I’ve read and discussed a few articles with people in the last week. I feel like there’s a theme coursing through all three.
I thought all three articles were well written and thoughtful and worth sharing. At the same time, all three (consciously) speak from a certain level of entitlement: successful people who are wringing their hands at the unfair or unexpected consequences of their own success: Our children have it too easy, we are too much to do, our very important jobs keep us from our families. I mean, it’s good to be self-aware, but (for example) the author of the last article asks, without irony, “why can’t we have it all at the same time?”, paraphrasing Veruca Salt’s declaration: “I want it all and I want it now!”
The articles are a hand wave. They provoke discussion, but do not provoke change. None suggests, seriously, that we can just back off on our expectations and be happy with what we have or even try being happy with less. And I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, because I’m at a crossroads where it’s feasible to buy a bigger house, move to a bigger zip code, and proceed to feel the house with more stuff, then get Byron into the right schools, and sign him up for challenging sports leagues and music classes and language classes, and meanwhile take a pilates class and join a band and grow my brand and somehow read every book that I’m supposed to. But somehow I sense from the above that if I did all that I would still be anxious, and perhaps MORE anxious, because somehow the more we get the more we feel entitled to, and the more that seems beyond grasp. It’s the kind of thing we all know intellectually but never act on. We’ll read a fable about the girl who wants the moon and feel satisfied that all she ever wanted was a piece of costume jewelry, but we won’t settle for that ourselves. We don’t want a cheap necklace. We want lunar real estate.
This post is a hand wave, too. I want better–not more–stuff (I’d like less stuff), and I want more fame, more good fortune, more prestige. I’m blessed with a certain amount of inertia that I can pretend, when it’s convenient, is a deep-rooted lack of materialism, but I’m not fooling anybody. I have an iPad.