In this era of reality TV and social networking, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the desire for “fame” is within all of us, even if it’s there in a very small dose. We want to do something that will attract the attention of others. I think it explains why we are inclined to put up those cryptic attention-getting status updates so that people will bang down our inboxes with questions and concerns. Regardless of what our jobs are, we imagine reaching the peak of that experience.
I said in another post that I am low-maintenance. I enjoy the simplicity of my life and at times am even proud of it. But I’ve also always craved the limelight a bit. When I was a teacher I did fantasize about being “teacher of the year” (or even being nominated) and the second that I started writing again I dreamed of being the next big author.
Then there’s the fortune part of this post. I think it’s also in all of us to desire riches. When I was young I had plenty, but there was always someone who had a little more. Every time my mother bought me a new Barbie, the next-door neighbor’s mom would buy her two. I had the Barbie Jeep and she had the Barbie RV. She had the Barbie dream house 2 years before I had mine. In high school, I drove a 1979 Honda Accord that we (my friends and I) named “The Little Brown Turd” and two of my closest friends drove much newer and better cars. They also lived in bigger houses. I had it good, but sometimes I thought if I had a better car or a bigger house and more money to spend my life would be better.
Here I am as an adult and for the most part I have all the stuff I want. Mark and I have come a long way through the years. We started our life together with nothing but a few pieces of furniture we brought from our parent’s homes. Each year we’ve grown a little bit richer and yet there is still the desire that if we just had a bit more we could be happier. I still browse through Realtor.com from time to time checking out the bigger houses and occasionally wish I could replace my entire wardrobe with clothes from nicer stores than Old Navy and Target (no offense as I love these stores).
Recently I had the opportunity to get the feel of both fame and fortune. I sat next to a woman at the television studio before Lissa’s interview. I didn’t even realize she was famous. She walked in fidgeting with her phone. Apparently, it wasn’t working. Being connected was an absolute necessity in her world. She had a day filled with appointments including a telephone interview with NPR that same afternoon. I was beside her as she made the call to her cell carrier and for the first time truly understood what it meant to feel someone else’s energy. Her world was crashing down upon her because she didn’t have a cell phone. It might sound like I’m picking on her a bit, but I really am not. This was her world…one of fame. In order to stay in the position she is in, she must keep all these balls in the air and that includes the ability to make and answer the calls that are constantly coming in. I’ve dreamed of her life without even grasping just what it means and what has to be sacrificed to live it.
I also met someone who was ultra-wealthy. This person had everything money could buy, yet longed for deep friendships and connections with like-minded people. I looked around their amazing home and knew in that moment the grass isn’t always greener and money will not buy happiness.
I’ve alluded to this topic in my last two posts. I wrote about realizing my big dream wasn’t really right for me and about how we miss opportunities to do things that are great for ourselves and the people in our small circle by trying to fit labels. This is just an extension of that. I think ultimately the motivation behind the choices we make has to be pure and beneficial. If we are doing things just to get rich or famous, we will probably find ourselves less than full-filled. My advice to myself (and you if you dare to take it) is to seek to give, help, connect, and heal and perhaps by following that path the stars in my eyes will be transformed.