The Poor Advantage
Now that I’m finally paying off my debts, I can honestly say that this past year has been the poorest year of my entire life. I went from having no money, and sleeping out on the street, to living in my own apartment complete with a queen sized bed. I am so thankful that I live in a country where it’s possible to pull myself out of poverty in a year. That said, I’ve learned an odd lesson: there are some advantages to being poor.
Now don’t get me wrong, I take poverty seriously. Being poor actually endangered my life on more than one occasion. Just the act of riding a bicycle is much more dangerous than driving a new car. But I guess I just find it funny that there are still a few things that are kinda nice about being poor.
It’s a good diet. When I lived in Minnesota, I would go to the grocery store and buy a cart full of pizzas. I’d pile in the cookies and doughnuts without ever caring about what anything cost. My kitchen was stocked full of chips and icecream, and all the cheap fatty foods that made me balloon to almost 180 pounds. Now when I go to the grocery store, I have to really think about what I’m buying. “Can I afford this? Do I really need this?” And since I don’t have a car, I have to buy only what I can carry on my bicycle – usually about 7 items, max. That helps me choose only the important items, like eggs, vegetables, chicken, and fruit. And I’ve had to learn how to cook things that aren’t so microwavable and expensive. Being poor has helped me lose almost 30 pounds.
Of course, my bicycle helped with that too. I can’t afford a car yet, so my bike has been my best friend this past year. Biking every day has made me lose so much weight I almost look like a different person. I now have muscles that I never even knew existed. I went on a hike the other day, and it actually felt great. Normally I frump around and complain the whole time. But I wasn’t dragging my feet, or even sweating. I was bounding up ledges, and striding down hills. It was refreshing to feel like I was physically fit for the first time since the 5th grade.
Being poor has also helped me appreciate things. Every day I come home, I have this warm happy feeling like, I am so grateful that I have a place to sleep. I have a computer, and a bed, and the internet. I almost makes me want to cry at how much I love these simple things. It’s as if I’ve come home to a mansion.
Not having many things has also made it easy to shop for me. I went to the store yesterday and just drooled over simple things like an ice tray. Or a welcome mat. Or a wash cloth. I saw them as luxurious items that only rich people have. I have a pot, and a pan, and a wooden spoon. That’s my cooking utensils! Anyone who wants to buy me things for Christmas or my birthday is going to have a very easy time. Whatever they can think of, I’m almost certain not to have it.
But the biggest advantage to being poor is learning who I am. I learned that I have a strong constitution, and I can take charge and be responsible. I am more creative, and intelligent than I ever gave myself credit for, and I am a serious money maker. I will never look down on anyone who lives in a small place, or doesn’t have enough to eat. I want to make lots of money so I have enough to give to charity, and help others pull themselves out of poverty. Because poverty isn’t a race, or a type of person. Poverty is a word. It’s just a word that people use to compare each other. And compared to many people in this world, I’ve learned that I have enormous riches inside myself.