So I was chatting with a guy online, and expressing how I wished I was in Palm Springs. I told him how we have a place down there now and try to spend as much time as possible there. He responded, "Oh, you have a house here and there. I don't even have one house :-(" I explained that this was our retirement house, and that we'd eventually sell the San Francisco house and relocate. He responded with a WASPish "How nice for you."
This left me a little peeved. I grew up in a working-class family. My father was a meat cutter in a supermarket and my mother worked in a sandpaper factory. We had litte money to support five kids, but we did-- we didn't have a lot, seldom ate out (and then it was McDonalds) and I wore hand-me-downs. My parents always told us, and set the example, that you had to work hard in this life to get anything.
I and my younger brother worked our way through college. I have worked continuously since I was 16. For a 10-month period in my mid-twenties, I was unemployed, but did odd jobs and helped fix up my parents' house until I got a job. I finished my bachelors degree while working full-time.
I've had my share of financial setbacks and consumer debt, but by working hard I've achieved a level of financial security my parents never had, but wished for all their children. I've tried to be wise about saving, investing and giving back and as a result am pretty well positioned for retirement. I'm 55 years old and
ready. I refuse to feel guilty for being successful (on the relatively small scale that I am) because what I've done anyone can do if you work hard and try to give back a little.
It also helps that our needs are fairly simple--a comfortable house, not too big but with room for guests and entertaining, low maintenance, broadband, the occasional dinner out or simple vacation. But I'm content cooking dinner, watching TV and crocheting a new afghan.
Anyway, we do count our blessings every day and are so grateful for our success, our friends and family, and for each other. As a wise teacher once told me, "The Universe wants you to be happy.". Go with the flow, work hard and trust in the power of love and you'll be fine. At least that's what I've learned so far, and it works.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.