I always remember what my father used to say to me when I was a teenager, he would say ‘You can’t go wrong if you invest in bricks and mortar’. He himself however hadn’t done the same thing but that was because my parents couldn’t afford to. They never purchased their own property though in later years they had the opportunity. They considered at that time it wasn’t worth it. As things turned out they were alright. They moved from Liverpool to Stratford-upon-Avon not long after I had married and had moved on myself. In fact I was the last of my siblings to leave the home of our parents. I was told later that they thought I would never leave! They were joking but I could tell their concern was for me to find a partner and settle down. Eventually I did that of course but only after a long time. The reasons are all explained in my pages section of this blog. One of my sisters had along with her husband at that time (for she has married four times) gave my parents a house to live in for as long as they wished. They, my sister and husband were financially well-off and had another house of their own. Today it can be difficult for anyone on an average income to purchase their own property because of the high deposit often required and the high repayments thereafter when taking out a mortgage. Many have lost their homes because they have been made redundant at work or have lost their jobs for other reasons and could not keep up the repayments. I guess I have been very fortunate having ended up with my own (jointly owned with my ex with whom I still live) property with the mortgage fully paid last year. We had financial support from my in-laws in the early years which helped us enormously. Not everyone is so fortunate, I am very aware of that and am grateful. Looking back I think we would still have been secure but with a smaller house than that which we now have. I had been very fortunate in not ever being out of work and in later years having worked for myself. Though owning a property doesn’t necessarily ensure security, nothing really does in the materialistic world, it does give a fair measure. It is nice to know we have somewhere to live in comfort and to call our own. I was wise to invest in bricks and mortar and I would encourage young people starting off in life to do the same if they possibly can.
Do you remember the time when the most important thing in your life was in deciding what games to play with your siblings and friends or what you fancied doing just by yourself? Then later perhaps how you would go about swatting for the next examination? As we grow older our priorities change in-line with what we have to do rather than what we wish to do. As adults there are many more priorities we have to contend with and in which order we deal with problems and situations becomes important. As children if something fails to keep us interested we simply move on to something else. Adults don’t always have that choice, some things require immediate action and failing to act can bring dire consequences sometimes. Other people rely upon our actions too at times and inaction on our part can prove dangerous or costly in some circumstances. We are often under pressure to respond or to accommodate to the needs of others. Even when we think the problems in life have by in large shrunk or have become non-existent we are often faced with unexpected event to deal with. When in full-time work I was faced with all sorts of problems to do with my job and prioritising was simply an automatic thing. Now that I have retired those problems are in the past, or are they? Not really, they are just different and I still find myself prioritising in sorting them out. There is one unique difference though, I get to choose how I prioritise or even if I want to deal with a problem. Well, that’s the theory but I find I cannot often leave the responsibility to someone else unless I really need to. That means I continue to accept the responsibility, the problems and how to deal with them, which all leads me to providing the solution too. I fix things…..if I can. There are few things around the house which I won’t try to fix when they go wrong but in which order do I do them? They sometimes number quite a few!
I was in bed by ten-thirty after which I remembered nothing until I awoke for a little trip along the landing at five in the morning. It was new year’s eve but not that I’d noticed, I was too tired. On waking I should have done some exercising but my limbs were aching. Whilst I had been collecting stones from the beach the day before I noticed my posterior thigh muscles were beginning to ache. It had to be the elliptical cross trainer, well not the machine but my lack of experience on it! It isn’t as though I have been doing much on it but even the small amount of time I have spent was enough to cause my injury. Latterly I had been spending only a couple of minutes on the machine and even then with the supply switched off, in other words using it at its absolute and lowest settings. It is more the movement the legs go through rather than the resistance level though I suspect. Until I can get used to it I will have to ensure my time on it is kept to a minimum. Anyway the long and short of it was that I decided to once again take a short break from my regime. My day, new year’s day was therefore spent relaxing and doing nothing for once, oh sorry, except for taking out the trash! I don’t make resolutions for the year as you may remember which means I am not setting myself goals which I probably would find difficult to maintain anyway. If I do set myself a goal it can be anytime throughout the year and it usually involves a project of one sort or another. Those things I do keep. See last year’s posts! I do have one or two things I would like to do but whether they will come to fruition remains to be seen. In the meantime one of my aims is to get used to that damned cross trainer!
The more I look at my life the more I am convinced things happened as they were meant to. Apart from the fact I believe my life to have already been ‘planned’ in the eyes of God I really do believe I made the right choices leading up to the present. We often don’t think about the consequences of the decisions we make during our lives and how they will affect us in later life. It is true however that we make decisions based upon our preferences and our desires hoping that the outcome will benefit us to that end. We work hard with an aim in mind, a new car, a house, a holiday and everything else we wish to have. E and I live in a large house which according to the number of rooms qualifies it as potentially having seven bedrooms. On the first floor there are four bedrooms but on the floor above there are a further three rooms which although at the moment are not being used as bedrooms could nevertheless be so. Two of them are presently filled with our sons furniture and the third was converted to a craft workshop for E who uses it daily. The ground floor has three lounges though the largest is also filled at this time with our eldest son’s furniture. Furthermore there are rooms in the cellar (basement) which are all in use. I mention these things not to impress but only to show that E and myself have basically inherited the place that was first used to accommodate many of our family members. They all moved on leaving us alone with the house. It wasn’t gifted to us, no, we have legitimately owned it from the start though we only purchased it to accommodate more than just ourselves. We could have purchased a much smaller property instead. At the time and throughout the following years the house became more and more our home. We have spent time and money to make it the way it is for our own enjoyment and despite many folk suggesting that we could sell it and downsize we have resisted. In some ways living here isn’t beneficial, it costs a lot more for the privilege but because it is our home we are not concerned about the cost.
I suppose dear reader you’ll be wondering what all this is leading to and what it has to do with the title of the post? In April I formally retired from my electrical business, initially as a trial to see if I wanted to make it permanent. You see, for all my working life I have never had a moment where I had nothing to do. My time was always filled with work of one sort or another and it was exactly how I liked it to be. I like work whether it is for gain or for personal pleasure, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have something to do in my life as and when I feel I want it but not all of the time, I do like recreational activities too, I am not a ‘workaholic’. I was talking with E a few days ago about living in such a large house and because of that could always find something to do. I told her I was glad we never sold the place to move into an apartment for instance or at least a smaller property because if we had I should probably be dead by now! I explained that being an active person as I am I would find life after retirement a struggle if there was nothing to do. The large house and gardens give me no opportunity to be bored! Thinking back to the years when we decided to purchase the house I don’t think I ever thought about how the maintenance of it and the development of it would be of such a benefit in my old age!
When I was younger it never occurred to me that I would find a partner and raise children sometime in my life, in fact I resisted the idea so much I didn’t get married until I was almost twenty-nine years old. Anyone who has read my story (above) will know why. For whatever reason my life’s desires were held in abeyance and I ended up going down a different path. The result was marriage and children, the very things I didn’t think would happen to me. I can say with hindsight that I should have taken the other route rather than the one I did. However, I did eventually fulfill my desire to follow that route. Of course it goes without saying that I love my children and have done everything possible for them to be happy. They are now both adults with their own lives to lead. I have two sons, one, the elder, is married with a daughter and the other remains single. The younger son sometimes visits E and I and stops over. Last week he stopped over for the whole week! Now as much as I love him I am happy when he returns to his own home. The elder son, though living only three miles away we hardly see. The younger son lives forty miles or more distant. I don’t think I could bear living with them for too long now they are grown. They have their own idiosyncrasies and (bad?) habits which conflict with mine and they would become an irritation. Funny how when they were growing I wanted to spend more time with them! Ah but they were different then and so was I. Would I have chosen to have children had I really thought about it all those years ago? I guess not but I have a feeling my life turned out the way it was supposed to do. I cannot say that my life would have been better had I made different decisions when young but then who could? It could have turned out a lot worse!