Life has dealt my family some unexpected blows recently, and what really sent us reeling are the sources from which they came.
It occurs to me, though, that the truth is no amount of lottery winnings will keep this kind of stuff from happening. Just having a giant bank account (or two or seven), a phenomenal house (which I might just refer to as “Wuthering Lows” just for fun) overlooking my own private beach and slice of the ocean and a stable of cool cars – all of that won’t keep bad things from happening.
In the past (and in some cases this could go back as far as last night), I tended to react to set-backs and other harsh cruelties of the universe by eating. Food equals love. If I can’t be happy in love or in work, I can at least be happy at the drive-thru. Or at a local hamburger/pizza/rib/fried chicken/etc place. There isn’t a BoJangles near me, but there is a burger place that makes a bacon cheeseburger they call the 50/50, because it’s made with half ground beef and have bacon. Don’t judge. At least not til you’ve tried one.
So how would I deal with that if I was wealthy beyond my wildest dreams of avarice? Pretty sure I wouldn’t be smiling and singing the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” as things went awry. Not fiddling while Rome burned.
I hope I wouldn’t try to solve it by eating a whole ham (or drinking a ridiculously expensive bottle of scotch). And these days, without the wealth, I’m endeavoring to keep from solving my problems with potato skins and a vat of Dr. Pepper. Once bitten by this kind of behavior, it’s difficult to change, no matter how much money you have. The quality and particulars of the vice may change, but bad decisions are still bad decisions.
If you have a priceless work of art, and a storm is coming, you can either curse the storm, knowing it couldn’t possibly destroy your treasure, or you could take steps to move your treasure out of the path of the storm.
I think a lot of times, I’m more inclined to shake my fist at the storm, even screaming a litany of it’s-not-fair’s, rather than trying to do anything about it. Sometimes, this can become almost paralyzing.
This could be true for you, too, but I’m sure the list of things that really matter would be different.
For me, the first one is family.
I am so lucky to have a truly wonderful woman by my side. She’s a terrific partner and the best friend I ever had. I used to think I wanted someone who knew me and loved me anyway. What I have is so much better, because she loves me, not in spite of who I am, but because of who I am. There’s a world of difference there.
I am also very lucky to have two terrific kids. I got used kids, who were already into double digits when I came along. But they’ve accepted me and, for the most part, seem to think I’m okay. One is getting ready to head off to college next week, so we went out the other night on what’s becoming a rare event – a family dinner.
Yes, it was at Fuddruckers and there were burgers and fries involved, but that’s not the point. The point is that the four of us were together, chatting and laughing, and there may not be a lot of more of those. At least, not any time soon.
I also have great parents. They live on the other side of the country, and I don’t get to see them very often. We talk on the phone almost every week, though. And I know that, no matter what, they love me and are proud of me. I can only hope my kids feel the same about me.
And I have three siblings, a brother and two sisters. After all these years, we’re still friends. And I know there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for me, and I’m pretty sure they know there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Or their attachments and kids.
I know everyone has reasons why they aren’t close to their families, and maybe what I have won’t work for you. But I think that we all have things in our lives that we should be grateful for, and those are the things that really matter.
And figuring out who to keep that in mind when the storms blow is what can keep us all going. No matter how much money we have.
P.S. – Hi Marvin, it’s all there – Wuthering Lows, Sugar and Once Bitten!