733: Rich or Poor?
When Selena was young she had a very difficult life. She was born in a village in Guangdong, China called Yunfu. Yunfu was a village made up of farmers who were barely able to survive. Her family was large, she was the youngest of seven children and with so many mouths to feed each child had to work hard to help get food on the table. There was not any extra money to buy nice clothes or to go on vacations. The only hope that the family had was that one of the children would be able to get into a university and become successful enough to help the rest of the family. So each child spent every spare moment studying. They had no free time except for when they went to sleep at night. Life was hard for Selena as a kid, but it was the only life she knew so she accepted it and she went through it without complaining.
As Selena grew, all the studying paid off. She was able to get good grades and pass her exams and eventually got into a university, where she majored in art. The university she attended was in Shenzhen. Selena was the only child to make it out of Yunfu.
Shenzhen was the complete opposite of Yunfu. In Yunfu people had been working the land for many years, traditions were strong there, but poverty was too. Shenzhen was a young city, people went there to make their fortunes and the shops and malls were popping up everywhere to help those people spend their money.
There were so many people in Shenzhen and Selena made many new friends. One of these friends introduced her to a man from a foreign country. After a couple of years of dating they got married and soon were expecting a daughter. After the daughter was born, Selena’s life changed again. Now she was living in Denmark with a new husband and a new baby. Selena’s husband was a pilot and was often away from home so it fell to Selena to take care of her daughter alone. She really didn’t mind taking care of the baby, but the stress of a new language, a new home and a new country eventually got to her and so her husband quit being a pilot and stayed home to help raise their daughter. They still needed an income, so husband and wife started a business and it was very successful. Money became plentiful in the household and Selena began buying all kinds of designer bags and clothes. She would rather shop than work.
Selena now had everything she had worked so hard for when she was in Yunfu. And she also gained a different view of life and it wasn’t always positive. In Yunfu where her life was so difficult, she was too busy working and studying in order to help her family that she didn’t have time to stop and think about the things she didn’t have or places she couldn’t go. She had goals to reach and was very focused. But when she saw the bright lights of the city and the shops and restaurants and all the luxuries that money could buy, and she finally didn’t have to work so hard, she lost some of her purpose. The wealth changed Selena’s personality and opened her eyes to a world that showed her all the things she didn’t have. When she was young she didn’t possess much but she was content, now that there was money she lost pleasure in the simple things. The money made life easier, but it didn’t make Selena more satisfied with her life.
Selena is my mother and I love her dearly. She has taught me many things, but I think the most important lesson I have learned from her is that money doesn’t buy happiness.