I am the baby, raised in an upper-middle class family. I grew up with the impression that we were just barely above poor. My Dad’s motto was “We can’t afford it.” In fact, it wasn’t until my own adulthood that I realized just how much money we had. I never went without necessities and almost always got exactly what I wanted.
The big tip-off for me was in how dissatisfied I was with my childhood, with how often I didn’t like my presents because I was already on to the next, greatest thing. I remember, one Christmas morning, getting a note in my stocking (we were allowed to open the things in our stockings, only, when we awoke in the morning. Everything else had to wait until after we all ate breakfast). The note, signed by Santa, informed of a “friend waiting in the closet” for me. Unable to contain my initial excitement, I was none-the-less disappointed to find that the ’friend’ was Cabbage Patch Kid preemie. I hated those things. They were “so ugly,” unlike their regular sized counter-parts. I knew how expensive they were, insofar as I understood the theory. It just didn’t matter as much as getting what I wanted and when.
I never had to work for anything. What I wanted, I generally got by using my mad debating skills. I can rationalize virtually anything, making it obvious that I absolutely should have my way. In the event of discussion failure, whining, begging or crying were generally as effective. What I didn’t get was rationally explained away, even if the logic was less than stellar. “I hesitate to buy you a Walkman when it will only cost you money in the end (battery replacement).” All of these things, coupled with a resounding lack of encouragement plus more than my share of discouragement, created a teenager for whom there was no point. Dreaming was fine, but empty. Motivation was useless - not that I knew what it was or how to get it - because I just couldn’t do it, anyway.
What does this mean for my future? How will I overcome the lessons I was taught in order to become a proactive character in the story of my life? Stay tuned for the next episode in which more will be revealed...