Things Not Earned by Lois Hewitt

It should be a fairy tale ending. A young girl is given a car at 16. When she marries at 19, she gets a house. She basically has not done a thing to earn these things.

The house is too big for the two of them. It’s not what she wants but feeling that way seems like she is ungrateful. She is not that, but there is a lot of guilt that goes with the gift.

All her friends are struggling to make a start. She, although it is not spoken, wishes she could get a small place and grow into it. That is the normal progression of things. She sees it in everyone’s eyes… Must be nice and what did you do to deserve this. This could be real or imagined or a little bit of both.

Bad decisions are made, the kind that haunt for years to come. High expectations are made as to how she should act. Forever grateful although racked with more guilt every day.

That girl was me. I was given the family house when I got married. I never felt right about it because I didn’t deserve it, I had not earned it. I stayed there silently feeling like a prisoner. Even saying that after all these years sounds so wrong. But I felt I had no way out.

I know the gift was given with the best of intentions. That made it so much harder to hate. By the end, the place was underwater financially, I was drowning in my own years of remorse and regret. When I left at the age of 52, I still didn’t feel deserving.

That’s probably why I went all the way to the other side. I didn’t want anything. The things had owned me for so long, I wanted to be free.

A few years have passed and my list of possessions is a little longer. But this time, I worked for them. This time I earned them. Earning something tastes so much sweeter then the bitter taste of entitlement.

Today, I would rather have less and be able to look in the mirror in the morning. My gratitude is so much more with less.

As I look around our society and I see the entitlement mentality and I wonder if it’s based on some sort of hidden guilt. There is a satisfaction that fills your soul when you work for something. I’m not saying gifts are not nice, but being able to hold your head up means so much more.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. I feel horrible that a loving gesture turned out so wrong. I felt compelled to tell this little bit of my history. Today is better for what came before.

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