Friday, June 18, 2010

With a Little Help

The idea was that I would go off and try something independent. But it is very humbling when I pause to think about the number of people who are helping me.

For starters, it seems to be impossible to lead a reasonable life in the US without a permanent address. Every form I fill asks for it, and they always state that it "cannot be a PO Box." My brother has agreed to let me use his address in Michigan, even though we don't reside there. Our mail goes there and he has to cull out the important ones and often take care of them.

We have been exceptionally fortunate with temporary accommodation. Usually at times when they were spending time abroad, a few friends and relatives have let us use their entire homes.

Without my asking, several friends offered me the use of their cars (and even a motorcycle in one instance in India) – offers that I took up.

Another friend took the time to create a tailor-made "retirement finance estimator" for me in Excel. It came with its own Monte-Carlo simulator, so that I could analyze different best-and-worst case scenarios to see if I would "make it financially." (That is, to check if my savings would outlast me.)

Help comes in less tangible ways too. I have had a number of well-wishers, who very delicately probed the question of my financial (as well as mental) health. Both of these subjects are not easily discussed in our society, and I am grateful for their concern.

There is no real way that I can ever repay all of this, which means that I must remain perpetually indebted – a state of being that I am instinctively uncomfortable with. I am only slowly coming to grips with this state. The best I can do is to follow the "pay it forward" adage – hopefully try and help others sometime in the future.

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