The Thirst to Acquire and the Dreams We Can't Live


"I will work part-time while finishing university in Vietnam"  I'd repeated that sentence to others and to myself thousands time. In the first week home, I already asked people to recommend me job.

During the process of discovering my dream to become a writer, I started to dig deeper into the field, and learning the craft of arranging words. Few days ago, the thought of "part-time job" suddenly seemed daunting. I would prefer to be in my room, reading, writing, rather than doing whatever work.

I began to ask myself:

- So I thought I needed a part-time.

- For what?

- To earn money I guess 

- For what? 

- To ... I don't know, save?  or buy stuff? 

But I had everything I need! I had the luck to live with my parents and being fed by them. What about other "stuff"? Which stuff? I didn't need anything else. I had a laptop that functioned and could help me work, a room, a telephone, books, food... What else do I need?


Not long ago, I found on a Bloomberg article how "Apple Looks to Status-Hungry Vietnam for Growth": " Bich Ngoc, who earns less than $60 a week and has a newborn son, cobbled together four months of savings to buy the latest iPhone so she could impress her colleagues who have older versions of the device. “I like the iPhone because it is small, light and very delicate,” said Ngoc, a 24-year-old accountant in Hanoi who purchased the device last week. “Everyone seems a bit jealous.”

I imagine that same Vietnamese mother now would have to endless hours working just to pay the loan. If Bich Ngoc had a dream of having her own bakery, would she dare to quit whatever she is doing, and take a path where the money is no longer secure ?

Will Rogers once famously said:

Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like.

I look around and see many people who, from 9 to 5, do things they don't like to earn the money and buy stuff they don't need. Stuff now instead of being our servant, rose up to become our master. It dictates what we do and whether we choose to live our dream.


In order to break that chain, we can start breaking it from the way around, to know that there are actually few things we need to be able to live a free, comfortable life. Francine Jay in her book "The Joy of Less" so finely wrote:

They tell us that more stuff means more happiness, when in fact, more stuff often means more headaches and more debt... We are not what we own; we are what we do, what we think and who we love

And when we lifted the money burden on our shoulder, we could dare to take risk, to not do things for the sheer money value of it.

This thought encouraged me to postpone getting a part-time and use my luck of being a belated university student more wisely. I've chosen to invest time in becoming a better writer, by writing, reading and reading about writing.

I have never felt more alive and free.


What about you?

What would you do if you are freed from the pressure to make money?

featured photo credit: William Cho