Being raised in a fairly comfortable life, I would have never known how hard life can be until my parents’ business went bankrupt and I went so broke. For twenty years, money had never been an issue in the family. The business handled by my parents went so well. When there was a global economic crisis, our business was severely affected.
At the age of 24, I realized that the future can be uncertain. If I have to turn back time, I should have learned to save much and never used credit cards. As I watched my parents went through bankruptcy, I was also struggling with my own credit card debts. What made the problem more critical was I had to deal it alone. It’s because acquiring three credit cards was out of their knowledge. They had warned me before not to get more than one credit card. I never listened to them as I was confident with our prospering life.
I had to do two kinds of jobs to pay my debts. I worked full time handling a supervisory position in a company and worked part time as a college instructor. I learned how to discern about a want and a need every time I have to spend a part of my income. I felt the need to embark on a low-key lifestyle. It was embarrassing but it was a humbling experience.
It was kind of distressing to see the look in my parents’ worn out faces. I knew they were dealing with sleepless nights and sometimes a loss of appetite. My Dad lost 20 pounds even he gave up golfing. But he seemed happier with his new weight. Seeing his wrinkled smile gave me hope and relief. I think he was effortlessly teaching me how to be always positive about life through leading an example. He normally went through anxieties and sleepless nights but he never thought of succumbing to alcohol to forget his problems. I was glad that we can still laugh and enjoy each other’s company even in the trying times.
I could not believe I was able to hurdle the turn of events. I learned that I could be happy in simple things like street food and a new dress from a bargain sale. I became content when shopping without swiping a credit card. This crucial change got me a new perspective about life and the people around me. I felt more empathetic when I see a homeless person in the street. I knew the feeling of living with less. When I would arrive home from work, I could see my parents relaxing in the family den. It was something I never got to witness when we still had the family business because work and pressure ate a lot of their time. We got to spend more time together at home.
Thinking about all the changes we went through as a family, I surmise the bankruptcy of our business was a blessing in disguise. It made me a more humble and compassionate person.