Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Good Life

In 20 years' time, I want to be living in a large east coast city, downtown, in a refurbished loft with my partner and my three kids. I want to be an authority in my field, somebody who's inputs, ideas, and name will be something people want to be attached to. I don't know exactly where these upper-middle class liberal aspirations come from, but I know that I do want these things for myself. Part of it comes from where I grew up (LA) and who I went to high school with (sons and daughters of wealthy West LA folk). I read articles online that talk a lot about the increasing levels of income inequality in this country; they haven't been higher since the days of the Carnegies and Rockefellers. A part of me knows that I should be fighting for equity, to ensure that people that look like me aren't regulated into even more poverty and disempowerment in the future. But the other part, wants to be a part of that upper echelon that dines at expensive restaurants, summers in Spain, jets to India and China for business, and can afford all the luxuries that come with wealth.

Wealth to me is more than just luxury, it is freedom. Both my parents' families migrated to California from the South. My dad's family was poor migrant farmers, so poor that my grandmother developed a lifelong heart condition from the extreme malnourishment she experienced as a child. My mother's family was from poor neighborhoods in Georgia, as young adults they came to Atlanta for education, and then made the further jump to life in San Diego for jobs and less racial oppression. It's been a road of progress. My father was the first in his family to attend college, and my mom continued to receive a degree from the same school that my grandfather was unable to finish at. I realize now as I grow and mature, the hard road they had to climb in the 50s through the 80s to get where they are today. My parents afforded me a relatively easy childhood (sans that whole gay thing lol), and I don't know how I would have ended up were we in a different situation.

I admit that I am an elitist. I know that this posts reeks of up, and I apologize for my partial views of the importance of wealth. One of the driving influences in my life has been a desire to do better than my parents have done. All my life, people told me I was different, for good and bad reasons. I started to believe them, and I started to expect that things would happen to be because I was somehow better than the kids around me. This misplaced belief in my own superiority, which I hold deep within me, shielded me a lot from the ridicule and estrangement I experienced in school.

Humility has greatly diminished by own feeling of self-superiority, but it has not diminished my desire for wealth. But now, I am expanding that definition to include friends, career, and spirituality – things that make for a well-rounded human experience. I want to believe that these things are attainable, that I can build a name for myself in planning, make money, while maintaining a peaceful and loving home environment with a man that I love and children that inspire me. Perhaps my bourgeois dreams are closer to that of a young straight white woman that of a young gay black male, but they are still mine.

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