I drove down to Newport Beach during lunch today to run an errand. Cruising PCH, it was beyond obvious how wonderful this part of the country is, and how blessed I feel to live in it. I’m sure we all feel that way about our little corner of the world that we grew up in, but today — with its views of Catalina, views of Palos Verdes, sun shining high overhead and a coastal breeze — I felt especially fond of Orange County. Coming from someone who prefers cool, gray, damp days, today’s weather was clearly impressive.
Stopped at a light, I was watching a city maintenance worker weed-whack the median. Next to him sat a Maserati. As the light turned green, I noticed that the car ahead of it was a Ferrari. I wondered if he ever noticed the cars around him; if he didn’t, I wondered if he ever did. I wondered if he wished he had one, or if he was quite happy with his own life.
A bit further down, I saw a mixture of kids — some on beach cruisers who seemed to lived in the area, and others who were exiting a bus that had come from parts farther north. In the bright afternoon and with only the beach on the brain, everyone was equal.
I pulled into the parking deck of where I needed to go, and noticed the cars lined up there: a 1970s Porsche in mint condition, a Fisker Karma, another Maserati. The parking deck was silent; nobody was heading out for lunch, and nobody was making their way back to the office after having been out. I wondered if people were holed up inside working to keep their cars, their houses, or if this was simply typical.
As I drove back to the office, I noticed more. Just…more. More extremes, more gaps, more of what seemed like a divide. A Bentley next to an old Nissan Sentra. A Lamborghini next to a Toyota Tercel. I wondered who had what, who wished they had more — and then I wondered who really had what.
It would be a shame to have all the nice things you’ve ever wanted, but to be upside down when it comes to that nice house. Or to have a marriage that looks picture perfect on your desk in a frame, but crumbling behind the scenes. It would be a shame to have a view of one of the most beautiful places on earth, but to feel as lonely as that vast expanse of ocean. It would be a shame to be able to talk a good game, but — in those quiet hours when there’s nobody around to talk to — to know that reality isn’t as good as the story.
All of this today got me thinking about who has what, and while we never know who’s in good standing at the club, who’s paying their credit cards on time, who has no debt, who has a relationship built on an unshakable foundation and who really has millions socked away, sometimes it’s those people that we consider the have-nots on the surface who are sometimes the ones best-suited for the long haul.
And sometimes not. But…you just never know.
Tonight I am thankful for everything I have, and for everything I don’t have. I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve learned in life about stuff, both the important and the unimportant. I’m thankful for taking need vs. want more seriously in my 30s, and I’m thankful for the holes that I’ve been in, and the holes that I’m crawling out of. I don’t often wish for “more,” except to wish for more focus to create the life that I want to live, and more patience to realize that I may not get there at 40, but instead at 50.