I wonder sometimes if my posts come over as being a little bit smug, 'Look at me, I'm all right Jack', when there are so many people struggling to make ends meet on the little resources they have. It's true that I manage quite easily on a state pension with a tiddly private top up pension.
It was only luck that I have the top up, £64 a month after income tax has been deducted, I just happened to work for a company who made it compulsory to join. I remember at the time I was most miffed that I had to pay into it, but I suppose on reflection, the pain of trying to earn enough money to pay my bills and always keeping a close reign on my spending, is paying dividends now.
To some it must appear that I have the life of Riley, whoever Riley was. I come and go as I please, I do what I want when I want, I'm just lucky that I do not have any expensive tastes, do not have any high aspirations in life, and do not believe I am owed anything or have a right to anything.
My wisdom has come with age, I am thinking more clearly now than I ever have done. I don't have to claw my way to the top any more because I am already there, I am where I want to be. Ok, so that does sound a bit like, 'I'm alright Jack', but I can assure you that when I read about the struggles of young people to find work, to keep a roof over their heads, to make relationships work or break up, or just to find their way through the quagmire of life, I think to myself, 'There for the grace of God go I.' I feel for them because I have been there.
I was very lucky that I had my mum as a role model, but in this day and age, there are not many positive role models. I despair when the aspirations of young people are moulded by the so called celebrities who appear to lust after anything which makes them famous. A new generation is coming along which sees nothing wrong in grab grab grab, me me me, I want it now. This saddens me, because they are missing out on the very reason that they are here.
Here I go again, standing on my pedestal, I must stop doing it. It's alright for me, I have almost paid off my mortgage, which means my day to day living costs are considerably smaller than someone who is only halfway up the ladder. My only ambition when I left school was to work and pay my own way. I have almost fulfilled that ambition. It is my intention to tie up a few loose ends before I go, (don't worry I'm not ready yet),and whatever money is left will be distributed to those that need it.
But hey, that pedestal is calling me to get up there again, and it's my blog, so I am going to offer a few words of wisdom to anyone who happens to be passing. It's up to you to decide if they are worth heeding or if they are plain claptrap.
At the present time it is extremely hard to find work, to earn enough money to live on, and to find a place to lay ones head. But it has been like this before many years ago, and here we are in full circle again. Things can get better if you want them to. Try and ignore the doom and gloom, and look for the simple pleasures.
What kept me in work was the great sense of pride I had in achieving what I wanted to do. It was the challenges of work, the getting out there, I demanded my position in the the workplace. There were lots of wow factors in my job. Wow, look at my big truck. Wow, did I really take that massive load all the way to Scotland by myself. Wow, do my fellow drivers really consider me as one of the lads. Wow, have I really made it.
You have to decide what is the best route through life for you, and I urge you to think very carefully about what it is you really want from your life. Oh, you will make some wrong decisions and go down the wrong road, I did, but if you recognise that you are in a place where you don't want to be, you can take steps to get back on the right track.
Confession time. I got hooked up with the wrong blokes, and do you know why, it was because of my low self esteem, all part of my BDD. I was flattered that any man should want to be with me when I was so ugly, so the attention was a boost, even though it was for the wrong reason, if you get my drift. Thankfully it hasn't done any long lasting damage and if anything it has made me a stronger person. I will not be taken for a mug again, and now my head rules my heart.
There's more. I bought an old ambulance, spend loads of money getting it professionally fitted out into a campervan, then found it took loads more money to drive it anywhere. It was a terrible gas guzzler. Result, sold it cheap just to get rid of it, to a local charity who ripped all the insides out and turned it back into an ambulance for their club. What a waste of money.
Oh, and what about the time I thought it would be a good idea to buy a brand new catering trailer and site it on an industrial estate, and serve breakfasts to hungry passers by. That didn't last long. Getting up early, loading the generator in the back, towing it to the pitch, setting up in November, waiting for customers to come flocking, (they didn't), packing away, cleaning it out, going shopping for the next days supplies. And why oh why did I think I could hack it, doing the same routine day in day out, I hate routine. Result, I sold it to a man who had the same idea in Manchester, lost £1,500. silly me.
Now I have told you of my disasters, you will have disasters of your own, learn to get back up, dust yourself down, and fight another day. Ok, maybe not that easy for some, but you owe it to yourself to try. Nobody is going to knock you for trying. Never ever give up trying.
Right, I'm going to get down off my pedestal, you are now on your own. It's your life, do your best. When my mum died, I thought, oh heck, I'm on my own now. Nowhere to escape to, no one to go running back to, this is it. Now I am not far off the age she was when she passed away, and it makes you think. It aint a rehearsal, don't waste a minute.
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