“We’re on the other side now,” said the uber-successful husband of a FOF friend, as he lifted his right arm and started moving it diagonally downward to indicate that we had reached the peak of our lives and were sliding down the mountain.
“We have to move aside now for the young. The world is for them,” he added.
HUH, I thought. “The world is for all of us,” I answered adamantly.
“That’s a cute answer. But now is the time for us to move aside and do the things we want to do, like working for worthy causes.”
I became more indignant. “I am not wealthy like you are. You are extraordinarily lucky that you can more fully devote yourself to charity, but I have to work and I want to work. I help young people in their careers all the time but I still need to earn a living—to live.”
I admire this man’s success and his honorable intentions, and more power to him that his stupendous wealth allows him to do as he wishes at this stage in his life. By the way, he still makes oodles of money by giving people “advice,” as he puts it.
Even if I were as wealthy as he, I still would not view the world as this man does. The world is indeed for all of us, young, old, and in between. And if this man is so intent on turning the world over to the young, why doesn’t he give up the fees he gets for “giving people advice” and hire 10 young people who can’t get jobs in this economy?
We all view the world through different eyes. I would love to have oodles of money and time to devote to things like cancer or sick and underprivileged children, but I give what I can to organizations such as the Children’s Wish Foundation, Conservation International, Adults with Disabilities. I also help individuals one by one, such as L, who I supported (financially and emotionally) when she got out of prison after 16 years, and Rudy, who was able to buy a new transporation van in Turks and Caicos after I gave him the funds he needed.
0 Responses to “The world according to my friend’s husband”
Hi M and Jan,
I love your comments, even if I don’t agree with them. 🙂
Sadly, he wasn’t musing, he was pontificating. The point of my post was that he thinks everyone over fifty should do as he does. If only I could.
Jan just left a very intelligent post and so of course, I agree with her completely 🙂
When I read your reaction to his comment I was startled. To me, the remark sounded like nothing more than the musings of an aging fellow ( faboverfifty, maybe?) contemplating how to transition into another phase of his life and looking for something more meaningful.
I think you misunderstand the man’s intentions. Men at that age are often trying to come to grips with their mortality and simply realize that, as one of my former students once said, “At the end, I don’t want to think that my only impact was selling a million tubes of toothpaste.” They are searching for a legacy and they find that (and get quite a bit of status in the process) through charitable work. Most women feel we have a legacy outside of work via our children, our friendships and our volunteer work and so, this grappling for meaning seems odd to us.
Further, because men of that era (actually most males currently over 40) were trained to be linear thinkers, they really can only do one thing at a time — they worked, then they can do charity. Women, however, have always been trained to be parallel thinkers (as have most younger men) and so, the need to put aside one activity to move on to another is alien to us.
Perhaps if you think of the sanctimony more as desperation, it will be less annoying.
I agree as well. Although, as an unreconstructed do-gooder (with enough snark to keep it from sanctimony), I still find time to do both. While unemployed, on disability, & trying to “fix” both of those situations. It can be done. Takes a lot of lists, though:)
I always wonder about people like the man you describe…I was in company such as his but found it so obnoxious that I left those circles. I would have been cast out eventually, in any event, because of “loser” status. It happens. I feel much more free without these folks. If they happen to be married to friends, I see the friends (if they’ve not become totally isolated by their privilege) alone.
Cheers…FOF looks like it’s doing very well. Kudos, Geri.
Agree with you completely. And thank you for your kind and generous words about FOF. It’s yours. I’m just the band leader. 🙂
Preppy 101 says:
Totally agree with you. Totally. xoxo
Toby Wollin says:
My absolutely favorite scene from the original “Sabrina” is where William Holden (as the very shallow brother) asks the older, staid Homburg-wearing brother Linus (played by Humphrey Bogart) why he spends so much time on the business – is it the money? And Linus answers with a launch into what happens to people and their families when a business makes jobs. My goal in life now is to make a business where if I do my job right, I have to start hiring people – and my plan is to do it right here in my hometown. I love to work – I’m finally getting the chance to do what I always wanted and I want to make sure that I make things better for one more family while I’m doing it.
Geri Brin says:
I am SOOOO on the same page.