Melissa is back from Italy right in time for the Royal Wedding. We stayed up all night, but at 2am, we went over to my neighbor’s house, because they have a huge TV.
Melissa fell asleep. My neighbor, Kathy, stayed up with me. And it was so cozy to sit on the sofa in the early morning darkness watching the wedding unfold.
I’m fascinated by the royal family. I think it started when my mom woke me up at 3am to watch Diana get married. I woke up for Diana’s funeral, and now, I’m so happy to wake up to watch William marry Kate. I love the story of a commoner becoming royal. But what I’m most fascinated with is the idea of work.
How does a member of the royal family find work that matters? Charles floundered for most of his life because he was unable to figure out how to feel significant with his work.
For the most part, Kate put any career aspirations she had on hold in order to follow William throughout the courtship. But when the relationship looked rocky, one of the first things she did was establish a career for herself. Being the future queen of England is, maybe, a job. Capturing the heart of the future king is surely a job.
The Atlantic published results of a study at Boston University about the perils of huge wealth. In general, the very wealthy (those who have more than $10 million) are extremely anxious about money. And much of that anxiety is about work. Because for the super-rich, work is essentially volunteer.
Psychologist Robert Kenny writes about the research: “Work is what fills most people's days, and it provides the context in which they interact with others. A life of worklessness, however financially comfortable, can easily become one of aimlessness, of estrangement from the world. The fact that most people imagine it would be paradise to never have to work does not make the experience any more pleasant in practice.”
Kate and William will have to build a life where they find purpose in work in spite of their wealth.
The other cause of anxiety, according to the study, is love. It’s hard to find real love when there is such a real possibility of someone falling in love with the money, not the person. So often we focus on money over love, like relocating away from the person we love in order to get a big increase in salary.
But if you don’t have that risk because money is not the issue, then what are the issues of love? The issues of love and work seem so stark and unfettered in the context of royalty.
It’s why I was glued to the television for hours, smiling in spite of no sleep.
I want William and Kate to succeed, and I want to watch them. I think I’ll learn something about crafting a life that matters.