Monday, February 22, 2010

How rich are you?

If you want to do something humbling and a bit sobering today -- visit Here you can find out how rich you are compared to the rest of the world's population. You just put in your annual income and out comes your ranking. I was surprised to find that my husband and I together are in the top 5% of the world's richest people!

That's super humbling because here in the United States we are not conditioned to think of ourselves as rich unless we have enough money for expensive cars, the newest technology, fancy vacations and the like. By US standards I don't consider myself all that wealthy. My husband is an electrician and I'm a self-employed actress. It's not like our careers would put either of us in the uppermost echelons of society. And yet we have three good meals a day, a warm and safe place to live, cars to drive, a computer, television, and many more little things that I couldn't even begin to list. Certainly we are rich and blessed beyond what we deserve! It's only the media that would make us think otherwise. They bombard us with images of all the stuff we need to be happy and feel wealthy. They fuel our greed and our need for more without telling us that every three seconds a child dies from hunger or that with the $20 billion Americans spend annually on ice cream, we could feed 83 million hungry children for a full year. Now I'm not saying you should stop eating ice cream for good -- I don't think that's the answer and I'd probably go through major withdrawl if it were since I know I contribute significantly to that $20 billion. But it should make us stop and think. And then again, the answer isn't in the statistics either. It's in the faces of the children in need. I'm convinced that if they weren't just numbers on a page or images on a screen but rather people that we had to sit across the table from, maybe things would be different.

All I know is that during those months when it feels like we are just scraping by to pay our bills and I'm tempted to think how nice it would be to have a cushier pay-check, I'm going to try to remember how rich I already am. And I'm going to try to continue to figure out what part I play in spreading the wealth.

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