January 17, 2023
Everyone has a hustle, something they have to do to get by, get what they want, live their best life, or simply survive to see the next day. No matter your scale or where you stand, we all have one. Some people flip burgers, others flip insurance or some other service or product. Some people marry well or are born into wealth.
I've always found the hustle intriguing. I myself have found various versions of it in my life. From stocking shelves to academics, to selling surgery, to making protein bars, and now to whatever it is I do today. Everything, in some way or another, is a hustle. The only thing that varies is what you put out, who you give it to, and what you receive in return (money, happiness, security, or ideally, a combination of the three).
Tonight, I find myself unable to take my eyes off of Sam's hustle. He's a seven-year-old who goes to school during the day and sells shirts on the ever-interesting "Pub Street" at night. There are no labor laws here looking out for Sam or his best interests, nor those of his sister, who sits across the alley selling coconuts with her mom. It's going to be a long night in Siem Reap for the whole family. The night goes on until the goods are gone or the last tourist has retreated to their boutique hotel.
The hustle is real, no matter where you are or what your circumstances may be. What makes tonight especially difficult to see is that there is likely to be no upward or lateral movement for Sam and his family. It's just a daily grind, a hard hustle, and a hope that tomorrow might be just a little bit better than today.