Opportunities aren't rights either. My hot shower, my Chevy,Valentine's Day roses delivered to my door, our Craiglist beach cruisers, the wine tasting I'm planning for my best friends bachelorette party... I know those are priveleges. I know it's a privelege to be at MIT, I know it's a privelege to have a job, I know it's a privelege to be an American woman... or do I? Being born into this nation is a catch 22. I'm born with limitless opportunities, yet I always hunger for more. It's a privelge to have an opportunity.
Tonight Ted and I spent the evening listening to the story of a friend who lives far from the jumbled thoughts I'm sorting through. He comes from a place where 1 in 1000 go to college. He comes from a place, read it, 90% drop out of middle school......90% DROP OUT OF MIDDLE SCHOOL....He's the third ever from his village to go to college. To get to college meant his three older sisters had to drop out of middle school to work in the factories so his family could support him. With joy they did this. With joy his father worked a labor intensive job in the city, coming back to the village only during harvest season to plow the crops. My friend has little to no childhood memories of his father because his father was working for the sake of his son's education. For the sake of opportunity. I'm not talking about a family who didn't have enough money for family vacations or cable tv. This isn't a situation where the father worked a second job so his family could have new clothing. Not even that. I'm talking about a situation where opportunity is at stake and the family, with joy, took it upon themselves so that just one of them could finish middle school, go to high school, finish high school and then the ultimate, get into college. I know nothing of this life.
My friend is a hero in his village. He's a legend. He's the scholar who is studying for a masters degree in America, the one who made it out. The one who will be filthy rich. Except, he doesn't want to be filthy rich. He wants to go back and farm. Because he wants to teach his village the beauty of organic farming, empower his village through micro enterprising and invest his opportunity so that there are 4ths, 5ths, 100ths, to make it to college.
We both fought back tears tonight. I didn't want him to think I was crying tears of pity. I don't have pity for him, I have pity for me. It's more than about feeling bad about complaining because I hate that I don't have a dishwasher (If I walk into your kitchen and start caressing your dishwasher it's because I'm in a state of lust). It's beyond that I know I'm selfish and most of my days revolve around, 'what can I do to make me have a better day?' It's that I'm so unaware of the lack of opportunities most of the world lacks. How could I possibly think that my life is the norm? In my head I know it. But it's not until I hear it, from a fighter, that I start to understand it. He fights for opporunity, I fight to not buy stuff that isn't fair. Those are two different worlds.
I'm not going to bed tonight defeated or feeling like I'm a horrible person for being a product of my society. I'm laying my head in excitement understanding the real battle I face: the fighting of entitlement. I don't deserve any of it, but it's mine. Most others don't have it, but it's all mine. But it's not all mine for me. It's all mine to invest. And what an opportunity.