This morning, I found a sling bag I bought four years ago in my drawer which I no longer use. As an attempt of decluttering, I decided to dispose of it. I open the bag and spotted a shabby piece of paper which turned out to be my first paycheck from five years ago. Back then, I kept the paycheck as a special item. For me, it represents my first job and the first money I made. I smiled as I realised how my perceiving has grown within this period of time.
It was a paycheck given by a friend after I temporarily replaced him teaching English for children in an institution. It is an independent institution serving for unfortunate children and students. My friend had to leave as he had a service learning program for a month. I taught, perhaps learning to teach, for times that month. I never taught children beforehand, so I came to understand how difficult it was to take care of them. Overall, it was a mixed experience for me.
We met after he completed his service learning program. He thanked me for my help and handed me a paycheck which I was not expecting at all. But I felt a little proud as I received my first paycheck ever. It was not a lot of money. I thanked him in return. He asked me to continue to teach but I cordially refused. In addition to it was my turn to take service learning program, I feel like cannot take care of those children. I kept the paycheck since.
Fast forward to present days, my salary has multiple times the amount written on that first paycheck. But I realise that it is not the increase in the amount which concerns me. Instead, it is the value of contribution that I made in those teaching days which was more meaningful than the white-collar job I currently have. What I did five years ago made me feel more useful than what I do nowadays.
I look at the paycheck and I knew that I no longer need to keep it. Now I understand that it is not the paycheck that matter but how I used to had a good opportunity to contribute to those unfortunate children. It is not about me making that money anymore. I smiled and tear that paycheck, put it in the bag and dispose of them. I am looking forward to making more contribution.