I can’t even imagine myself living 50 years ago much more 4 centuries ago! As much as I try to picture it, my mind seems to be stretched to its limits with that length of time. But I guess, living the bourgeois life back then and living the sophisticated life in this era must have its similarities. But would it feel the same living poor in 1616 and 2016? I doubt it. Why, because the definition of poor has changed along the years and the tag ‘poor’ is subjective even depending on where you find yourself on the planet.
To be honest, being rich makes life easier to live; it might have its own challenges but at least the basic necessities to survive have been sorted out without much struggle. Being poor means having to depend on the benevolence of others to barely survive. It stifles one’s ability to crave for bigger achievements when all energy is poured into acquiring the basic stuff.
What does it mean to live rich in the past? Living the comfy life whilst exploiting the lower classes (it still happens today, doesn’t it?). Amassing wealth and forming alliances to stay rich and powerful. Not to talk of the dark times-the dreadful slave trade. But I’m sure not all rich people were terrible back then (as it is now); some must have been charitable. The good thing about being rich is being in a position to help the less privileged and be known to be part of someone else’s success story.
How does living poor today look like? Not having enough for your daily needs and some to put aside as savings. Not being able to cater for your health needs as you should. Always hoping that someone would drop a crumb off his table so you don’t go to bed on an empty tummy. Being paid for less than you deserve because your employer knows you’re desperate. Some are actually homeless. I’m sure you can add more to the list.
The brighter side of being poor today is that it is not a death sentence. There are countless stories of people who through hard work were able to change their fortunes from grass to grace. Being born poor is no longer an impediment. If one is determined to make it, he can make it without having to depend on family’s status or riches.
Living 400 years ago means missing out on all the scientific discoveries and technological advancements we are enjoying today. I feel blessed to be alive in this day and age regardless of my financial standing because of the many opportunities available to us today.
What about you? Would you prefer to be living like royalty centuries ago to living ‘poor’ today? Kindly share your thoughts.
© Josephine Amoako 2016