This morning I woke up asking myself, do I have the perfect life? How many times have we asked ourselves this very question? A solid question on the outset but as I delve into these six well placed words I find it may be much deeper than anticipated.
Do I have the perfect life? To even begin working on dissecting this question, leaves me befuddled as where to start. Leaning back in my chair, gazing out our second story window, I find peace and tranquility in the landscape laid before my eyes. Is this the perfect life? I strain to find an answer. Why? Shouldn’t the answer come easily? Why do I feel guilty that it doesn’t? Am I cold inside because joy and exuberance doesn’t flow from my pores at the mere mention of the question? Hmmmm?
When I think about people proclaiming the perfect life as their existence I find myself envisioning the self proclaimed “elite”. The primarily white, well to do male or female with dual residences, fancy cars, vacations abroad and an endless stream of disposable income. Their children are the products of a lifestyle filled with excess and privilege. Attending the very best schools, wearing the fanciest of clothes and having what they want when they want it regardless their true needs. Why do I envision the so called “perfect life” portrayed this way?
I have come to realization I was immersed in a society begging to make up for the short falls of their own childhoods. As a teenager in the eighties we were surrounded by wealth and privilege. It was in the movies we watched, (Wall Street, the Breakfast Club, Ferris Beulers Day off, Beverly Hills Cop, Big, Secret to my Success, Trading Places) the stores where we were expected to shop for our clothes (Neiman Marcus, Macy’s,Barneys, Bloomingdales, Dillards, Saks) and the nighttime television shows where we longed to be the characters we idolized. (Magnum P.I., Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Dallas) along with the cars they drove. (BMW, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Lamborghini) We couldn’t help but yearn for that lifestyle and we were brainwashed into thinking we needed all those material things to have or live the perfect life! How many of you remember that one kid who got a brand new BMW, or the latest Toyota 4×4 that none of us could afford? I do! I remember thinking when I grow up Im going to have so much money I will buy an new car every year! My kids will have new cars when they turn sixteen! Brainwashing 101, make them want it and leave them no ability to achieve it, then they will spend the rest of their lives chasing the next best thing, driving retail sales for eternity.
I have spent the better part of my life trying to erase the materialistic damage the 80’s mentality has done to my pocketbook. Some people I know haven’t recognized the problem and are still chasing the elusive “Perfect Life” status associated with those times. I hope they find peace before its too late. I blame no one but myself for this by the way. It takes an open mind and an educated thought to process peer pressure and put in its proper place. I freely made the financial decisions of my past, they did not lead me to the so called “perfect life” I had envisioned, but instead led me to enlightenment about what is being force fed to the public by television and movie producers, news reporters and societies supposed elite. We are sheep, they know we are sheep and as long as we remain sheep (just following the flock) we as a society will continue down this destructive path. (just my opinion)
So what is the “perfect life”?
Here is my take. I believe the “Perfect Life” for me is being a dad, a husband, a provider and a friend. If I can be good at all of those things I will have led the perfect life. Notice I did not say “great” or “perfect” I only want to be “good”. No one is truly “great” I can be a great dad, but only a good friend, I could be a great husband but only a good provider. So using the law of averages, I think it is better to be good any day than believe I am great everyday. Don’t even get me started on “perfect”. I have known or currently know a few people who believe they are “perfect” in every way. Everything they touch turns to gold. They never make a mistake and are the first to point out all of your flaws. And heaven forbid something doesn’t work out as they had planned, it will be everyone else’s fault they were placed into that predicament. Leaving no doubt as to their superiority and your inability to come close to perfection.
I like being a DAD! I believe it is one of the most challenging, frustrating, heartbreaking, mind bending, emotionally draining and yet wonderfully rewarding jobs I will ever have! I am pretty “good” at it too. I never thought I would be, considering the life I led as a teenager and young adult, but it seems to fit me pretty well. Like a comfortable pair of shoes.
I love being a husband! It is also one of the most challenging, frustrating, mind bending and emotionally draining things I have ever participated in! Yet my marriage is filled with love and devotion. My wife has taken a pretty rough stone and help polish me into a pretty decent human being. She has helped me to grow as a friend, father and just created an all around better man. It didnt come easy. I wasn’t always nice, I didn’t always care about the other guy, I usually had a pretty bad temper and I almost always thought of myself before anyone else. It is definitely true in the saying; behind every good man is a better (tired) woman!
My place in life is pretty secure! I accept new challenges and love meeting them head on! My son and I are traveling to Haiti in the spring! We cant wait to tackle this new chapter in our lives. I beleive it will help him to gain some perspective on life I never had as a teenager. I look forward to what every new day will bring. Somedays I feel like I won the lottery others I feel like hiding in a hole! I am lucky to live in a beautiful location with plenty around us to keep us busy as a family. Our friends are genuine and true. I feel as though I am surrounded by an additional family comprised of our very closest friends and allies! Do we have all the money I dreamed of as a kid. Nope. Do I have the marriage and children I dreamed about as a young adult? Nope, I have so much more! I am thankful and feel blessed everyday! Do I have more than most? Yes. Do I have less than others? Yes! That leaves me perfectly inside the law of averages! Its good, its all good!
So after reading over this musing I am left to ask myself once again. Do I have the perfect life?
Answer: YES, I do, it is a perfectly orchastrated combination of ever changing emotions, perspectives, situations and feelings. I thank God for my life everyday, because I wouldn’t change a thing.
Disclaimer: Betty’s definition of a “perfect life” may be different from your personal definition of a “perfect life”. No references have been made to anyone else’s “perfect life” in this story and any perceived similarity is purely a coincidence. And with any written diatribe and or musing created by Betty, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.