Privilege Vs Merit: Confessions of A Spoiled Brat

To what extent do you deserve what you have?

7 Siblings
My siblings and I

If like me, you grew up with substantial privilege, you don’t go around bragging about it, am I right? That would be in bad taste. It also wouldn’t reflect well on you that there was almost NO statistical chance — due to the conditions of your birth and nothing else — you’d end up poor, incarcerated, a high-school dropout or homeless.

Here’s my three-part confession:

  1. I have it all.
  2. I want more still.
  3. I deserve nothing.
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Prepare to Live the Most in 2021 by Taking Stock of 2020

What did you learn this year?

Woman looking out onto a body of waterDo you want 2021 to be the best year possible? I sure do. That’s why I’ve been pondering 2020 like crazy, to understand what lessons it taught me.

I bet you a million dollars -no, make that 5 million- you didn’t have a favorite mask before 2020. Am I right?

For starters, the job market for special education teachers is tight, due to the pandemic and all. Then there’s the fact that I’m tenured, which means I’d have to do something mighty egregious to get fired.


Life lesson #2: The difference between“knowing” and “seeing”.


Life lesson #3: I’ll never buy gold or diamond jewelry, not even if I won the lottery.

Though it has been going on for a long time, 2020 is the year I’ve come to see the destruction of the Venezuelan Amazon as a result of mining.

Now I can’t behold a piece of gold or diamond jewelry without instantly feeling the hurt of knowing what human vanity, cruelty, senselessness and stupidity — mine included first and foremost! — do to other humans (in this case indigenous Amazonians) and the environment.


Life lesson #4: We’re committing collective self-harm.

Definitely the most obvious discovery of 2020 for me. We’re destroying that which supports us: the natural world. We’re doing it directly through deforestation, habitat destruction, and, indirectly, by changing the climate.

With few exceptions, we’re all complicit. I definitely have been. (Am still!)


The year 2020 will go down as the year I became addicted to writing.

It’s not about the money, followers, or influence you may have on 23 or 237,360 people — though it all counts.


Life lesson #6: I’m not ready to go gray.

I made this discovery during the spring lockdown when I seriously considered this decision as if it would change the course of world history.

Are frivolity and pride the worst sins?

Lesson #7: I want to be a participant in social media.

Yes, social media is addictive, especially for younger people who’ve grown up with it. The polarization, misinformation and junk it produces is also a dangerous reality. Just watch The Social Dilemma!

What role does social media play in your life?

What’s in store for 2021?

My root canal story didn’t end well. The tooth couldn’t be saved so it had to be extracted and the gum cavity filled with bovine bone flakes. The gum should be ready for an implant early next year.

The end of the pandemic, though closer, is still many months away.

But I have no idea what life-changing discoveries 2021 will bring. That’s kind of exciting, don’t you think?

Anyway, the end of the year brings to mind this quote from Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave:

“He most lives who thinks the most, feels the noblest, acts the best.”

You can live the most on any year, at any age and under all circumstances. Which means we can all live the most in 2021.

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