COMMENTARY 794.3: The Yuppie Lifestyle and Satisfaction

T.S. Eliot said, “Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They do not mean to do harm…they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

How do we feel important? Often, it’s by trying to obtain an image of success created by a culture that prizes getting ahead in terms of money and career. Think how much more integrity there would be if we understood how futile it is to pursue the empty vessel of prosperity.

In The Death of Ethics in America, Cal Thomas quotes a letter written to The Washington Post in the mid-1980s: “I’ve lived both lives, Yuppie and non-Yuppie,” the person wrote. “In the first, I was married to a professional woman, and on our dual incomes we Club Med-ed, sports car-raced, alpine-skied, and Kennedy-Centered our 14-year marriage into oblivion. I‘m now 42, remarried to a woman who gave up her professional career to provide full-time care for our 1- and 5-year-old daughters, and living in Gaithersburg, Maryland – on one salary.

“Trips to Australia and Europe, Saturday night dining at Nathan’s, and Wolf Trap concerts are distant memories. Vacations are now taken in our nine-year-old used pop-up camper, and dining out means ‘Hooray! Daddy’s bringing home a pizza.’ We’ve just started into the second round of one hundred readings of Pat the Bunny for our 1-year-old. Satisfaction level in my first life measured about 2 on the 10 scale. Measured now, satisfaction is about 9.5.”

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 3

  1. A case of misplaced priorities re-examined. Sounds very familiar in our world…especially in what we are exposed to politically here in the USA.

  2. I don’t know Mr. Josephson, this looks more of a balance issue than anything. I believe you can have the best of both worlds, and can lead a balanced life.

  3. I agree with the last comment … a lot of this depends on balance. It also depends on timing and what you want to experience before you leave the planet. I, for instance, have already raised my children. I can’t do that part of life again. And while I absolutely adore my children and grandchildren and wouldn’t trade any of my time with them for anything in the world, I would also like to be able to do the world-travel, the theater, and the skiing while I am still able-bodied, and I would like to be able to look forward to a safe and secure retirement when I am no longer able to work. Those things are now in question with such an insecure, financially unstable world. Recently, I found myself envying my daughter (the mother of my grandchildren) — both for what she is able to afford and for her stage in life. That’s not healthy either. It told me to “get a life”. What that means at my age and stage is different than what it means at younger ages and stages. So meaningful advice needs to be tailored, not broad-blanketed across all age, wealth, and geographic stratas.

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