In the June 17, 2019 issue of People magazine, there is an article about MacKenzie Bezos, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) and her pledge to give half of her fortune to charity. She is reportedly worth $37 billion. Wow. It got me to thinking, typically a slippery venture. First, what would it be like to have that much money? I’m having trouble conceptualizing that reality but I imagine you buy whatever you want without any thought to cost. I remember being impressed with a lady I knew many years ago who was rather wealthy and would shop for clothes without ever glancing at the price tag. So, I’m imagining that times like 1,000. I’m also imagining a lot of traveling, staying in the best accommodations, wearing jewelry worth more than most people’s houses, dining on the finest food, having said food served to you buy a phalanx of servants, owning islands, and lounging half-clad on yachts in bodies carved by personal trainers. Maybe closets the size of gymnasiums containing countless (literally) items of clothing and shoes all likely purchased by personal assistants. If you’re an asshole you’re likely to verbally abuse anyone who isn’t johnny-on-the-spot meeting your needs, cuss out restaurant wait staff, and generally walk around as if others should be paying a tax to breathe your air. On a side note, those types of asshole people entertain me. The snobby mannerisms which seem to say they view others as having some type of infectious disease hovering around them like Pigpen from the Peanuts gang. Women seem to express this in a more visual manner than men. Their lips press together while they hold their hands close to their chests and try to find anywhere else to look other than at the infectious offender. I have to exert every ounce of control I have not to burst out laughing. SMH.
I’m feeling the need to check myself here because I think all of us tend to become awkward and rigid when faced with people or situations that are beyond our zone of familiarity. But that will have to be covered in another episode.
I will have to say I admire MacKenzie immensely. She stated, “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait.” I was interested in this article due to my own confusion and frustration re charitable donations. It seems the pleas for help come from every direction: snail mail, commercials, schools, flyers, fb, newspapers, and on and on. The needs are overwhelming, like a tsunami that just keeps recharging and battering the coastal inhabitants. Where does one even begin? Do you give $25 here and $10 there and $30 over there? Or do you just say, “Screw it. This is like trying to empty the ocean by the teaspoon.” I guess it depends on your personality. I have decided that I would like to:
- Do something even if it is only a teaspoon.
- Find one group in need and focus on them as opposed to allowing the perpetual multi-modal requests impact me like buckshot.
- Decide what I want to give, be it money, time, and/or effort. So how do I decide? I’m not clear on that. I don’t want a group that already has so much support that my contribution would be like a grain of sand in the Sahara; however, neither do I want to reach out feel my entire life being sucked into a vortex of need. Some of this process comes back to boundaries (to be addressed in other episodes) where these decisions are made based on my decision of what I can give, not on the level of need.
I, like MacKenzie, am trying to be thoughtful, taking time, effort, and care. Most of us don’t have billions but whatever we do have can make a difference to someone.