Living La Vida Middle Class

When I was in high school, I remember learning about socioeconomic status. I learned more in college and graduate school as I had lots of coursework on diversity. However, I don’t really remember seriously thinking about it and processing the class system, because it was not something I found interesting or found to be very impactful in my life at that time. But today, I find myself seriously thinking about it.

I watch reality television. It is one of my guilty pleasures. But watching reality television about the upper class consumes me with jealousy in an angry type of way. Most of the time I experience jealousy in a “I’m so happy for you” kind of way, and I loathe when I feel jealous-angry. This week, I’ve been watching episodes of Housewives of Beverly Hills, and it’s upsetting. These people are so rich their lives focus on conflicts with each other on trivial “he said, she said” statements. Sometimes they say things to each other’s face, while aboard their yachts, or dining at a 5-star restaurant, or in their mansions, or travelling to some exotic place. It’s rare to see conflict over serious problems, and when there are, these issues get little air-time and there is much secrecy. I can no longer stand to watch any of the Kardashians with their lame arguments. I’m sure some or most of this is staged. Regardless, I don’t feel entertained as much as I feel disgusted after watching this type of reality television.

I feel so upset about how wasteful, how privileged, and how clueless these people can be. One problem is that even if the adults came from a background where they experienced working hard in a lower to middle-class upbringing to get where they are today, they have subjected their children to a lifestyle of stupid wealth. And I get especially mad when I think about how the wealthy have little to stress about regarding matters of finance and survival.

I do not think I will ever have this type of money or know such wealth, and that’s okay. As a therapist, I don’t have opportunities to make crazy-stupid amounts of money without Hollywood’izing myself like a Dr. Phil or Dr. Drew. I just want to make enough money to be able to be stress-free enough to enjoy a few luxuries here and there. However, this feels impossible because being in the middle class means you work hard to get nowhere. We don’t qualify for tax breaks because we make too much, and no matter what I make, I cannot save.  My student loans are outrageous, and I only have a Master’s degree. I do my best to try to save so we can have luxuries like cable television and internet, so we can eat out once in awhile, so we can go on a couple weekend road trips. Most of all, I wish I could make enough to have the luxury to work a little less and spend a little more time with my kids.

I don’t know the solution for us middle-class mommies. The middle class is so big and somewhat abstract today, it’s hard to define. I just read an article from earlier this year stating a middle class household makes from $25,500 to $76,500. It’s debatable though. (Click here to read the article from US News) I find it completely mind-blowing to me how middle class society survives.

The one thing I can do for my own sanity is to stop watching the filthy rich on television. The jealous-anger is not good for my mental well-being, for my physical health, or for my soul.  I can shift my thoughts when I find myself worried about expenses of life, and think instead about gratitude. I am so grateful for my children. I am grateful for every minute I have with them. Gratitude allows for me to be in the present moment, and I am able to value the experience rather than focus on what luxuries we cannot afford. And this is happiness. I am rich because I experience fulfillment with what I have in each moment I live.

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  2 comments for “Living La Vida Middle Class

  1. April 9, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I’ve had several conversations with friends over this very topic. What’s even scarier about these shows (especially the Kardashians) is that tweens/teens watch this stuff and think it really is ‘real life’. These ridiculous shows help dictate fashion, attitudes, what is and is not acceptable behavior – it’s scary! And as you point out, all the middle class folks I know are just trying to make a living and squeeze out a few little luxuries here and there! I don’t know whose ‘reality’ the people on these programs are portraying, but it certainly isn’t mine.

    • Suzanne
      April 9, 2015 at 10:38 am

      I just heard on the radio about an artist who put up “no Kardashian parking” signs on the streets they are known to frequent. Funny. Thanks for reading and sharing. I agree!

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