You Can’t “Learn” To Stop Chasing Money

Not when being poor is all you’ve ever known.

The kids of Tondo, Manila. Image by John Christian Fjellestad

Practical advice may not always work

Getting out of a soulless job, even if you’re poor

Pay is like a pack of addicting chips: You always need to take just one more.

A scene in From Up on Poppy Hill by Studio Ghibli.
Mornings in my rural hometown, when the sun has just risen and the chilly breeze whistles. Image by NgJi3Qi

I stepped through the university gates, for the first time in four months, and I immediately felt it: The murmurs, voices, and expressions vibrated and bounced on the walls and the grounds. The laughs and cheers and hugs and jeers happening all around me — they all felt… so young.

I lived on 30 to 40-minute naps on my jeepney commute or during the classes I managed to attend. It was the only sleep I got in a day. Then I crammed a nap or two during day-offs, if we didn’t have presentations to practice or projects to shoot.

Last days in the hallways of my old university. Image by author

I’m missing out on the prime experiences of my youth, for what? A car? A condo? A safety net to ensure that, should the worse happen to my dad, I can at least keep living this cycle of deprived sleep and money chasing?

A traditional commuter jeepney. Image by author

Relationships, Culture, Polyamory, and Running. More stories at Twitter @JPucay or email me at

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