This afternoon I had the good fortune to lay out on the beach of the St. Regis in Princeville, Kauai. If my husband and I were traveling alone, we’d be kicking it a lot more low-key, but we are fortunate to have family that invites us places. Absorbing all of the opulence around me, I could not help but understand why people strive for wealth. As a teacher of low-income kids, I will be the first to proclaim wealth and happiness are not the same thing, but sometimes a bit of splendor can be pretty alluring.
Anchored out in the bay was an impressive yacht, complete with its own helicopter parked on back. The St. Regis staff told us it belongs to the owner of Budweiser, whoever that might be. What a different world from the rest of us on this planet. While a yacht is more than I would wish for, it still struck me as a very interesting contrast.
Back during the school year, on days that were particularly challenging, I would imagine myself lying on the beach in Kauai, and everything else would be fine. The fact that I could have this fantasy and really live it out provides a different, but also very real contrast between the relative prosperity of middle-ish class America and the poverty that exists in our country. While I may feel like a have-less when I look at the truly wealthy, I am a have-a-darn-lot when compared with much of the world.
What I am trying to work on is transforming the guilt that sometimes accompanies this disparity into an extreme gratitude that I am as lucky as I am. As I was sitting there thinking about the differences in worlds between myself and the people on the boat, as well as myself and the students in my classroom, I finally had to just tell my mind to shut up and enjoy it. Life is short, we work for a better world, but we should also give ourselves permission to enjoy whatever good comes our way.
Permission granted. 🙂 I had somewhat the same thought as I drove back from Caples Lake … a place just two hours away from Sacramento. When my oldest did his field trip to Headlands, which is just north of Sacramento, there were kids in his class who had never seen the ocean. I wondered on my drive home on Sunday how many of those kids also had never seen the beauty of the Sierra Nevadas. The incredible vistas, mountaintops, lakes, and so much more — all so close to us and yet so far for far too many. It’s too bad, but you shouldn’t feel a twinge of guilt on your trip … you’re not ostentatious, not excessive — there’s no yacht with a helicopter actually in your life. Enjoy.
I relate to that with my own students– so amazing to get to take them to SF this year and show them the ocean for the first time crossing the Golden Gate bridge. I think my profession just makes me hyperaware of the disparity, but I agree, guilt is silly and unnecessary!
Abundance and good fortune are all around us. Even being in a place, like a resort for example, even though it’s not ours, nor do we own it, we are in a place of abundance. the beautiful ocean, wonderful beach, and great food. It’s times like these when thinks really make you stop and think and evaluate your life, but like you said, sometimes you just gotta shut up and have a good time 😀
So much agreed! 🙂
btw – you’re the cat’s pajamas. 🙂
lol, but my cat doesn’t wear pajamas! 😉
Maybe he should 🙂
Love that we’re both on here!