I was born and grew up in a family that could, at best, be described as a middle-income one in Vietnam. None of my family members went to university because of the wars and the economic difficulty that ensued. For a time, there was nothing I wanted more than going abroad at all cost without wrecking my family’s finance. Luck pitied me and gave me a chance to go to Finland. I landed in the Nordic country in February 2010. Whatever the joy of walking in a foreign land soon was extinguished by the cold at the peak winter in Finland. Or so I thought. Weeks passed by and I realized it wasn’t as much fun as I thought. It didn’t fill me up.
When I was ignorant and young around the teenage age, I set a goal of becoming a marketing manager for a company by the time I was 30 years old. I couldn’t remember what triggered the dream, but it was what I set out to do for a while. 3 years after I came back to Vietnam from abroad, I did it by merit and myself. The problem is what I felt after I did it. I remember vividly the first night after work as the Marketing Manager for a real estate corporation in Vietnam. I didn’t feel as much as I thought I would. I just felt tired and a bit empty. I didn’t feel ecstatic as I thought I would. It didn’t fill me up.
It took me quite a while after that to realize that whatever physical or materialistic goals I ever had never filled me up. The title, the money and what could be bought with it never filled me up. The best I felt was to learn new things every day either by reading, listening to videos online or talking to folks, and to spend time with the people who genuinely loved me and I genuinely loved back.
I am glad that at the age of 28, I realized that. I wouldn’t want at the age of 60, being an old man realizing that for years I have been chasing something that doesn’t make me happy. And at 80, there is not much I could do anymore. What a waste of life, isn’t it?
I know personally a few people who genuinely feel good with earning money and what it brings. I don’t think it inherently is bad or wrong. It is just not what makes me happy. If you are reading and feel the same, there is no shame in feeling it. It’s normal in my opinion.