Everything I have in my life, I’ve worked hard to earn. I come from a working class family, but a good family; they’ve afforded me many favorable opportunities to achieve great things, see the better half of the world, and achieve ‘financial freedom’ at the age of 21. From the events that have shaped my life, I find myself living by the mantra that money can buy anything.
A few months ago, my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary and to show them my appreciation I bought an $11K solitaire diamond ring from Birk’s for my father to present to my mother. When she saw it, she immediately complained it was too small. Women; what can you do? So I went back to exchange the ring for the size she wanted and when I heard the new price I nearly fainted.
Last month, a good friend of mine was accepted into medical school after three years of trying. He is 27, and his girlfriend is 28, and he felt it was finally the right time to propose to her. I offered to help him shop for a ring because I had much more knowledge about diamond rings than any normal man should after having to buy my mother’s ring. I took him to all the places I shopped: Cartier, Birk’s, and Tiffany’s, but the whole time he seemed so disconnected and unenthusiastic. I thought maybe he was having second thoughts about proposing. Later I found out that with his budget of only $1000, he couldn’t afford even the cheapest rings at those places. When I heard that, my heart quenched.
It turns out that he had been barely scraping by while working as a research clerk for the past three years. The entire time, his girlfriend had stayed by his side roughing it out the whole way. Definitely gave me some stark contrast to my last girlfriend who complained because I parked my car too far from the restaurant (at the closest park spot; a 45 seconds walk away!). He told me that his girlfriend didn’t care what ring he bought her, she was just excited about the idea of him proposing to her. I heard that and I got so emotional; it was just so ideal and angelic, something I could not fathom. I soon found myself contemplating if whether that mythical idea could be real, that perhaps he did finally find it… the inkling some spend their entire lives searching for, that notion of ‘true love’.
If that was true love, I couldn’t just let it casually pass by. I took him back into the stores and suggested that he didn’t have to buy the ring now, but he could just look at some different designs and learn about the different qualities of diamond to become more knowledgeable for later. When he did happen to come across the ideal ring his girlfriend wanted, it was only $3K, so I bought it on the way out and gave it to him on the car as a wedding present. He hugged me so tightly; it was beautiful.
I literally spend the rest of that week pondering about ‘true love’. Myself, personally I never bought into the idea. I had a very different perspective largely shaped by the fortunate privilege of living out my youth in penthouses, driving fancy sports cars, and indulging in all the sensual and emotional pleasure every young adolescent boy can dream of. The parties, expensive toys, exotic vacations, and thousand dollar sunglasses; you could imagine it wasn’t very difficult to lure girls into “falling in love with me” (or was it my lifestyle rather?). I was never delusional though, I was always aware these girls loved me for all the same reasons I loved them for their blonde hair and blue eyes. I just figured this was the way life goes.
But what if I’m wrong? What if I’ve been wasting away in a world of lust and desire this entire time; trapped by my own covetousness and love was my only salvation?
In that case, perhaps one should not venture to fulfill every avaricious desire for power, fortune and fame, but rather endeavour to be a principled man with good virtues. Possibly only then will such a man attract a good woman of similar character who would struggle with him through the rough times and care for him when he has nothing. If I ever meet such a woman, I pledge to give her my loyalty and promise to love her from this life to the next. Forever, I will treat her as my queen and she will love me truly for the man I am, and perhaps from this will emerge a nirvana greater than the sum of what all earthly hedonistic pursuits can provide.
As finding such a woman like that, is truly something money cannot buy.
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