The surprise benefit of being free of bad debt

To not be shackled to yesterdays worries so that we can fully face todays challenges is a beautiful gift.

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I am pragmatic.  I decide to talk about positive things.  I believe we either talk and act ourselves in to or out of a happy life.  However I don’t care whether the glass is half full or half empty.  I know how much water is in the glass, I know what I am working with on any given topic.

So the benefit, or even blessing, of being unshackled by debt during a period of potential financial constraint is a superb comfort and reassurance.

Like everyone, I have income and expenditure.  Thankfully I was blessed with the moxy and ability to get out from under a serious financial burden in the tens of thousands of pounds range and reset the financial accounts to “we don’t have a lot but we’ve paid our taxes for the benefit of the country and what we do have is our own” as we paid down every debt we’d been left with.

When guaranteed income is in jeopardy we start to look closer at the expenditure side of the spreadsheet.  It has been one of the few delights recently that unlike previous times either house or income is at risk, this time I am not carrying a negative financial legacy like an albatross around my neck.

I have to find a way to generate revenue to cover our modest living expenses but I don’t have the worry of paying for things on instalments, I don’t have the worry of credit card debt, I don’t have the worry of consumer spending spread conveniently on an unreasonable monthly payment at an exorbitant APR.  I just have to make sure that enough comes in for Mortgage, utilities and groceries.  That’s it.  That is far less of an ask than carrying the worry of paying for something I bought and used up two years ago.

Being in this fortunate situation brings a degree of peace, a calmer disposition than I would otherwise have had.

It also frees me up to be flexible with regard to the future opportunities I can pursue.  I don’t have to find a position to cover Bills and Debts, I just have to find something to cover Bills and anything else is a bonus.  That is a freedom for which it would be hard to quantify the optimism and relief felt at the moment.

I am the head of my household and the responsibility sits on my shoulders.  Until you’ve been the head of the household you have no idea what so ever how heavily that mantle sits on the shoulders.  It is completely and utterly different to being the 2nd earner.  Head of the household is like being an Adult Plus.  Nobody is going to bail you out, you are it.  The buck stops at your feet.  The responsibility for keeping everyone in your abode alive, sheltered and fed sits with you.  Once you get the hang of it, it starts to sit easier a little but the knowledge in the back of your mind never actually quite goes away.

If I could wish for you one thing, it would be the freedom of being bad debt free.  It is worth the blood, sweat and tears, the overtime, the going without for a while, the humble birthday and holiday presents, the dinners in rather than takeaway or restaurants, the forsaking holidays in the sun or snow to reach the goal of being without that burden.

Bad times come for such are a part of earth life and mortality.  To not be shackled to yesterdays worries so that we can fully face todays challenges is a beautiful gift.

 

Zen During Turmoil

Occasionally there comes a time in personal turmoil that you reach a state of Zen.  You reach a point of “oh well” and start to calm into the trouble rather than fighting it and getting nowhere.

In the Urban Dictionary (a highly reputable source!!!) Zen is defined as thus:

“One way to think of Zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind.  Zen is a way of being.  It is also a state of mind.  Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts”.

Now, I am no Japanese Master of Eastern Philosophies yet there comes a point in seeking Continue reading “Zen During Turmoil”

Idolatry, Money, Military

The pendulum has swung too far back after the vitriol military experience post-Vietnam.

The levels of hero worship and idolatry from what we are seeing out of the extremely posturing nations is rampant right now.  If you are religious you’ll have heard that one of the Ten Commandments is to have no other Gods before (Him).  It is right up there in the top 5.  It is pretty important.  If you are secular you will have seen in generations past when things became mighty tense when one person or an idea caught hold and a fever infected the nation – often leading to civil or international wars.  People profess to be reasonable and level headed but their narrative and actions betray them, even among my friendship groups.

I am fiscally a conservative (little C), and socially a liberal (little L).  My stance is that drugs harm society and ruin lives, gun owners or users kill people, that if people are of legal age and appropriate age gap they should be able to date and marry.  My stance is also that Business (big B) is good, industry is necessary, someone needs to keep the lights on and the infrastructure needs to be paid for and maintained, that investment is needed in the Arts and in the Sciences, that innovation is crucial to preserve and improve the lifestyle of the inhabitants of this nation.  It is my stance that manners are essential to grease the wheels of civility.

It is my observation that there is a role for emergency services and the Military.  It is my observation that the whole “Thank you for your service” is cringe worthy and dangerous.  It is my observation that people are being placed on a pedestal as great servants of a nation when they are actually in paid employ and chose to do this.  Hero worship is rampant, emergency services and military personnel are deified and just because they wear a uniform are held in highest esteem.  We don’t know who they are, they are, by definition, Uniform.  Unless there is a stand out act of service or courage, they’re just employees.  Many are nice, a few are nasty, but they are paid to do what they do.  That’s not a hero.

The pursuit of someone to worship is filling a void and is acting as a sticking plaster to cover an emotionally grazed knee of a nation.  Accept that the world is a harsh place and both the East, Middle and West are having a hard time with each other and we send our delegates to resolve our conflicts for us.  Military folks don’t deserve special treatment.  They’re pretty regular people who have been taught how to do their job.  Idolising them diminishes them as a person.  The reception for Vietnam Veterans upon repatriation was brutally harsh, it is my stance that perhaps after feeling guilty in hindsight people have let the pendulum swing too far the other way and there it hangs in the air, precarious and fragile.

Don’t get me started on the pursuit of money and how Darwinian the current strain of Capitalism lays.  A nation who is blinded by their rights and unwillingness to stand up to Medical Insurance companies who are actually gouging them and keeping premiums high in pursuit of profit is a sorrowful thing to witness.

In the mean time, someone needs to work, pay a fair level of tax, have access to housing, water, medicine, food and the rule of law.

 

Wasted Saturday

A wasted Saturday is a rare and glorious gift to ourself.

It seems that I am good in company at the moment, feeling genuinely cheerful and happy to be in social situations just chatting or dancing or listening to buddies, but am plunging in to worry and anxiety when alone when there is nowhere else to run from myself.  Feeling emotionally breathless is absolutely rubbish and I recommend it to nobody at all, not even my worst enemies.  So, Saturday my daughter and I took a day off of everything, absolutely everything.

When I’d awoken before dawn I realised that I could afford to get a bad day out of my system as I wasn’t required to be anywhere particular this weekend apart from Sunday Services.  I had a two A4 page of Honey-Do’s I’d written for myself, each line being a tiresome project which needed completing in the house preferably before winter falls. And I couldn’t face it.  I was close to tears, on a Saturday! What a waste of tears.  I determined I was not going to cry on my own time!  Instead, I was going to be still.  I was going to ignore the day as long as I could.

My teen padded in to my untidy room around midday and flopped on the bed.  We conspired together that we deserved a complete day off having run ourselves ragged for years.  It was exciting to be in this together.  We chatted a while about books we were reading on Audio because we’re both a little dyslexic and I’d rather listen to a book than struggle with text and so would she.  We’re both perfectly capable of reading but sometimes for recreation we just have someone read the darned book to us.  It feels like cheating but what is the point of technology if you can’t use it to enhance your experience of literature and make available that which you wouldn’t have tackled without the electronic intercedent.

After a while she padded off again and I settled in for more breathing.  Breathing is something I’ve taken for granted all these years but of late my glorious mind keeps trying to trick me that there is insufficient oxygen in the atmosphere.  Stupid glorious mind…

So, I lay there in my unmade bed and breathed.  Then when I’d done that for an hour or so I took a nap, then listened to a show and then breathed again.

I was roused only by the offspring’s enquiry as to what was for dinner.  Without said offspring I would gladly have spent all the hours until the next day in my room, but I’m contracted to care for the kid so up we got and a dinner of beef burgers and pasta was rustled.  Then, relocated to the living room, I sat and breathed some more until I realised it was now 2am and I really should go to my untidy room to breathe.  Brushed my teeth and toddled off to my chamber for some more breathing.

Is it me, or did somebody really turn down the oxygen supply in the atmosphere?  Asking for a friend.

2hrs 15 minutes

I turn over and look at the clock. I turn back and avoid the clock.

2hrs 15 minutes is the average time I’ve been spending in bed in the mornings, awake, trying to gee myself up to be enthusiastic about the day and everything I should have completed the day before which carries over to today and how todays actions are piling up too, compounding the problem.  Waking before the alarm is not something to which I am accustomed.  Laying there staring at the pillow beside me until the very last second is not something I want to make a permanent part of my life.  I sigh.  I turn over and look at the clock.  I turn back and avoid the clock.  I just breathe and try not to think.  I am well slept but weary.  The weariness never abates.  It’ll get better.

Terminal illness.

Londoners and Essex people become colourfully indignant when we have feelings going on. It’s a culture thing.

My friend from works wife just let us know that our dear, funny as heck, tall, handsome and intelligent, honourable, caring, kind, micky taking, irreverent and a little politically incorrect, world travelling, close to retiring friend is terminally ill.

That bastard.

How dare he leave this world a little dimmer through lack of his presence.  How dare he not regale us again with the same tale over and over again on “when I was in Ireland”.  How dare he not tease me for coming from the wrong side of the tracks.  How dare he not be around to share his immense wisdom.  How dare he not tell me “Chin up, girl, you got this”.

How bastarding dare he.

 

 

Insomniac Teens

Missy has been an insomniac since birth.  She rarely slept more than a couple of hours a night, screamed the place down for the remaining time and would only be consoled by being cradled.  I have clear recollections of cradling her still wide awake at 3am knowing I had to be up for work at 6am.  But at least with baby insomnia you know where they are and in what condition.

Teen insomnia… ughhh.

The teen will hardly think anything of playing music on her guitar, taking showers, blowdrying her long locks, tidying her room, generally pootling around until the wee small hours.

The teen does not appreciate how thin the walls are nor how lightly parents sleep.

I think I need to revisit the chat about “If you are awake, it doesn’t matter, just stay in your bed until it is time to get up.  I don’t mind if you read, I don’t mind if you compose music on paper and imagine how it will sound when you can play it in the morning, I don’t care if you count sheep, just stay in your bed and stay quiet”.

When one person in the house has insomnia, the others do too vicariously and it is just unfair and a cruel and unusual punishment.

Babies are supposed to be hard work getting in to a routine in the first 3 months, it should not carry on for more than 16 years.

Insomnia is frequently found in people who are worried (about exams?) and people who are on the Spectrum.

I obviously love her very much and love having a 16 year old in the house, but after nights like last night and the preceding nights which compounded the problem, I am beginning to look forward to University in 2 years.  Perhaps then I’ll learn to sleep undisturbed right through the night again.

I.  NEED.  SLEEP.

It is more difficult to be cheerful when you woke 8 times in the night (yes, I counted, what of it!).  It is more difficult to feel healthy and energetic.  It is more difficult to make good food choices as the body’s instincts will start to demand calorie heavy vitamin light foods to sustain the energy levels of a person through the day.  It is more difficult to be nice to people just because people deserve being nice to… nobody wants to tiptoe around a crankypants in the office.

So, Child, Sleep or Be Quiet!

I can fake it for a day, two at a push, but I am out of fakes and out of patience.  Please sleep.