It’s Never Too Late To Dream

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

I spend my early mornings leisurely eating a light breakfast, drinking tea to jumpstart my brain, working on the new “Wordle” puzzle, catching up on posts from my friends on Facebook, composing birthday wishes, and scanning the headlines of the latest news. Recently I noticed that Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall are supposedly divorcing. Reading about their lives in the world of the rich and famous made me realize how much I enjoy my own quiet life. The two of them seemingly have it all, but for whatever reason are unable to find the kind of contentment that I have experienced for most of my life. 

I suppose that most of us who are ordinary people have sometimes dreamed of being so comfortable that we never again have to worry about money. We imagine how nice it would be to just relax and enjoy the ride through life with the financial ability to help others, travel the world first class, live wherever we wish, never think twice about how an emergency will impact us. It’s a kind of pipe dream that drives lotteries and makes us believe that just a bit of good luck will change our worlds. 

The truth is that save for those who inherit wealth, most folks who store up riches have worked very hard to get them. They probably worry more about their bottom lines that we ordinary folk do. They are under continuous pressure to keep things going and their spouses and children are often under a microscope that can be unflattering. People have unbelievable expectations for them. Where they live, how they live, what they do with their money becomes public fodder. 

Personally I drive through the wealthiest areas of my city and I think of how horribly exhausting it must be to have to keep up a front. I’m such an introvert that I’m certain that I would be crushed by the expectations, the constant need to look and act just right. I would not trade my anonymity for their notoriety for any amount of money. 

I love being able to disappear into a crowd. I like that I can walk around in my yard in my bare feet without being scrutinized. I enjoy being able to go to the store wearing no makeup and boasting a head of unkempt hair. Nobody cares about what I do or how I decide to do it, and I like that. I’ve learned that with fame and fortune come responsibilities and expectations that I would be loathe to endure. I can speak my mind and it does not much matter whether I agree with the people around me or not. An ordinary life grants me much more freedom than someone in the limelight enjoys. 

I suspect that nobody has ever achieved all that they have dreamed of doing. Contentment comes not so much from having it all, but from feeling good about the choices we make as we encounter all of the challenges and opportunities that appear before us. Living well is a process and an attitude. It takes continuous introspection and adaptation. We are going to make mistakes, but our goal should be to admit them and change according to whatever is needed.

I spent most of my adult life caring for my mother during her recurring episodes of bipolar disorder. I often cursed my fate and then disliked myself for being selfish. I had to learn to forgive myself for being human. I had to sluff off guilt whenever I made wrong decisions and simply learn from them so that I might do better the next time around. I had to stop being my own worst enemy and be as loving to myself as I tried to be with my mother. 

I often marvel at my own good luck. We don’t choose our parents, but in spite of my parents’ flaws they were excellent models of how to live life well. I was fortunate in that regard. I never knew abuse of any kind from them. I understood every single day how much they loved me and guarded my well-being. I was surrounded by quirky aunts and uncles who nonetheless constantly displayed their concern for my welfare. My grandparents were hardy people who smiled even as they had to sacrifice. They all taught me to be flexible and optimistic while tackling the kind of problems that seem to plague us all. I also learned from them that sometimes even our most well intentioned efforts fall flat and the only thing we can do is learn from the muck ups we have created. 

There are things that I would like to do if there were no barriers to my dreams. I would pay for my grandchildren’s college and encourage them to go as far in earning degrees as they wish with my financial support. I would gift my children and grandchildren with as much as the government allows without taxes. I would set up scholarships and foundations for deserving students from all over the world. I would donate funding to St. Thomas High School, the KIPP Charter Schools, the University of Houston, Rice University, Trinity University, Bowdoin College, Texas Tech, the University of Notre Dame, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas. I would provide funding for research in the Texas Medical Center. My focus would be on supporting the efforts young people who might otherwise be locked out of achieving their goals. 

I am very content. I might have done more, made more of a difference, earned more money, but I can’t complain about my life. Most of the people of the world would see my lifestyle as being incredible. I live in a nice home with a big yard filled with plants that I have nurtured. My family is well educated. I have food in my pantry and good doctors to care for me when I am sick. My friends are many and my relatives are close. Nothing about me is perfect, but I am perfectly satisfied with what I have. If I could change only one thing it would be to realized my lifelong desire for unending peace on earth, or at least a reasonable facsimile of that. Even though it seems naive to ever expect that to happen i still have hope. It’s never too late to dream. 

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