Today I want to talk about privilege.
More specifically, about using privilege.
Let’s be honest. Someone who’s able to live off her savings for a year must be privileged AF.
And yes, I am indeed privileged AF.
I’m privileged in what I have:
- I have loved ones who are incredibly supportive.
- I have parents who are healthy.
- I had a decent income to save up for this.
And I’m privileged in what I don’t have:
- I don’t have any financial commitments.
- I don’t have any dependents.
- I don’t have any health issues.
- I didn’t have circumstances that forced me into taking time off.
Gosh, what a peachy life! These are all things to celebrate, surely!
Here’s the thing.
All this privilege makes me feel guilty.
Isn’t it kind of gross that I have so much goodness in my life, and yet I’m dissatisfied?
I just made myself feel a little sick.
I thought it was “the right thing to do” to not use my privileges.
I can’t fully explain why.
Something along the line of, if I don’t use my privilege, somehow whatever I do is more “worthwhile”.
Maybe because the story of the self-made millionaire is so much more romantic than the one born with a silver spoon.
Most of all, I loathed the idea of turning into a self-entitled brat.
In reality it meant denying the abundance in my life, to no one’s benefit.
As an example, here’s how it went when I first shared with my dad about the plan to take a year off:
- Dad: “That’s an amazing idea! Pa’s going to contribute some $ so you can worry less during this year!”
- Me: “WHAT? NO. I don’t need it! I can do it myself!”
- Dad: “But… why?”
I later realised that was my dad’s way of expressing love, which I had just thrown back into his face much to his confusion.
And for what?
No one benefits from this. Instead, I just suffer.
Denying my privilege was the equivalent of the juiciest, lowest hanging fruit on the tree…
and rotting on the ground…
All while I’m there, watching, doing nothing.
Grandma’s right. It would be stupid not to use it.
This is what my parents and grandparents worked so hard to provide me with.
To give me the luxury of having options.
In twiddling my thumbs over here saying, “oh no, I shouldn’t” just because I feel bad, I’m making them suffer by denying their gifts.
No one else is going to get these gifts just because I said no.
I’m making myself suffer by refusing opportunities.
And, dare I take this further, I’m making the world suffer by leaving unrealized potential to rot.
Really, I should enjoy it.
Recognising my privilege means knowing I can 100% afford to fail.
If these 12 months don’t work out, I know I will still have a place to come home to and financial support from loved ones anytime it’s needed.
And this first step of recognition has been absolutely critical in me going “I can do this” despite all the fear, terror and anxiety.
And not only that: I’m starting to embrace so much more potential.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to translate that into meaningful impact to make the world a little better.
It also means recognising that not everyone is as privileged.
Definitely not everyone has circumstances which line up as nicely as mine.
It is the confluence of many, many factors that need to be in harmony at a single point in time to be able to take 12 months with no income.
For some, it might be easier than others.
For others, it might be impossible.
And even if you do have the same privilege, you may not wish to use it, for your own reasons.
Let’s not judge each other for the choices we make.
So yes, I’ve struck gold in the lottery life — and I’m cashing out!
But I’m not cashing out just for myself.
I also want to grow this abundance through sharing.
This blog is how I want to share my privilege with all of you reading.
Along the way, I’ll be sharing things I learn and do during my 12 months.
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