What if We Chose This Life?

Ivy Getty’s Wedding

Have you seen this photo? I admit it took my breath away. For a moment, I thought it was a scene cut from the Great Gatsby. But there’s no Leonardo to be found. This is real. This is someone’s real life. Of course, in some abstract way, we know people are wealthy and have these lives and obviously get married in an extravaganza such as this. But, for a second, I forgot.

So enmeshed in my humble life, satisfied with my little home and my lovely garden, grateful for my girls, and proud of my job – that my mind neglected to remember that some people have larger lives.

I don’t think I’ve been to a concert venue as large as this scene since the Richfield Coliseum. (So long ago, it was before event centers were named for companies and instead for the cities in which they were built.)

Ivy Getty is a part of THE Getty’s. Granddaughter of John Paul – I know the name from The Getty Museum, which I’ve enjoyed on a number of occasions. They used to offer music on a Saturday evening while the galleries and gardens were opened late. Some people know John Paul Getty descended from the JPG The First who was (once) the richest man in the world.

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Many years ago, I heard the theory that, prior to our birth, we choose our lives and the events that happen in our lives.

I railed against the idea. There’s a hellava lot of things that has happened in my life that I would have never agreed too. “I would not have pressed that button!” I insisted.

But now, years down the road, all I’ve been through, all I’ve learned, there have been benefits. I’ve gained levels of empathy that some people can’t comprehend. (A person with a P.H.D in Religious Studies once asked how I could forgive someone who had harmed me when they never asked for forgiveness or showed remorse.) I have a deep gratitude for the things I do have and put people before material things.

I am by no means perfect. I falter in my empathy. I’m occasionally short on patience. When rushing, I can be careless in thought and deed. But mostly, I have sought higher levels of understanding about our purpose and place.

And more often than not I think – maybe I did choose this life.

If we are to believe we are here to learn lessons, to become better beings from incarnation to incarnation, to free ourselves from the evils of humanity – pettiness, jealousy, greed etc, then isn’t it probable that we chose hardships that might teach us acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude.

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If you’ve read this blog for long, you’ll know I was raised in poverty, became a single parent, struggled to put myself through school while raising my children. It might be easy to fall into step with the green-eyed monster and wish for money and power. Wouldn’t that have made life easier? Many of us think it would have or will. However, the financially gifted have their own issues.

John Paul Getty III was kidnapped. His grandfather didn’t want to pony up the dough. So the kidnappers mailed him Junior’s ear. Then a negotiation began. Can you imagine the richest man in the world refusing to pay a ransom for his flesh and blood? Can you imagine your grandpa refusing to give up a paycheck for you?

Streaming services (in addition to the pandemic) has cost higher paid actors their expected income. Health care they were once promised has been affected. We have a whole generation of “stars” who may not be able to live the lives in which they have become accustomed.

In other words, the wealthy have their problems.

One of the reasons I suspect old money doesn’t like to mix with new money or either of those with us peasants is they fear being used, liked, or appreciated only for their $$ and connections. Anyone ever use you? During my college years, I had a few who seemed to only desire my editing skills (such as they are.)

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I am grateful for the lessons learned. I’m grateful the things that happened weren’t worse. I’m happy I am able to help those I can. Thank you, Universe, for healthy offspring, a brain that works, friends that are true, the capacity to love, the understanding to forgive, the acceptance, empathy, and desire to strive to continue to become a better person. (I imagine these are gifts bequeathed to me from challenges faced and overcome.)

I wish Ivy (Love that name!) Getty and her crew the best. May their marriage be loving and their children healthy.

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