diamond geezer

 Wednesday, September 07, 2011

If you're over 25, probably start here, then read down. If you're under 25, probably start here, then read down.
I got there in time. University. I got the grades I needed, and I won a place to study. Three years out of the rat race, in digs, learning to stand on my own two feet. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands, made friends for life and never looked back. It didn't come cheap, there were sacrifices, but I knew it was the right place to be. It felt like society wanted me to be there, for society's benefit, rather than punishing me for trying to better myself. I ended up with an investment in my future, not a massive debt round my neck for decades to come. University. I got there in time. I got there too late. University. I got the grades I needed, and I won a place to study. But three years out of the rat race meant digging myself into a financial hole, and there's no easy way out. I chose education to improve my life chances, but that no longer comes cheap. I felt forced to take a part-time job rather than study full time, leaving no time to party. It felt like society was punishing me for being there, rather than making an investment in my future. I ended up educationally handicapped with a massive debt round my neck for decades to come. University. I got there too late.
If you're under 35, probably cross to the column on the right, else read down. Carry on reading down.
I got there in time. A career. I have a job with prospects, rather than a makeshift dead-end stop-gap. I get to work full-time, for a full-time salary, rather than making do with whatever my part-time spoils employer can spare. I've learned a skill, and learned it well, so I'm hopeful my job won't be outsourced to some foreign shore. A steady wage helps me plan for the future, rather than wondering if I'll still be able to afford to pay the bills six months hence. I have a ladder to climb, not a floor to mop. I'm not sitting around at home, I'm earning my keep. A career. I got there in time. I got there too late. A career. I wanted a job with prospects, but all I ended up with was a makeshift dead-end stop gap. They made it clear they couldn't take me on full-time, only a temporary contract, these are difficult times, we're sure you'll understand. And then they dropped me in favour of someone on a foreign shore who could do the same far cheaper. They made me redundant, my skills unwanted, my financial position precarious. Now I fill in forms, send in applications, awaiting interviews that never materialise. The rat race left me behind. A career. I got there too late.
If you're under 45, probably cross to the column on the right, else read down. Carry on reading down.
I got there in time. House owner. I have a place I can call my own, rather than a rented pile belonging to someone else. I'm paying off my mortgage, and I'll get there, even if it's an upward climb at times. I'm giving money to the bank, rather than flushing rent money down the drain every month. My property is an investment for future inheritance, not a money pit with no rewards. It's all mine, every alcove, every bedroom, with no need to queue for the bathroom while some flatmate hogs the shower. It may not be a castle, but at least it's mine. House owner. I got there in time. I got there too late. House owner. I'll never have a place to call my own, I'm trapped in a rented pile belonging to someone else, sharing with two other flatmates I wish weren't here. I can't save enough to get a mortgage, and the bank probably wouldn't give me one anyway. I'm shovelling money into my landlord's pockets, rather than building up an investment for my own future. There's nothing here to pass on to my children, just a damp patch on the ceiling and a dodgy stain on the sofa. I live in somebody else's castle, I'm going nowhere. House owner. I got there too late.
If you're under 55, probably cross to the column on the right, else read down. Carry on reading down.
I got there in time. Retirement. I have a pension that pays most of the bills, rather than being a paltry insult. I didn't have to pay the earth to get it, just squeezed a bit out of my salary cheque each month without doing too much damage. And I left my job while I still had several years of healthy life left, rather than driving myself into the ground and retiring just in time to die. I keep busy in the garden, and seeing the grandkids, and going out with friends. We did a cruise last year, and there's a West End musical lined up for next week. Retirement. I got there in time. I got there too late. Retirement. I have a pension that doesn't pay all of my bills, it's a paltry insult. I had to pay extra to get it, squeezing more out of my salary cheque than my parents' generation ever did. And I had to toil through my sixties, wasting the last years of the prime of my life, before anyone would pay out. I can only afford to heat one room, so I make sure I'm wrapped up warm in the winter. I'd love a holiday abroad, but I did manage a coach trip to the seaside last year. Paying more to get less after a delayed start, that's my sad fate. Retirement. I got there too late.
Living the good life. Born too late.

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