By Mary Hunt – It was a typically hot California summer day. I needed to get away alone to think things through. In desperation I grabbed the car keys and took off, no particular destination in mind. I wandered around for a while hoping the pain would go away but it didn’t. I ended up at my in-laws’ home, relieved to discover no one there. I didn’t feel much like talking.
I found the key, slipped in through the back door and fell into the closest chair. I could hardly breathe and not because of the heat. To call this “anxiety” would be a serious understatement. Never before in my 34 years had I known such loss, fear and dread. I was out of options. Nowhere to turn, no help. And worse, no hope.
My life centered on a simple premise, which became my secret promise: When I grow up I am going to be rich. Very rich.
From my earliest recollections, my life centered on a simple premise, which became my secret promise: When I grow up I am going to be rich. Very rich. I wasn’t going to be like my family, which I perceived to be poor. I blamed our poverty for the cloud of sadness and despair that hung over my life. How I would become rich wasn’t important, only that I would.
In time my plan became my reality. It was the comfort I craved and needed to fill a void deep inside of me. That promise turned into the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I saw it as my ticket to happiness. On this fictional foundation I built all of my hopes and my dreams. I fixed my eyes and set my heart on that “Someday” when I would grow up, leave home, have lots of money and be happy.
I went away to college, a scared freshman reduced to something between bewilderment and embarrassment. I didn’t fit in. My clothes were all wrong, my hair wasn’t right. I didn’t have a car; I was backward, small-town, sheltered and naïve. I was an oddball. Everything about me was weird and I was devastated.
I wanted to be like the cool people, to fit in and to be accepted. I knew I could learn. I was confident I could change provided I had a plan. There was just one tiny problem: I needed money.