I have never enjoyed politics. I don’t like watching the news and hearing about how much the democrats hate the republicans, and vice versa, I cannot stand the political ads online or over commercial breaks around election time, and I have no patience for government shut-downs that threaten my financial security. As much as a I detest politics, I have no choice but to face the reality of our current economy and decisions by our government leaders.
Unfortunately, taking a minute to understand what is really going on in the political spheres, is a sure-fire way to make me unhappy with the state of my country. This year, my family has been hit hard by the realities of a broken government. My husband who works very hard for the Air Force as a civilian financial specialist, was furloughed for several days this summer. His job was also threatened by the government shut-down that occurred a couple of weeks ago.
My dad raised me to be a very hard worker. I get up early, I got to bed late, and I give 120% to my gym clients, and my web-marketing clients through the day. If I am not literally collapsing into bed at the end of the day, I feel as if I did not fulfill my goals and mission for the day. Many would call me a workaholic. My husband works very hard as well and always seeks to go above and beyond at work. When he gets home from work, I often ask him, “Were you valuable today?”
Here’s the problem … in the past, Brandon and I had an expectation that hard work equaled reward. We might have even gone as far to think that hard work equaled entitlement to good benefits, job promotions, and an easier life.
Turns out we were wrong …
In today’s economy, hard work does not equal entitlement. Hard work equals exhaustion at the end of the day, and a sense of fulfillment that we did as much as we could for our clients and our employers. But it does not mean that we are entitled to good benefits, job promotions, or an easier life.
Today I went to the dermatologist for a yearly check-up. I had a suspicious mole that the doctor wanted to remove. I called my insurance company to check on the charge of the procedure before I opted to go through with it. Turns out, the “good” insurance that we pay top dollar for through Brandon’s job, and work very hard to receive, covers only a small percentage of the procedure, after a $150 copay that is in addition to a $35 copay I already paid, and then I have to pay 30% of the lab fees, and for any creams, etc, that are given to me. So, in short — getting a very small mole removed (2 second procedure) would cost me a few-to-several hundred dollars (at the very least).
Ultimately, I turned down the procedure. But here’s where things went downhill. As I was leaving the doctor’s office, I glanced in the waiting room and saw many people with a variety of economic status’, ages, races, etc. I walked to my car and immediately started making assumptions about the people sitting in the waiting room thinking things like the following, “I bet she chooses to be a stay-at-home mom to her 3 kids even though she has the ability to work, gets government aid, and will get several things taken care of at no cost to her at the dermatologist today.” And frankly, I am probably right — and frankly, that made me a little frustrated because I had an expectation that since my husband and I both work very hard, we should be rewarded by not having to pay hundreds of dollars for a very small procedure.
But, here’s what I realized. In order to stay happy in the US today with our current political leaders and current economic and political situations … I have to change my expectations.
I work hard, Brandon works hard, and we are extremely thankful for wonderful careers. Personally, I juggle two careers — two professions that I absolutely love and am passionate about. I’m a personal trainer to some of the best clients in the world, and I am a web-marketing consultant and specialist for amazing clients who I choose to work with because I am passionate about their brands/companies/institutions.
My plan is this — I am going to continue working my butt off for as long as I live. We will do everything to the best of our ability because it is a responsibility that we have. We are not entitled to benefits, or more money, or even extended contracts.
I will work my tail off, collapse into bed at the end of the day, and be extremely thankful for blessings along the way. Not because I deserve them, but because God chose to bless us.
And here’s the thing. As I look around at the people around me — there are always going to be many who are not working hard, who do feel a sense of entitlement, who think they are superior to me. And that’s ok. I do not envy lazy people nor do I want to be a person who feels they are special or superior.
Brandon and I are only 26 and 27. We potentially have a long life ahead of us. I do not want to live in bitterness toward others or my government. I am choosing to change my expectations and ultimately my attitude. I choose to be thankful for my current situation, and committed to contentment.
What about you? Do you have a sense of entitlement or bitterness toward those who do? How do you plan to change your circumstances or your attitude today?
* I believe that I need to add a small disclaimer to this post because it is hitting a nerve with many of my readers in a way that I never intended (see comments below). This post is simply me sharing my thoughts about changing my expectations. There was no “woman with three kids” at the dermatologist yesterday. In fact, I was the only mom there with kids running around, and trust me — Emma was literally running around. I used the mom as an example, and in retrospect, it was a poor example. I have nothing against stay-at-home moms. I have many friends and clients who are SAHMs and I am a WAHM. That was not [in any way] my message. However, I do have an immediate family member (a sister) who is a mom of three and works the system like no one I’ve ever met. I’ve seen welfare and court systems manipulated in ways I could never imagine (first hand), and by a sister no less. I truly appreciate people taking the time to read my blog and dialogue. However, I do not respond to anonymous comments. I would be happy to dialogue with anyone via email as well if you prefer.