I recently drove around the town where I grew up. “An affluent village,” according to Wikipedia. The thing is, the village may have been affluent, but I wasn’t. I lived on the wrong side of the tracks (well, it’s the Great Western Trail now, but it was railroad tracks at one point) in an unincorprated area. My house was a block from another town with about three times the population below the poverty level and one-third less white people. (It has been pointed out to me by someone who grew up downtown in the affluent village whenever the subject comes up I make a point of saying I’m REALLY from the first town and not the second…OK, I get it, I still have issues!)
I went to elementary school in the “poor” town and high school in the “rich” town. On the bus ride downtown, I swore that someday I would buy the biggest house on the block (preferably one on Park Boulevard) and my kids would be football stars and cheerleading captains. So that totally happened, right? Nope. And I’m glad; it’s not for me. Now my dream is to live in a cute cottage and travel the world, maybe adopt a few older kids and put them through college.
So, as I drove through town a few weeks ago I laughed at my silliness and neediness. Except, I didn’t. I looked at houses, found the most obnoxious, and daydreamed about living there. Did I think about being rich and powerful? Not quite. I realized my true desire is to be envied. So how about being envied for what I really do want: bliss? And how about then helping others gain what I have so they don’t need to envy me? Sounds like a plan, Stan.