Not according to an American lifestyle, but have you seen the way I live? I live in far more luxury than most people in the world ever have. What has exemplified all of this was buying a motorcycle. I don't need a motorcycle. I have a van that runs well and I have bicycles. I have plenty of transportation options. Now the stator is broken so the battery does not recharge while it is running which means that I have to fix the stator and it will cost more money. I feel this motorcycle is a status symbol that just shows off my incredible wealth. Perhaps some of you will laugh that a 1966 125cc Yamaha with a broken stator can be seen an a sign of incredible wealth especially when it cost less than half as much as my road bicycle, but as I look around my garage at my three bicycles, skis, motorcycle, carved book shelf, canvas, chainsaw and van I am afraid the trend will continue.
Traveling internationally has been wonderful for me. Particularly visiting Baltistan, Pakistan in 2009. To see the wealth of one of the wealthy of the community in Hushe was eye opening. At the time it all seemed very natural and ordinary given the six weeks leading up to it, but as I recall that experience I feel so materially rich. The house, as far as I could tell had a main room, a kitchen, and a bathroom (with a squat toilet of course). The main room had no furniture. There was simply a collection of rugs and blankets which when rolled up made back rests. All of the food was on the floor. The family had no car or motorcycle that I know of. There was a lightbulb and window in each room. When I sit on my couch eating off of my coffee table watching a dvd on my television set over a nicely carpeted floor having cooked on an electric stove I feel like a materialist pig. I don't deserve to have a couch. I don't deserve to have an air conditioner or carpeting.
This attitude extends to other aspects of my life as well. I don't deserve to have a great job, or really two great jobs. I don't deserve to run a 32:12 10k or a 2:30 marathon. I didn't deserve surviving Broad Peak without any damage. I don't deserve some form of coffee every morning. I don't deserve the amazing formal education that I have. I don't deserve the food that I eat. I eat really really well. I'm serious, I have great food every day from Larabars to raw Ahi tuna from Hy-Vee to whole wheat pasta to Texas Roadhouse, which is a great bargain steak restaurant.
When I describe some of the things I would like to do in the future something that usually comes out is I want to change the world. I know that most 26 year olds don't really talk that way, unfortunately. The Occupy Wall Street protests have come at an interesting time in my life. I see the wealth distribution of the world as unfair. I know that life is and will always be unfair, and I am not proposing that everyone in the world lives on the same income. I feel that the wealth inequality incentive to work harder is a valid albeit shallow method of encouraging progressively increasing performance. However, I believe there is a cycle of poverty and a cycle of wealth. People from undeveloped regions do not have the access to basic education that we enjoy in the United States. Due to that they are less likely to reach the level of education that will allow them to pursue an advanced education. Without people with an education everything from clean water and electricity to terrorism and violence become more significant problems.
One of the great things about blogging is that once you start, there does not always have to be an ending. This is one of those times. I have a few things brewing. A few things that have caught my passion. I have been struggling for most of my short life to find a cause which I could get behind. While that is still developing in my mind, a few things are becoming more clear. First, education is a big deal. The impact of one person's education on a community is astounding. The impact of thousands is unfathomable. It may seen cliche but the movie Pay it Forward and idea is something that totally meshes with my spirituality and inspires me to contribute to others. It can be hard to put others ahead of myself, but as I get older and have more opportunities to put others ahead of myself I find that the experiences become more rewarding.
Stay tuned, things are developing which I feel are significant. My friends, we are changing the world. One tiny miniscule aspect of it at a time.