Can You Be Bought?

Kelly Burns
5 min readJul 28, 2021

Everyone will tell you to follow your dreams, but they will never warn you about the price you must pay to be bought.

There is a large billfold of 100 dollar bills with a small rubber band around it and a lock lying ontop of and against the money.
Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash

Are you happy in your career? Do you remember why you got into your field? Have you ever had a dream that was so strong, but your next thought was, this will never pay me the money I need to live, so I better choose a career that is more practical?

Friends and family seem to confirm your lackluster decision to go to college. You choose medicine because it’s the thing to do and it pays well, but it is not your passion. Perhaps you are only doing it to please your parents.

You never wanted to be a doctor. Maybe you wanted to be a filmmaker or an artist, or a fashion designer, or a writer. But never a doctor. You told yourself that you could never make it as a writer. So you stopped reading the books you loved so well, and you went back to school to become a doctor.

You’re a doctor now, and guess what? You hate your life. You can’t wait for the day to end. You want to drink a large glass of wine every night. You wanted to impress your friends and family, but the trouble is they don’t really care that you became a doctor.

They are busy with their own lives and now you are just too busy to notice anything in their life. You spend 10–12 hours at the office at a minimum. You spend your free time doing the required reading in order to be conversant in your profession. You aren’t happy and you wonder what went wrong.

You remember the talks you had with your grandfather. Perhaps they started when you were thirteen. He asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. You said, “An artist,” and you remember the clear and distinctive look of disapproval. The eye-rolling. The sigh. And the total disinterest when you tried to tell him about the dreams you had. If your grandfather’s eyes were once bright and beaming, they suddenly became sunken and sullen and completely resigned at the sight of you. You are now invisible.

You had a sense that whatever you wanted to discuss, it would just end badly so you chose to remain silent.

You soldiered on and pursued the path that was expected of you. Now you are thirty-something or worse, fifty-something. You are wondering what went wrong.



Kelly Burns

writer and sometimes singer/composer & painter. Italian-American. INFP. I write fiction and nonfiction.