It struck me deeply when 2 weeks ago I read a post from my schoolmate back then in Malacca. Previously, I tried to avoid even by the smallest comparison to begin with because I believe I would do it under the conscience of being an under achiever. It is easier to see the greener side of our next door compare to seeing the barren side of it. In simpler term, I do not want to get depressed unnecessarily.
The post reminds me of my childhood memories. I was brought up in a low income family. We lived in a low cost housing scheme. As previously I wrote, at that time, that was the world that I know of. Everything seemed relatively at par. The houses, the cars, the kids at school, the clothes they wore, the games we played, the food we ate - everything was almost at same level. I didn't compare, in fact, I couldn't even compare if I wanted to.
I didn't hear stories of oversea vacations because economically speaking, generally we couldn't afford it. I couldn't recall riding in a private car because firstly my family couldn't afford to own a car, and so are my friends' family. Let alone to experience being in a luxury car. To me, it's a kind of thing existed only in TV.
Therefore, as a kid, I didn't complaint much. I was happy to play badminton using the heavy and cheap racket I bought for less than RM5 from the only stationary store I knew. My parents couldn't afford to buy me toys of the famous weekend cartoons advertised in the TV. I didn't complaint because I was not even taught to do so. Almost all of my friends came from similar background. We had similar set of toys or nothing at all.
To earn a living, there's nothing spectacular to mention of. I wouldn't say there was a void of an ambition but life was comfortable as it was. Perhaps the achievement was set to what is within grasp. It's reflected within my family. I noticed it among my close neighbours and throughout the neighbourhood too, generally.
Somehow, few of us got lucky, gifted by the Almighty (thank God) to be able to get good results thus placing us in new venture - a venture that would slowly matured us and elevated us from the world that we used to know of. Like others, I was placed in a new circle. A circle that destroyed the parity that I was comfortable with ever since.
From this point onwards, the word is imparity. It is the conclusion for all struggles, challenges and difficulties I faced in life as an adult. I am still searching to understand the huge imparity within my circles. Circle of friends, friends of friends, co-workers, the people I work with in the industry and so on. My circles has now become bigger. And bigger it is the word imparity has become.
I have a friend who has bought a million dollar house. I have few friends who own luxury cars. I have friends who wear only branded items. I have friends who eat at fine diner and enjoy being spotted at (in most cases, by uploading it on Facebook for others to spot it, technically it's like they shouted for someone to notice). Most of my friends have went for holidays at exotic locations all over the world.
Frankly, I can't afford all those but I am in no way trying to imply those friends of mine also do not deserve the affordability to enjoy the good life. Perhaps, I am really bad at managing my financial well being. Or, in fact I am just trying to come out with a mere rationale, just to ease my worries due to my lack of understanding of these imparities.
I tried not to be overly concerned with the imparities by focusing more on giving the best in bringing up my family. In a way, consciously, I am very thankful to God because I never felt incomplete or having the feeling of always not enough when delivering my role to raise my family. Therefore, with those luxuries that I can't afford put aside, I am happy and comfortable with my current well being.
However, the contentment shall be nurtured and conserved well even when it transcends beyond the family circle. The challenge is when I am out of the family circle, I am exposed to the urge of status levitation by the outside circle (levitation: the process by which an object is suspended by a physical force against gravity). Though most of the time I managed to keep my feet on the ground, at times, there will be a situation that incites the discontentment.
Generally, discontentment happens through the new social media disease when subconsciously it becomes the platform for showing off. But in one case, it really hit me when I was not invited by some close friends to attend a motor show on one weekend. The realization came because I never showed interest when the duo was discussing the beautiful touring they are dreaming to buy during our evening tea sessions. Realizing how my feet stands on the ground, I know it is going to be a long dream to own a touring car hence it's better for me not to overly excited over it. The key word is 'unless' - unless you know you can afford it.
Never such it occured to me that I was sidelined due to imparity. I gave my thought about this to my lovely wife who later shed a tear. I am not deeply affected by this and it gave me a clear indication where I should position myself within a certain circle. I still do have a strong believe that by providing the best to my family remains my main focus, then everything shall be fine.
That is when 2 weeks ago, my schoolmate posted a rather touching experience of him celebrating the birthday of his son. He is in the beginning of starting a business and perhaps is still not running very well. The son asked where is the birthday cake when he answered that he can only afford to present him with just a piece of 'roti canai'.
This scenario touched me deeply. I can reflect myself in both places - the father and the son. As a father, I strongly believe that my friend wanted to give the best for his children and unfortunately at that time, that was the best he could do. Whatever it is, the pure love of a father to his children that matters the most and I am glad that his son understands his situation.
With his fatherly love as precedence, I should now concern on another form of imparity. I would try my best to eliminate the imparity of love, if any, towards my family especially during hard times like his.
Screw the material world.