Poor Little Rich Girl

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Oh you don't have the latest Michael Kors watch or the newest smartphone upgrade? Please explain in more detail how much your life absolutely sucks.

Maya Angelou once stated, ''I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'' I cannot even begin to explain how profound this thought is. 

Yesterday, I was studying at a Starbucks when a group of girls who looked like they were the new and upcoming Regina George, Grethchen Wieners, and Karen Smith of 2013 walked in with smug looks. Needless to say, they walked into the Starbucks with their runway struts as if they owned the place, and as if by the sway of their hips they would have all eyes on them. They were complaining about how their lives would be over if they didn't go shopping for this party. (Yes, I am aware that eavesdropping is not virtuous, but what the ear hears, it cannot control. Frankly speaking, they were too loud to be ignored.) I guess I am ignorant, but I didn't know that it was possible to die if you did not go shopping. As they stood in line to order their cappuccinos, an elderly woman happened to bump shoulders with one of them. What ensued next completely infuriated me. The pretentiousness in their voices made my blood boil, and I am not one to easily be affected by outlandish behavior. The girls, so disrespectfully, started yelling and saying, "Watch where you are going you old (insert swear word) lady. Ughh poor people should just not be allowed in public, look how rude they are." Umm excuse me? In the words of Sara Bareilles, who died and made you king of anything?

I did not know how to react to this preposterous behavior. Should I have been an angry, upset, annoyed, insulted, or have ridiculed the impudence and presumptuousness that I was so gratefully able to experience. We live in a country and generation where, or at least where I would like to believe, our reputation and "class" lies within our personality and hard work. I  hate to say this but arrogance will get you nowhere in life. Whatever happened to humility? The negative effects of arrogance is something I have learned through horrible experiences, and I never ever want to go down that path again.

People often forget how lucky they actually are. We often find ourselves overlooking the important things in life because they are so small that we take them for granted. I am not going to lie to you, but I have been to that dark place of shallowness.  I am not proud of it, but I, Shipra Sharma, am glad to say that I am a recovered shallow b****h. I used to take all the things I had for granted and often found myself bragging about the things that I did have. However, unlike those girls, I never ever put anyone else down. Now, without getting into the mind of sixteen year old Shipra, I am happy that I now realize the importance of all that I do have. 

This realization hit me when I entered my first year of college. I started working with a charitable group called the Science Notebook. We basically organized science days and science lessons for  underprivileged children to raise an awareness and interest in science. Through working with these children, I soon started to realize how lucky I truly am. Many of these children could not even afford backpacks, and one little 7 year old boy told me how he wished he could buy a pack of Spider-man pencils and a book for his upcoming birthday because he never had his own pencils or books. I was in complete awe. Pencils were something I guess I took for granted. In the following months, along with a friend, I began a charity called Hope Smiles that raises money for the education of underprivileged children. Throughout my whole life, well up until college, I always fought with my parents when I didn't have the newest brand named pair of shoes or handbag. 
I frequently complained when my parents didn't take me shopping. In the end they always somehow managed to get my sister and I what we wanted, but they always, along with that, told me that I should be happy with what I do have and to never equate materials to happiness. That, by doing so, I will never be satisfied or content. My teen self always ruled that off as "they didn't really love me" or that they didn't understand how important it was for me to have those things.  I now understand what they meant by that, and they were so right too. That day, when that little boy told me what he wanted for his birthday, I reevaluated my whole life til date and was overcome with disappointment at myself. I never wanted to be the person that I had become. That day I had an epiphany and I swore to myself that I would never ever take anything for granted ever again. I am now happy to say that I am content and at peace with all that I have, and I honestly do not need more. I have a loving family, amazing friends, access to education and medical care, a roof over my head, clean water and food, clothes. That is much more than a large percentage of people around the world. 

Another thing that really got to me was when I went to watch a documentary called Girl Rising with my sorority sisters last semester. The documentary focused on the importance of equal educational opportunities for girls and boys around the world. It explored the world of young girls across the world and how, due to a lack of education, they were continued to be suppressed. At that moment, I felt like I had truly been blessed with a great life. I juxtaposed my life to what would have happened if my parents remained in India. I probably would not have the educational opportunities or freedom that I took for granted. I really am lucky for all that I have. 

Now, I am not saying to not indulge in luxury at all. If you are given the good fortune and capability to indulge, go ahead and do so, but be humble about it. My parents worked, and still continue to work, very hard for their money. That ideal is something I have adopted from them. If I want something, I will work hard for it, but now I will never brag about anything. Also, I will always remember to be appreciative about what I do have and be okay if I do not expand my materialistic closet. It might seem too unrealistic, or communistic/socialistic as some of you may say, but I really do hope that one day the world is a place where all children can garner the same luxuries. I hope that every child is given the opportunity to have a good education, clean water, food, a roof over their heads, a loving family, clothes to cover their bodies, and a long healthy life.

I have no right to criticize those girls because at one point in life I feel as though I was one of them, but for their sake, I hope that one day they realize what I have - that they have the same epiphany that I was graciously given. If they continue down this road, they will only end up in a ditch pervaded by loneliness and eternal dissatisfaction.

So, the next time you want to put someone down or complain about a luxurious item you do not have, just stop and take a moment to realize what you do have. Never let arrogance get to you. Be humble. Be appreciative. 

The sooner you appreciate all that you have, the sooner you will be content and at peace with life. 

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." 

-Antonio Smith


PS - If my parents are reading this, I just want to thank them for all that they have done. They came from another country with nothing and worked so hard to provide my sister and me with all the luxuries we do have. They selflessly only gave with never wanting anything in return, except our happiness. They only had one dream - to provide us with a better life and a better education than they had. So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. Thank you for spoiling us, but also for making sure that we realized the importance of what we had. Also, I am so sorry for being so annoying and a brat back in the day. 

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