Monday, May 14, 2012

Common People...

I hear frequently about the common people and I had to look it up.  It means what I thought:  “The terms common people, the masses, or commoners denote a broad social division referring to regular people who are members of neither the nobility or the priesthood.”

I hear people say that this or that is “not of the common people.”   It made me wonder if I am common.  Ordinary.  Part of the group: The Common People.  I am.  And I am not.  Mostly, I am.

Common in that I was born and raised by people who were born and raised by people who were not nobility.  Or priests.  I went to school, graduated, got married and had children.  When they were small, I went back to school and got my RN degree.

Those children grew up and now I have grandchildren.   I pay taxes.  They pay taxes.  Until this past June, I worked for a living and filled out my time card.  I worked holidays, weekends, nights and overtime.  I was a staff nurse, a charge nurse, and a nurse manager. 

I vote.  I grocery shop.  I drive to the coast.  I go to the gym.  I am now familiar with Social Security and Medicare paperwork and have filled out my fair share.  I own my own home.  I pay property taxes, school taxes, sales taxes and all the rest of the taxes levied on me.

I participate in my community.  I give to charities.  I spend time and money in my hometown.   I enjoy the mountains and the coast and go there as often as I can.  So, am I a common person?  I think I am, based on what I have said here.

Others say I am not.  Why?  Because I live a “charmed life”.  I have a home, two cars and money in the bank.  I am not suffering financially.  Nor can I go out and spend an exorbitant amount of money on something that I don’t need.  I manage.  I manage well.

I took advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves.  I didn’t settle for a short vocational course; I took the hard road and became an RN.  It wasn’t easy, but I did it.  With that diploma, I opened doors to greater earning potential.  I earned more money in my pension.  I earned a greater amount of Social Security.
And I worked hard.  Nothing about nursing is easy: mentally, emotionally or physically.  So why do some not consider me a common person?  Because I have more education, got a better job, and was a better steward of my money?  Or maybe I was just lucky…..

To have others chastise what I am, or what I have, as being beyond the realm of “common” irritates me.  Creating a caste system of “haves” and “have nots” does nothing to mend the ills in this country.  Each of us made our choices and each of us is reaping the rewards of those choices.  Good or bad, we made those choices.

What makes this country great is the ability of each of us to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves.  That doesn’t mean that there won’t be obstacles, or that they will be easy to overcome.  Those events that do not kill us make us stronger, and those opportunities that we take test our mettle at times.

If you have less, that doesn’t make you less.   If you tear yourself up, envying what others have, you won’t increase your own stature in any way.  Learning to recognize that we are where we are as a consequence of the choices that we made takes courage.  And maturity.  And a willingness to own our own course in this life.

It’s what makes us who were are: common people….


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