Something I’ve come to notice about Dallas is that strangers talk to each other. In elevators, lines, at dog parks, restaurants and even on the side walk. I love it, it gives a big city a small town vibe, and I never feel lonely. This is also totally different than what I’m used to up north where people actively avoid eye contact.
That being said, I’m still getting used to chatting with Uber drivers as opposed to scrolling through my phone in blissful silence. So when I landed in DFW after a 6:00 a.m. flight and a 10-day trip to visit friends and family in New England I was hoping for a nonverbal ride.
But I’m glad I didn’t get what I wished for, my cab driver, a first generation Pakistani immigrant, said something so profound that I’ll remember it for years. Hopefully his words will help keep me grounded and ease my anxiety about not finding a conventional full time job right away.
My cab driver, a first generation Pakistani immigrant, said something so profound that I’ll remember it for years.
He said, money was “just the color of paper.” He elaborated, “at this point of my life I’ve worked hard, I started working when I was 11-years-old on my family’s farm. I came to the U.S. knowing just a few words of English.” He held up four fingers to count them off: “Hi, How Are You, Where are You Going, Thank You,” and “that was enough to get by as a New York City driver.”
I put down my phone and he continued, “I’m done working so hard. I’ve already done that. Now, all I need to be happy is a cup of water, cup of rice, and maybe some soup. Everything else is just the color of paper. That’s just what it is, the color of paper.
Money, material things, and status, are superficial. Beyond satisfying our basic needs money is just that, color on paper. I don’t know about you but beyond making paper chains for birthday parties as a kid, colored paper has never filled me with an extraordinary sense of joy.
I was not expecting to have a deep conversation with an Uber driver at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning but it was something I really needed to hear. I have to be easier on myself about not having the same level of income that I did when I was in Massachusetts. Making less money doesn’t make me less of a person and it shouldn’t make me feel unfulfilled. This move to Dallas is an adventure and an opportunity to try new things and that is what I always wanted out of the move. I should feel comfortable being where I’m at.
Money will come and money will go but as long as I have love, friendships and maybe some good belly laughs, that’s all I really need to be happy. What helps keeps you grounded?