Growing up with my family, I was always the goody-two shoes. I did what I was told and behaved. I didn't get everything I wanted but my parents are two of the most selfless people I know. They gave and still do give their children whatever they can. However at the same time, I knew that if I wanted something I had to work hard for it. That was why during the summers I worked two jobs to get money for things. When I went to college, I was in school full time and most of my college years I worked 2 or even 3 jobs. I wanted a car so I had to pay for it. I wanted to go out with my friends so I had money for that. I wanted to buy things, I bought them. I had the money because I worked hard for it. I could have spent my college years partying it up but I didn't go to any parties. I worked. Don't get me wrong, I had some fun here and there but I knew hard work was the key to success.
After college when I got my first job, I was excited because I knew a salary would mean I could be more independent. My first job also coincided with meeting Jared. After six months of dating, we moved in together and that meant leaving the nest for the first time. Jared lived about an hour away in a more upscale part of the state. He was renting a guest cottage at the time and it was all he could afford. My salary was pretty much pennies so between the two of us, we were barely getting by. However it was the happiest time of my life. The debt we had meant nothing, the tag sale furnishings we lived in, who cares, and the chipped plates and old picture frames, not a big deal. We loved where we were and got by. The only way we got by was by working hard. Not only did we both have a job but we also did side jobs. I babysat, I worked parties with Jared and did a number of other things. Jared on the other hand cleaned cars, cleaned houses, bartended, did parties, and basically anything he could to earn more money. That was the way he was programmed. He needed to earn more to help put us in a financially better place. Jared is the hardest worker I have ever met.
Sadly, Jared lost his job a few months after we got engaged. I hated my job. We were in dire financial circumstances but that didn't stop us. Jared took on so many side jobs he was earning more than his previous job. I finally found a great job (where I'm at currently) and was able to pick up the financial slack a bit. We were finally working our way towards a better life. In the end of that year (2005), Jared got hired at Mystic Aquarium and things were looking up for us. However we were still doing the side jobs because we needed to save money and we needed to get rid of college debt. I have never worked so hard in my life those first few years of marriage. Jared was working all the time and I barely saw him. The best way to see him was to work alongside him. It sucked but I knew it would pay off.
And it did. Eventually we were able to move out of our cottage and buy our first home (where we're at now). We live on the coast of Connecticut, about 15 minutes from the beach by car. We have a beautiful home and were finally able to get rid of our clunker cars for more reliable ones. All this time though, we are still working hard. My job requires a lot of my time still four years later. Some weeks I put in 80 hours and Jared still does a few side jobs here and there. Up until last year, he was still doing catering on the side. My point is that even though we have a beautiful home and basically everything we want, we are still working hard for it.
So I ask you this, are we snobs? I feel like people judge us because we do have this nice home and nice cars. We live in a nice part of the state. We take pride in everything we own and do. We work hard for everything we have, so why are we being judged. People assume because of certain name brands they see that people have X amount of money. If I see someone driving an Aston Martin, okay, I'll assume they are loaded. I don't drive an Aston Martin (I wish!).
I have a different way of life than most of my family - and it has nothing to do with anything financially. I married a man from another country. He has a very strong work ethic, a different culture, and a different history. Therefore I can not make our lives exactly as I had mine growing up. We are making our own life together the best way we know how. That means we eat exotic food, because we love it. That means we will go to random places none of my family has ever gone before - because we love to explore. It also means I have changed but for the better as has Jared. This doesn't mean that I'm a snob or people have the right to judge me.
On the outside I look different than I used to. I've chubbed up a bit, I have matured, and I have seen so many things and places that most people never will see in their lives. But on the inside, I am that person I always was; hard working, generous, and caring. Nothing I own or do or eat will make me any different. If you don't judge a book by its cover then I don't think it's fair for you to judge me based on what I have either.