I know it sounds strange, but I’m glad I didn’t grow up rich. Sure, I probably would have had more opportunities and wouldn’t have had to worry about things like student loans or paying rent, but all in all I don’t think I would have been as happy with my life as I am right now.
You see, for me the struggle is half the fun. I’ve always been driven, I’ll probably always want more, and I love to dream that the sky is truly the limit. If I had grown up as a Hilton where anything I wanted would come to fruition with the snap of my fingers, what would be the fun in that? There’d be no challenge, no way for me to see if I could have been a success without my family’s money or connections, and that just sounds downright unsatisfying to me.
How this thought process came about was I read an article in The Globe and Mail about the late heiress Peaches Geldof who recently died at the young age of 25. It’s still a mystery how she died, but reading about how much she did during her short 25 years on Earth was pretty intriguing. She was born to rich and famous parents, and thus was thrust into the limelight at birth. Similar to Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie, she was a party girl growing up, eventually evolving into a more mature fashion icon and TV personality. She also married twice and had two children. By 25 I think the craziest things I did were visit Africa and move in with my boyfriend. I guess things just move a lot faster when money is no object.
That being said, the most interesting part of the article was when it explained that “most [people who] are brought up with great wealth (categorized as fortune of $25-million U.S. or more) are generally dissatisfied with life, and in many cases prone to depression.” I know that if I was born into a rich family, I’d definitely fall into that category. The thing that drives me the most is the hope that I can surpass what my parents achieved. They both came from practically nothing, raised 3 children, and somehow afforded a house, two cars, family vacations, and financial assistance for my sisters and I when we needed it most. They conquered some big goals, and my only hope is that I can do all of this while having the career I want and being able travel as much as I can. That’s why I work so hard, put such an importance of being financially savvy, and pick myself up after every failure. If my parents were billionaires, how could I ever surpass their achievements? It’s not hard to see how it would be easy to feel like a failure and become depressed with impossible standards like that.
You know when you’re having a rough day, but then remember that there’s always someone in the world who has it worse than you to gain some perspective? What gives me perspective and ultimately happiness is knowing that I’m responsible for my own success. Although I may have a long road ahead of me, I know that that just means I have a lot to look forward to. I may have come from humble beginnings, but no matter what I would never swap my shoes for those of some trust fund baby.
Are you glad you didn’t grow up rich, or do you wish you were born into wealth?
Image: Viktor Hanacek