Saturday, January 06, 2007

Opportunities and Struggles

I absolutely love to travel! I just got back from a Caribbean Cruise and loved every relaxing minute of it. (Thank you, mom and dad!) But I have to say, these days I have to think a lot more about my luxuries.

When I told my friends I was going on a cruise, they were extremely encouraging. They told me I deserved a relaxing vacation. Their graciousness and generosity always amazes me. Many of the friends who told me I deserved to go know that an extravagant vacation like that is out of reach for them monetarily. I’m sure they realize that their work is just as physically and/or emotionally as taxing as mine, yet they were genuinely excited for me.

What makes my hard work more deserving of a break than their hard work?

I would like to think that the choices I have made in life have gotten me to where I am today. I would like to think I’m deserving of the “extras” I get in life. However, I have learned that my most of my choices are a result of circumstances I didn’t control.

I didn’t choose the neighborhood I grew up in, my skin color, or my parents. I had a two-parent home with a mom who could afford to stay-at-home. I had a family that did well financially; my parents didn’t need me to work in order to help contribute to household expenses. I had parents who understood the value of a college education and could afford to send me. I had parents who set high expectations for me, which led to me having high expectations of myself. Fortunately for me, the bad choices I did make simply didn’t end up with long-term life-altering results.

I appreciate the kindness of my friends who celebrate my good fortune with me. They are much bigger people than I am. I’m afraid I would be resentful.

I have been blessed with great opportunities in my life. I struggle with how to take advantage of my opportunities while working to ensure that all people have these same opportunities. Is it possible to do both?
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