Having recently talked about my poverty , I wish to make it plain that when I speak of an embarrassment of riches, I do not generally refer to material wealth, although in comparison with the average human being over the course of human history (or even today), I have lived a life of at least some affluence, even if I have lived a very modest life in comparison with that of most of my peers and contemporaries in my society. Rather than complain about that which I do not yet have, at least in comparison with others, I would like to comment on those areas in which I find there to be an embarrassment of riches in my own life, including some areas that may seem a bit surprising or unusual to many people who are not aware of some of the activities that fill my life.
For the last several months I have been taking online classes at Coursera. In the attempt to provide massively online college classes, a variety of universities have posted online coursework with lectures from their professors, along with (so far) multiple choice and short answer quizzes and exams to test knowledge. Being the sort of person who is basically unable to keep from learning about academic and intellectual areas in my areas of interest when the opportunity presents itself, especially when it does not involve increasing my burden of student debt in any way (the courses I have taken are all free, after all), especially if it is offered in a somewhat formal way (as, I must admit, I am a somewhat formal person by nature). To give some idea of the coursework I have taken and plan on taking in the near future, I have completed two courses from the University of Rochester on the history of rock & roll music, as well as a course on social history in China. I am currently taking a course on the business of sports from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a survey course of human history from Hebrew University of Jerusalem (which is far too much of an evolutionary perspective for me, but which is otherwise entertaining because of the bluntness of the professor). After the Feast of Tabernacles I plan on looking at a course on designing cities (given my interest in urban geography as well as engineering) and a couple of courses on health, including a course that seeks to explain health care reform (a rather practical area of study for me at this point in time) and another course on public health (which I have read about from time to time ). Who knows what else I will study if I find the time, as I do not like to do too much at the same time given my varied interests and responsibilities and limited time.
Aside from formal or semi-formal education (or maybe business casual education, perhaps?), I have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to books to read. I am still (ever-so-slowly) working on a book that is extremely like to get an adverse review based on what I have read so far (and it only has a few dozen pages to change my mind). After that I have about half a dozen books stacked up beside me that I have to review, along with another four or so hard copies of books and a few dozen books on kindle on my computer to read if I ever have the time or the desire. As might be imagined, my desire to read far outstrips the time that is available to me right not to do so, as I tend to read in down time when I am not working, driving, or writing, or watching lectures online (see above), which tends to limit my reading time at present. I do expect there to be at least some time to read in the not-so-distant future, though, as I have some books to finish that need my attention.
Aside from that, I’d like to say that I have an embarrassment of riches as far as friends is concerned. Whether times are good or not good in my own life, I greatly appreciate having friends that are enthusiastic about what is going on in my life when there is good news, supportive when times are tough, and full of patience and generally good advice when I am puzzling over a particularly serious concern in my life and weighing and balancing matters. I certainly have not forgotten, nor will I forget, the kindness shown to me over the course of my life by the good people around me. I hope I am able to reciprocate in kind with such wisdom and patience and encouragement as I can offer to others. I hope that is recognized and realized, as a large part of the embarrassment of riches I have consists in relationships with good people, even among those who have braved significant disapproval and perhaps a bit of embarrassment themselves to show friendliness to me.