make money for someone else! Poor people think that they have to have a boss. It's okay to have a good, steady job, of course. But you'll never be a billionaire as long as you're working for someone else.
The really rich aren't obsessed with money, to be honest. They love that it's there, of course, but they treat money as a tool and a by-product of success. That's another poor mentality thing: Poor people think money is the measure of one's success. While that is mostly true, true success is doing what you love, being who you really are. So gather the courage to be yourself and do what you were meant to do on this earth. Then you'll be truly wealthy!