When did you find out that the world is unfair?
I was thinking about it sipping champagne in my premium plane seat.
I was traveling 5 hours forward. My mind was traveling 19 years backward.
What a terrible winter it was!
I counted the coins on my palm for the 5th time.
Hope and money don’t sit well with each other. We had 10 cents in total.
“So, what do we do?” I was exhausted.
My classmate’s fist hit the school fence.
His reaction unleashed a cold dark anger that is sleeping within me till the present day.
We had 10 cents in total, the school was closed, and it was -10C outside.
The coffee shop owner was kind enough to let us sit at a table with a 10-cent cup of tea for 2 hours. The food he was selling started at 50 cents. We didn’t have them.
We could share an oily 10-cent snack from the pavilion across the street, but the owner wasn’t that kind to let us eat it inside his small café.
I was freaking mastering budgeting and open questions at age 14, because “Soooo.. cold or hungry?” was cruel.
My best friend from school was freaking mastering open questions at the same age because “What did we do to deserve this?” was ungrateful. We knew it could be worse.
Nothing. We did nothing to deserve this.
We were good kids by all standards.
We managed to enter an elite school and hold our own against its ominous nickname: "The Bastille".
My mom had 2 degrees. His father had 3.
Probably still paying out the private lessons we needed to stand a chance on the entrance exams they were working several jobs.
We would wait for them until 10.00 PM to have dinner together.
We would listen about their day and send them to bed not even remotely offended when they occasionally called us by the names of our cousins.
“I swear there’ll be a day I will not be counting money for anything.” The world was unfair. My rage was real.
“I swear there’ll be a day I will drive an expensive Chevy.” My best friend’s tone matched my emotion.
We wallowed in daydreaming for a bit.
His face darkened again.
“Look at us! Just like the drunks in the local pub – talking big in the evening, going back to their sad lives in the morning.”
I refused to let go of the warm feeling just yet. I got serious.
“So, what do we do about it?”
He thought for a while.
“We graduate on top of our class.”
I wanted to tell him that our parents graduated on top of their class. One look at his face told me he knew this. It would break his heart if I said it out loud.
“Okay, we graduate on top of our class, and we show ‘em!”
“Yeah, we show ‘em all!”
On the next day after school, we went to his place to study. We cooked ourselves an abomination of an omelet. I remember his sister scolding him he should offer a better treat. It tasted like heaven.
Studying was fun. We used it to socialize.
My GPA went gradually from an average of 5.2 to a perfect 6.0 score.
At 5.50 the school gave you a monthly subsidiary.
It was a miserable amount of 10 euro, but it was 100 times further away from the “Cold or hungry” question.
He stayed at the annoying 5.49. So, he started a part-time job in IT.
I started writing his homework and essays.
Things were getting better at our homes, too. Our parents' efforts paid off.
They were home at six. They even had time to listen.
But we weren’t talking because we were used to relying on each other and our friends.
I was helping him with his heartaches.
He was helping me have a heart at all.
At age 23 I graduated university with honors while working a full-time qualified job.
At age 23 he had 5 years of experience in software engineering.
I helped him with the maths part of a task for an interview at a premium company.
He hit “send” to my CV sick of my staring contest with an open position perfectly matching my passion and education. I went through an interview for a “Junior Project Manager”. I started at a lower position.
Fast forward a couple of years. Things were going well.
A despicable tragedy hit our friends’ circle hard. It shattered our world and priorities.
He moved on by taking a job promising wealth in another part of the world.
I moved on by making the next step in my currently stagnant career.
It gets boring after this point.
Back to my premium seat and champagne. Frankly, both did very little for my terror of flying.
I wish I could tell you that this is a story about something profound like: “Study and you will succeed!” or “Knowledge is power!”.
It is NOT.
In fact, life slapped me hard in the face with a chair every time I thought my grades from school mean anything in real life.
It's about two angry kids facing a choice of “Cold or hungry” who decide to take a meaningless action for the sole purpose of being different than the drunks in the local pub.
This single meaningless action built them into the habit to act, to support each other, and hold themselves accountable for their actions.
One action led to another.
19 years of action led an angry 14-year-old girl to a booking site.
She bought a premium ticket to a luxurious destination with the sole purpose to visit every lavish attraction she can with her best friend from school, without even thinking about her budget.
Who just happened to buy a crazy expensive custom sports version of a Chevy named “Sisi”.
Take any action and cheers,