How to Live Like a Man…Not a Donkey, Dog or Monkey

In my collection of short stories that I have found on the Internet or in books and magazines, here is one that I believe carries a deep meaning, and a harsh truth, for our lives.

Here it goes.

God created the donkey and said to him:
“You will be a donkey. You will work un-tiringly
From sunrise to sunset carrying burdens on your back
You will eat grass, you will have no intelligence
And you will live 50 years.”
The donkey answered:
“I will be a donkey, but to live 50 years is much. Give me only 20 years.”
God granted his wish.

God created the dog and said to him:
“You will guard the house of man. You will be his best friend
You will eat the scraps that he gives you and you will live 30 years.”
The dog answered:
“Sir, to live 30 years is too much. Give me only 15 years.”
God granted his wish.

God created the monkey and said to him:
“You will be a monkey. You will swing from branch to branch doing tricks
You will be amusing and you will live 20 years.”
The monkey answered:
“To live 20 years is too much. Give me only 10 years.”
God granted his wish.

Finally God created man…and said to him:
“You will be man, the only rational creature on the face of the earth
You will use your intelligence to become master over all the animals
You will dominate the world and you will live 20 years.”
Man responded: “Sir, I will be a man but to live only 20 years is very little.
Give me the 30 years that the donkey refused,
The 15 years that the dog did not want
And the 10 years the monkey refused.”
God granted man’s wish.

And since then, man lives 20 years as a man,
Spends 30 years like a donkey,
Working and carrying all the burdens on his back.

Then when his children are grown,
He lives 15 years like a dog taking care of the house
And eating whatever is given to him.

So that when he is old,
He can retire and live 10 years like a monkey,
Going from house to house and from one son or daughter to another
Doing tricks to amuse his grandchildren.

That’s Life.

Indeed, that’s life!
I have seen hundreds of people around me living an exact life as described above.

From being a man, to a donkey, then a dog, and then a monkey…all in one lifetime.

This process of growing and evolving brings with it seasons of freedom and joy, but it also carries immense fear and loss of personal worth.

The “what if’s” of life become a vivid reality and people find themselves torn between:

  • Independence…after years of hard work and doing things their way, and
  • Dependence…on their children and their children for money and love.

“We will do ourselves a favour by not expecting anything from our children when we grow old,” my wife tells me time and again.

“But why? Aren’t our children, whom we love and care for so much, supposed to take care of us when we grow old?” I ask.

“They may, dear! But why live with the expectation and then see it dashed?” she explains like a saint. “That’s why we must continue to save and invest so that we don’t have to depend on anyone for our living when we are old…not even our children.”

Then she recounts how Mrs. X’s aging parents and Mr. Y’s grandparents are having a tough time depending on their children who are least bothered.

“These are the same children whose parents never left them alone, afraid, or ignored, but kept them close at hand, always watching, always present…always there.”

“Indeed that’s the sad irony of our lives, dear!” I tell her.

“Yes, and that’s why we must be financially free so that we don’t have to live like a donkey, dog or monkey when we are old and incapacitated,” she says while I open my list of investments to check whether I’m investing enough or not.

About the Author: Vishal is the Chief Tribesman at Safal Niveshak, where he works with small investors to help them become smart, independent, and successful in their stock market investing and personal finance decisions.

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