November 11, 2016

A Fear I Know All To Well

I’ve spent this week in a bit of shock. The election did not go as I anticipated, and I’ve been bouncing from analysis to analysis trying to get a better understanding of why. There’s been a lot of discussion on the economic fears of middle class American’s, one in particular has taken up permanent residence inside my brain. Paraphrasing: It’s the fear that they cannot provide for their kids’ what they had growing up.

I know that fear. I know how all encompassing it can be. Last year, when we realized we couldn’t make the life style we wanted in Silicon Valley work, and we were struggling to get an offer accepted, everything felt so unaffordable. I spent more than a few nights in tears after the girls went to sleep. I wanted them to have everything I had growing up. Never mind that Silicon Valley was different from the suburban town I grew up. Never mind that the housing markets and school systems were different. Never mind that houses came bigger back then, with yards to play in, then they do now. Never mind that there were more top school systems to take our pick of. I felt like I should be able to give them every advantage my parents gave me. I felt like I was falling short and they would suffer because of it. I felt like I was failing them.

Now that we’ve moved that fear has shifted. I feel like I should be doing more to insulate them from the harsh realities of the world. I sometimes lie in bed awake at night worrying about the affordability of housing, and what that will mean for the girls when they reach adult hood. I feel a tremendous pressure to not only succeed, but to succeed big enough that I can bootstrap their lives when they become adults. I never want them to feel this fear.

I felt that fear for a short period of time, and it left a significant imprint on me. I can image how feeling that fear for day after day, year after year, with no solution in sight can make one desperate. Desperate enough to believe in impossible promises from a flawed messenger.

I wish I had answers. All I have is empathy.

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