Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Brilliant? Surely not!

Hello. Once again I thank one of my readers for giving me an idea for a post. Hi Sally

Read often about pensioners who say they can either "heat or eat", whilst on a pension. As this is what you have to do too I wonder how you can say its "a brilliant life, on a pension" when obviously the pension isn't enough to live in comfort and dignity.

Surely you should be campaigning for an increase in the state pension instead of suffering it and saying it's fine. You would be a good campaigner I'm sure.

To be honest this comment took me by surprise, and I felt a trifle peeved about it. Sally thinks I am not living in comfort and dignity, and says I am suffering. Maybe I ought to address these assumptions, because that's what they are. Assumptions without knowing the full facts. Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time will have a good understanding of my lifestyle, so you might want to skip this bit because I will be repeating myself. 

Let's take the key points one at a time. it is widely reported in the press that pensioners have to make the choice whether to eat or heat. I'm sure there must be some in that position, but I am not one of them. I can afford to eat anything I want, whatever it costs. I can afford to eat out, I can afford to fill my trolley with all manner of expensive food from the poshest supermarkets, but I don't. Why should I pay inflated prices, when I know, with a bit of organisation and planning I can have a healthy diet at very little cost. Why pay more when I don't have to? I can't understand those people who stick to branded goods, must have Kellogs, must be Heinz, when there are perfectly good alternatives with a supermarket own label on them. Keep your Kellogs bran flakes, Value at 88p are just fine. Keep your Heinz beans, Value at 25p are fine. 

About the heating in my house. I don't sit here huddled under a blanket with my hands wrapped round a mug of hot coffee. I get up and move about a lot. Yes, I am well wrapped up with layers, but isn't that the sensible thing to do rather than have the heating on all day and dress in teeshirts and skirts? My cats are in and out all the time so the draft comes in through the cat flap, all my internal doors are open so that we can all wander around. I don't get damp inside because the temperatures of both outside and inside are similar. I am a tough old bird, having spent 32 years working outside in all weathers. I am not ill, I have no aches and pains, I am 65 not 85. Yes I could afford to put the heating on for most of the day, but I don't need to. I have short blasts when it gets a bit chilly. An hour or two at night. Besides, if I am too long in a centrally heated house I start feeling tired, I get a headache and have to leave, I don't know how fit and able bodied people stand it. Yes, the sick, the very young, the very old, and the less mobile, probably need more heat, but I am fine with just a blast now and again.  

The next point. 'When obviously the pension isn't enough to live in comfort and dignity.' It might not be for some people, but it is plenty for me. I have explained what I need to be comfortable, the pension is supplying me with that. But I am confused about this thing called 'Dignity'. Are you saying I am not dignified because I buy cut price food, pick items out of skips that have been thrown away, buy second hand clothes, accepting hand me down clothes from friends? I am aghast at this assumption. The world would not be in the mess that it is today if everyone stopped paying top prices, stopped buying new, and managed with what they have. Everything should be re used and re cycled. Nothing should be dumped in landfill. It is because of this thing called 'Dignity', that is preventing this from happening. If I had my way, everyone's bin would be inspected before it is loaded into the dustcart and taken away and dumped in a big hole in the ground. Sadly that won't happen and we will continue to buy more crap that will be chucked without a thought of the earths resources which were used to make that item. Stuff dignity. 

The next point. How can I say, 'It's a brilliant life on a pension'. Because for me it is. I have worked my arse off over 45 years, sold twice and bought three times, and have been virtually skint three times with a long period of recovery each time I moved house. Now I have no mortgage, I pay no rent, and I have a reduction in council tax. I get up every morning knowing the day is mine, I can do with it whatever I like. I don't even have to get up if I don't want to. I have no one to fall out with, and I can come and go as I please. The pension goes into the bank every week, and I have managed to build up an emergency fund  to cover for things going wrong. That's how I can say I have a brilliant life.  

When I look at people who are better off than me, I don't want more. When I see people who don't have as much as me it makes me realize how lucky I am. I spoke before about living with an attitude of gratitude, and it's true. No point in being bitter, better to put a smile on your face and be thankful for what you have. 

If I'm going to campaign, it won't be for people to have more money, it will be for people to make the most of what they have. To get the best out of their lives, to help them make choices which are best for them. I read on the MSE forum, I want a new car, I want a foreign holiday, I want a big wedding. Have it all if you can pay cash for it, but don't go into debt. It's not worth all the years of heartache afterwards. 

I will finish off with a little insight into my brilliant life. I don't do moods, I don't do anger, I don't do sulks, I don't have strops, I don't do jealous, and I don't do revenge. All those emotions are negative and have no place in my life. What I do do is, smiles, cheerful, laid back, let things wash over me, in one ear and out the other, so what I don't care, happy most of the time tinged with a little bit of sadness and concern for fellow human beings and animals. I have a strong sense of what is fair and what is not. Basically, life matters. 

Hope that's cleared a few things up. Thank you Sally, for the inspiration for this topic. 

Toodle pip

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