It is strange, you shouldn’t compare yourself to your peers. But it is difficult. Or was. Not so much anymore, too much time has passed now.

I’ve never been to Disneyland. Never been skiing, never seen a West End show. My car is thirteen years od, my laptop twelve. There is no huge TV on the wall (or any, for that matter). My children weren’t taken on two foreign holidays a year (or even one). We only bought our first sofa a few years ago (all others were inherited). We live in a mid-terrace, three bedroom ex-council house, where my three children were raised. We are still here, although the children are out in the world themselves now.

How do others do it? All the holidays, the multiple big cars, the latest tech, the mansion? Oh, two incomes and inherited wealth? Huge debt and ongoing stress? I don’t get it. What did I do wrong, or different? Would I have wanted all that? Maybe, or maybe not, depending on the conditions. I just don’t know how they managed to get there. What did I do different, or wrong?

I’ve been in the working world for a while now, later this year being a rollover to a new leading digit as to how long I’ve been out of education. And in all that time, I’ve never had a career. I’ve never had a path. I’ve never had a trajectory. I’ve also never been out of work, one blessing. A blessing for others, all the same, not me. Take time off to travel? How? A few weeks between jobs to relax? How?

But every year I’ve had a ‘five year plan’. Where I’d like to be, who I’d like to be, what I’d like to be. It had never worked out. As the saying goes, we are all merely four pay cheques away from being homeless. I can’t see myself stopping working before I keel over to be honest, and not through any want of being continually productive. I have plenty to do if I could retire, and maintain the lifestyle. I am aware putting money into pensions young would’ve solve that (… … …) and how could I have afforded not to? Easy, I couldn’t afford to. Which means redoing the five year plan again.

No one wants to make money, they want to be given money.

Then there are the revelations as you haven’t been paying attention. The world moves on, not so much forgetting you as not even being aware you were there. But there still are the record-scratch moments. Ones which brought me up short.

I never really believed the (right-wing) press shrill shrieks about ‘YoUR ChilDRen ArE BEing TauGHt bY RadicAL MARXisTS’ but you know, it is strange when you bump up against that being actually true. Added in there is the implication I need sent to reeducation camps, and the pervasive meme heterodoxy is now actual public policy. ‘Be Kind’ is all well and good, but not believing impossible things rubs against that. And none of it in good faith. And so strange for it to appear where I wasn’t expecting, anticipating.

Live your life, don’t cause others’ lives to be harder. This does not mean you roll over and accept everything. Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness (thanks Lana). And yes, I blame the parents. Social media. You can’t identify your way out of reality. I am now part of the problem, so please, let me be. I don’t want to interact with that world, so don’t bring me in to it. But if you ask, I am not going to lie.

I’m tired, I think I’m close to being done. It’s okay. I’m okay. There is no choice but for it to be okay. It has to be okay. It is too late. The habit is ingrained.

No, thank you.

  1. This post came at an interesting time because I have been recently asking myself a lot of the same questions. I have a hard time understanding how others find room in their budget for for the superfluous purchases that they often seem to make. I can’t comprehend how they can find the time or the energy to lug themselves to an airport for a bit of a respite assuming that they too only have about 2 weeks of actual time off in a year. I see others posting photos of morning walks, elaborate home-cooked meals, and weekday outings and I ask myself where they find the time in the day for these things.

    I’m not quite sure what it is that I’m missing and what steps I need to take to attain a similar lifestyle but at this point, I figure that it’s a lost cause. It shouldn’t be possible to reach a point beyond running on empty but I somehow found a way.

    Fri 06 Jan, 11:51PM

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