I'm going to be writing a series of posts on some of the things that make/made me feel poor. But first, let me make it clear that I'm not trying to throw a pity party for myself. I am very much aware of the fact that compared to majority of the world's population, even when I felt poor, I really wasn't poor. But I also believe that our memories and experiences profoundly influence how act and behave today. So, I write these posts as more of a cathartic, helpful exercise. It makes me profoundly grateful for the many blessings I have today.
Grocery shopping wasn't nearly as fun for me and my brother as it was for our friends. While other kids were being bribed with promises of candy and fun for good behavior, we were being told in no uncertain terms that candy and vending machines (i.e., anything that dispensed gumballs, candy, soda, snacks or toys) were strictly off limits. And those mechanical rides that cost 25 cents for 60 seconds of shake, rattle and roll? Forget it. We got pretty good at playing make-believe. But oh for just one quarter!
Today, when I buy convenience items from a vending machine, like an ice cold bottle of Coca-Cola Blak or a pack of mints, I feel an immediate and inevitable sense of guilt. I can hear my mom's voice in the back of my head telling me that I should wait for these things to go on sale or buy them in a multi-pack. I have to remind myself that I'm a busy professional, and that my time is worth something, as well. But even so, it's enough to stop me sometimes from reaching for that candy bar or that bottle of soda.