My complaint (for everything from me must be either a complaint or a critique) is simple: a surplus of luxury.
I have been feeling mopey for, oh, months anyway, and can’t seem to shake it. I thought if I enrolled in an MBA program I would be challenged and burdened enough to keep my preoccupied, but no; I fit that into my schedule without difficulty. I thought that if I exercised more regularly that would improve my mood. Well, perhaps I am still not exercising enough (who ever does), but I am doing well enough that I am reacquainted with that wonderful light ache of a well-used muscle. It’s a pleasant feeling of accomplishment, of fulfilled purpose even, and secondarily it is pleasant to be aware of one’s muscles. It strokes the vanity. But for all that, it’s an ephemeral pleasure and not the cure I was looking for.
I am the victim of my own success. I was trying to balance a life of work in North Carolina, friends in Pennsylvania, and family in New York. I could manage two but the three were overwhelming, and I found an opportunity to reduce all that down to one. It was not a natural opportunity, and I only exploited it through divine intervention, but now here I am with work and family comfortably co-located. I am once again showing up in family pictures in the mix of siblings. I took a long walk today with several brothers, returning home to a dinner that appeared without any effort on my part, as it always does these days. Such a relief from the trial of finding my own food! A battle I too often surrendered before.
I have long considered an MBA program because it fits so well into the current trajectory of my career, but when I was too taxed to reliably find my supper I thought it unwise to add academic responsibilities on to that. I am aware that others have overcome greater obstacles to achieve their MBA, and better things than that. Surely, it would not have been exceptional for me to enroll in an MBA program when I was living on my own. But it is so very much more convenient this way.
I am apologizing – I don’t know if you can tell, but I am – I am apologizing for how easy my life is. I am already earning comfortably above the median household income for the area in which I live, and on track to increase that, meanwhile not paying much concern to where my dinner comes from or most any other domestic responsibilities. I am ensconced in the support of my family and still almost completely free to do as I please. It is a ridiculously easy life that I live.
I am sorry to say that I am not completely content with this life. Sorry because I know it is an insult to many in this county, state, and country, let alone the world, for me to find anything lacking in my pacific lifestyle, and sorry because, not being content, I am feeling sorry for myself. I don’t know what to do about it. Oh, it would be easy enough to find some poor people to patronize; someone I can visit, and bestow my charity upon, and marvel at their poverty of means or comforts. But visiting charity is the drug of the affluent. It can bolster a sense of wealth and virtue and accomplishment, but it does not actually cure the poverty of the soul that inspired the search for a cure. Love and truth come in relationships that are more taxing than that.
I have so much. I am surfeit of all but gratitude. Friend, will you teach me gratitude?