Calm down, we all hit the jackpot

Casey Metcalf, Opinion Editor

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I won’t lie – I’m writing this last minute. I had a different idea for what I wanted to cover today. But I had a conversation today in which I heard some people protesting the Kardashian clan and how much money they “needlessly” make. Kim Kardashian by herself has a net worth of $85 million. That’s more money than most of us will ever be worth. We may clock in at one million if we are very, very lucky.

And that’s what I want to talk about. “Lucky”. The bottom line is this – it doesn’t matter what kind of utopian society we somehow band together and create. There will always be rich people. There will always be poor people. You and I may work paycheck to paycheck our whole lives and there will always be someone who never has to work a single day. There will always be a Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian got lucky. She won the figurative lottery. She’s not immensely talented or intellectual on the surface, and she didn’t build a business from the ground up. She didn’t do much of anything. But alas, she got very lucky and now she brings in about $28 million a year. She can afford to have whatever she wants, go wherever she desires and never worry about saving up to do so.

And it only seems natural for this reality to incite strong negative feelings in the rest of us. It seems right to feel a sense of injustice. But as much as we like to pretend that it’s your inner Batman crying out for justice and fairness, that’s not completely true. Deeper down it’s nothing but jealousy. Because if tomorrow morning you woke up and someone took a video of you tripping in the hallway and it went crazy viral, and all of a sudden you had MTV calling you to be on the next season of The Real World – you’d take that gig. You’d accept that ridiculous sum of money that you earned by doing something pointless. You tripped, you didn’t do anything extraordinary. But that wouldn’t stop you from taking that money.

So deeper than justice it is jealousy. It is envy. And once you admit that to yourself you can begin to see the other, more pleasant aspects of this.

Kim Kardashian got lucky. She won that figurative lottery we were talking about. However – and here’s where it gets important.

I also won the lottery.

I won the lottery when I was born in America. This has given me privileges that many people can never dream of getting.

I won the lottery when I was born in an upper middle class household. I’ve seen more food in one dinner out than some people will never see in their lives.

I won the lottery when I was born white. I will never experience the immense discrimination and prejudice as well as fear that comes with being a person of color in America.

And you don’t have to relate to all of these sentences to realize that you, too, have hit the jackpot. The reality of the world is that no matter where you came from or where you are in life, there will always be someone who got a little less lucky than you. And on the other side there will always be someone who got a little more lucky. And the only way to spend your life free of bitterness is to realize this.

We are all creatures bouncing around trying to find our way on a big floating ball of mass. The most you can do is work hard to realize whatever true potential you have and be as successful as you possibly can be – whatever that means to you. Whether your success is counted in money or loving relationships, the fact that the Kardashians got dealt a lucky hand has no impact on your life. You got a lucky hand too. Embrace it, and stop attacking others for the way the world has treated them. It could have been a lot meaner to you.

 

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