The Real Housewives of Orange County…In Houston Texas
Designer handbags. Primped and pampered. Fresh from the salon. Recent trip the the friendly neighborhood plastic surgeon for a minor “augmentation.”
Driving up in their new BMW. Just moved into a bigger house in a more exclusive neighborhood. Do they need more space? No, just one kid. That’s why they need 6,000 square feet…
God help you if you are drawn into a conversation. So shallow I’ve seen puddles that were deeper. Who is dating their friend’s daughter. What happened on the latest episode. Is so and so having an affair?
Popularity is everything. This is the high school in crowd on steroids. Who do you know? You can’t talk to Ernest because he lives in (pick your nice but less than desirable neighborhood). Positioning their kids to be more popular so they look better, never mind the lifelong impact it will have.
No, this isn’t TV
This isn’t Beverly Hills. It is Houston, TX at a youth sports game. What do the husbands do for a living? Doctors? Lawyers? Investment bankers? Some are mid level managers or minor executives, but most aren’t. One is a customer service manager making a whopping $50k. Another is a low level sales man who does just a bit better. One is a carpenter.
Look closer and you see a bit of desperation in their eyes. Try as they might, they can’t forget the massive debt hanging over their heads. How much fun is that BMW when you are always working overtime to make the payments? Is there a purpose to their lives, something meaningful to get them excited about tomorrow?
What happens if their hours at work are cut? What happens if they are laid off? The upcoming recession strikes fear into their hearts. No savings, credit cards maxed, and huge monthly payments…How long before the house of cards comes crashing down? What will the neighbors think?
Our old friend Pareto
This comes back to the 80/20 principal. 80% of society just doesn’t get it. 20% does, and I include my readers in this group. That is why we live within our means. That is why we are debt free. That is why we have the savings to weather any emergency. That is why we advance, but keep a balanced life perspective. That is why we often start our own businesses.
And that is why we don’t count these people our true friends. We may be acquaintances. We can smile and nod and chat. We can drift into their circle, but we usually leave them confused. Why don’t we drive a new BMW? You’re further up the food chain, but aren’t interested in moving into (pick your exclusive neighborhood).
Flash forward 10 years
This is where the fun begins. Those same people are still at the same job. They are still unhappy and don’t understand why. Their lives are in shambles. That new BMW was leased, and they are onto the next car. This time they can’t afford a BMW…They may have kept the house, but had to declare bankruptcy to save their sanity. They are still drowning in debt. They are aging prematurely. Their health if failing.
You have moved on to better things. Your business is thriving. You travel to exotic places. You have a close knit group of friends you can trust. Your kids are taking your life lessons to heart, and are thriving on their own. That house…you did eventually move, but not just for social reasons. You bought your dream house on the lake, or the beach house, or a cabin in the mountains. And you own it outright.
Since balance was important, you have time to enjoy life. You didn’t wait until you were retired to travel and do the things you love. You are healthy and vibrant.
This is why we do the things we do.