Tag Archives: wealth

I Don’t Think I Ever Did Notice

I have the fondest memories of childhood. I do know that financially, we were not at all comfortable. Yet, I don’t think I ever did really notice. I may have noticed that some other children seemed to live in much bigger houses and have lots of toys, but it did not effect me as a child.

One of my distinct memories is going to work with Dad during the school holidays. He was a window cleaner, and we just loved being with him. We took pride in the jobs he gave us. But what I remember with glee is that lots of the houses owned by his customers had very pretty gardens. We (my sisters and I) used to love exploring their gardens. When they had children, Dad’s customers would often invite us to play with their children. How I loved having fun on their garden swings or playing with their indoor toys.

Girl, Swing, Rocking, Autumn, Fall

The truth is, I never did feel “poor”. I never did. I think I felt very comfortable, very secure. It was only in my late teens when I started to notice the difference between our council house and the “posh” houses where my friends lived. But any temporary silliness, fretting over the idea that we may have been “poor” shrivelled up when I began to travel and saw what real poverty means.

As an adult….there are “things” I don’t physically own. I do not own a house, or a car, or much furniture of my own. I don’t have a smart phone, or an i-pod, or a lot of the other “things” that some of my acquaintance possess.

But I don’t feel “poor”. I live in a beautiful area, with famous multi-millionaires on my road. I still earn less than £10,000 per year (last year I did extra hours for the NHS, but all excess wages were put into the “family pot” which we set up to make sure any of our family who could not work during the Pandemic were able to take whatever they needed, so I still ended up with my same income), and yet I feel so wealthy, so rich in experiences, so enriched by friendships and memories. What a life. What an incredible life!!!

That little girl in her red wellington boots who used to carry the little ladder after her father into the gardens of his customers – I wonder if any of them realized she would be so blessed, so enriched with life – with living life in the most exciting and purposeful of ways.

If you measure wealth by more accurate means than a bank balance or a list of material possessions – I am in no way “poor”. I am rich – fantastically rich!!!

Jack Has Been Spoiling Me

Jack and I have not really had a lot of discussions about money. We have both sacrificed paid work for many years in order to volunteer for charities. But additionally. we have both worked in paid roles. Before Jack became a full-time volunteer he made a lot of money in the entertainment industry. But he has let go of most of that, but still retained enough for him not to worry about money at all. (It makes you sick – doesn’t it!)

Jack has been able to earn a better rate of pay than myself, but he is still sensible on the whole with money. He does not think in terms of luxuries. He knows what money can do to help people, so he does not think in terms of five star luxury and spending crazy money on silly things. However, he has occasionally been spoiling me in one specific area.

Bear in mind he knows that this year I have been sending a lot of my wages to family. He bought me a couple of dresses in August – the one time I have seen my family this year. Well, in preparation for a weekend with my family at the end of this month, Jack wanted to buy me another dress. Only I could not decide which…so he bought me two dresses. You may be able to tell that I have a real thing for navy at the moment! It makes my engagement ring stand out.

The good news is, the second dress was in the half price sale. Also I had a special code from Phase Eight allowing me another 20% off the order. So, I did feel a little better about the indulgence of two dresses. I wore the first dress you see on Tuesday when Jack and I did an official visit to a site to thank some of full-time volunteers for their extraordinary sacrifices this year. I loved wearing that dress. It was perfect.

Sometimes I feel bad for buying anything new. I have a good conscience that most of my wardrobe is from charity shops. But Jack pinches me and tells me after all the chances to earn we have given up and all the money we have given away, it is ok to have a couple of new dresses and enjoy them. I know that it is ok. I still can’t help but think of people who don’t have enough money to feed their families and therefore go to bed hungry.

This world has such disgusting extremes – the wealthy wasting money on lavish parties and absurd amounts on homes and cares and private aeroplanes. I feel guilty for having two new dresses. Jack tells me to let it go. I must. You would go crazy if yourself everything because of how the money could be used.

It is still not right that people are allowed to earn absurd amounts of money and spend absurd amounts of money on trivial luxuries. I find it almost criminal. But who would be that person who marks the line? Can you say to the wealthy, “look, you have a hundred times more money than the average person in a Western land. So we are going to take half of your wealth and use it to aid people who need farming tools and fishing equipment, and tools to dig a wells, and educational materials for their children, and equipment for hospitals”. Who can do that?

Can you believe I only started writing this post because I was so excited about my new dresses – but I felt guilty writing about them! I wish everyone had equal resources. I hate this world of absurd inbalances.

Education Plays A Key Role

Children, Drawing, EducationI think I mentioned a while ago this annoying radio show one of my colleague likes to listen to at work. I heard a discussion on there the other day that left me baffled. The radio presenter and the person calling in were saying that the history of how Britain made it’s wealth is not taught in schools.

That seemed strange to me because it was taught to us as children at primary school and at high school. (My parents taught us too of course.) Our teachers made sure we understood that wealth is not a divine reward or blessing. Being wealthy is not at all good karma or whatever you call it. Wealth has often been the result of stripping the planet of its resources and stripping other people of dignity and basic human rights.

I wrote a post about my most recent visit to the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the whole floor devoted to the history of the slave trade and the mistreatment of others that brought wealth:

Slavery On A Sinister And Sadistic Scale

Liverpool Maritime Museum

Until people everywhere stop thinking of their own glory, their own desire for wealth, their own desire for fame and prominence, power and influence – there is going to be a lot of ugly cruel behaviour.

Our teachers taught us that change comes from within. Loving other people, heartfelt respect, honouring them. Viewing and treating others as greater than ourselves. Seeking to benefit others brings us inner joy. Wealth and riches are not the goal. A happy healthy human family and a clean earth upon which all creatures thrive is the grand prize that we all need to work towards.

Birkenau, Auschwitz, Concentration, CampI recall meeting a volunteer in her nineties who was in a concentration camp during the Second World War. She said something special to me. She told me that she met a woman who was of a different religion and a different language group to her, who was also a prisoner in the camp. The other prisoner gave her some of her own bread because she saw how frail and ill she had fallen. She told me that what kept her alive was not just the bread, but the love, the human kindness when she felt herself wanting to give up on life.

She was one phenomenal lady. She said that after the war, many people immersed themselves in making money, building their own businesses, finding a lovely home etc. She became a volunteer and worked for decades, living on a tiny budget and sleeping in very basic accommodation. She learnt the secret of real joy in life. It had nothing to do with possessions. It had to do with loving and giving.

Money, Dollars, Success, BusinessSo long as people seek their own glory and their own wealth – they will miss out on real joy – the real life! But what goals do educators put before children? I remember later in my schooling, teachers pressured me to look ahead at the best colleges and universities so I could make money, have an exciting career and they suggested that would be “success”.

I rejected that. I rejected the idea of using my exam grades to win advantages for myself. I became a volunteer. I feel far more successful because I have avoided the pursuit of things and money. I have seen people of all cultures working together on projects that change communities. I have seen real love in action.

Recently, I have heard a lot of people saying that all people should have equal access to opportunities, not just a select few within a particular ethnic group or culture. I understand that. It’s the “opportunities” I have a skeptical view of. The education system in this world, the money making careers, the fame and glory this world offers – they are all incredibly fickle. (I have family who are in well paid careers – doctors, finance directors, a member of parliament. My family is a mix of cultures and ethnic backgrounds…which I love. Some of my close relatives who are in lucrative careers have been the targets of racial slurs from childhood to adulthood. But that is a different subject.)

Woman, Black, Businesswoman, YoungA friend of mine said she had to fight for everything she has. She said it in the context that she has suffered racism and discrimination because of the shade of her skin. From some views she has done very well for herself. She went to a top university and she did end up in a high paying career. She is proud of those achievements. She lives in a beautiful house and drives a beautiful car. She loves her designer clothes and her luxury holidays.

She has a lot to say on the subject of equal opportunities, and I understand why. But when we discussed this issue, she kept on talking about equal opportunities for education at top schools and universities, and for lucrative careers or roles within the media.

I made two comments to her that I genuinely wondered about. The first was in the context that it is predicted that there will be a huge economic crisis ahead in the wake of the …you know and the effect that social restrictions have had on the economy. I made the comment that I was concerned there would be less opportunities on the table for any jobs, nevermind top jobs.

ruiegdfhlahThe other comment O made was that there should be dignity in every role. I feel as much pride in the work I have done as a cleaner, as when I worked in finance, in a legal firm or in healthcare.

I take even more pride and reward in the unpaid work I do working as a volunteer for charities. I have no interest in lucrative careers or the acclaim of a corrupt system. I do not want it’s offer of a high salary. Nope…I am much happier working with a team of volunteers of all ages from different backgrounds as we work together to make an area beautiful.

I do not agree at all with the glorification of humans. At all. These statues being pulled down, they should never have gone up to begin with. I don’t agree with glorifying people. But my friend thinks there should be statues, but they should reflect all cultures. She said she would like to see a statue of herself one day.

I love my friend very much and I understand why gaining those things was important to her. I am proud of her determined spirit. But in some ways it saddens me. How does gaining those things help the planet, help the human race, help one to find real joy and satisfaction in life?

dahfaehgfPersonally, I think we should all be given an assignment. We should all be assigned to an area of land and work with our neighbours to make that area a paradise.

I think at some point we may all find ourselves not worrying about the things we used to worry about. I only see a future where the human family as one huge team are working together to make this whole globe beautiful and clean. When will educators start to prioritise on teaching us that getting high grades in your exams is not as important as working together and being able to look after our home, our health and each other?

Anyway…we were just talking, my friend and I…and although we agree on many things…we don’t seem to see eye to eye about the solution. We both said education is key to affecting out future. But we obviously don’t agree on the nature of that education. We didn’t argue, we are too fond of each other to have arguments when we do not share an opinion. But we did acknowledge that we have different goals for this world.

I Don’t Know Where These Strong Opinions Are Coming From

I have seen a few things that have slightly irritated me. Don’t worry, I am not a person who gets highly strung. But I am scratching my head at some of the things I am seeing. I am starting to sense strong opinions brewing within me.

Mansion, House, Home, Estate

I saw a clip of someone very very wealthy sitting in his palatial home, relaxing in his sauna, swimming in his pool, working out in his gym watching a movie on his huge TV screen and telling the rest of the world they need to socially isolate, stop going out socially, cancel parties, holidays, nights out – it all needs to be cancelled until it is safe to resume.

Now the thing is…he is right. Please do exactly that! However, I could not help raise my eyebrows. I wish he had not shown us his palace. How many of us have a home gym, a swimming pool, cinema room and sauna  in our homes? What a twit!!! He should realize that many of us live in tiny homes and self-isolating is going to be challenging (but absolutely necessary!)

ceebsI have never been a big fan of celebrities, well no, that’s not fair. I’m not talking about people who are in the public eye, it’s people with too much money that I am talking about. I have never been a big fan of people who are allowed to earn an inordinate amount of money and then display their money in the form of swanky houses, designer clothes and handbags, private jets etc.

I am watching them now. Watching them closely. Are they going to sit on their fortunes admonishing everyone else to self-isolate and practice social distancing and not lift a finger to help everyone who is losing jobs and scared about losing their homes?

Who on earth needs more than £1 million? So when I hear that there are people out there, whether they are celebrities or not, with tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of pounds or dollars, I hope they think about giving away the vast majority of their ridiculous fortunes. If not…well, I am never going to buy their albums or watch their films, or cheer them on when they play their teams. Now I know that last sentence does cover celebrities, but I also hope that those of the ridiculously rich who are not in the public eye also pay heed.

Teamwork, Team, Construction, BuildingI have been volunteering for charities since I was sixteen and I have always been annoyed with celebrities who make token gestures. I love and respect Jack because he has given up almost all of the money he has earned and given up the chance to earn any more money so that he could be an international volunteer. He shares a flat with a bunch of other volunteers while he is in England, the rest of the time he works for charities abroad and he has to accept whatever basic accommodation is available. But those celebrities who live in palaces and get involved with charity to make themselves look good – grrrr! I have close to zero appreciation for them I am afraid.

wed (2)If you are reading this and you happen to possess a ridiculous amount of money – would you please think about giving almost all of it away in order to help the human family? Afterall, you are one of us. We are all family. In times of crises family should share. Family should love. Thanks for the clips of you sitting in luxury telling us to practice social distancing and telling us not to raid the supermarkets…but it would be great to know you cared enough to be prepared to give up your fortunes to help others.

Believe me…the love you show will be remembered more than anything you ever did to earn that money. I have a feeling that soon a lot of your “fans” are not going to be able to afford your tickets, merchandise, autobiographies. Nobody is going to care what you are wearing or how you style your hair. We will be interested in what you do to help your fellow human family in a time of crisis. So you may have to be prepared for financial losses ahead. I do hope you have learnt by now that love is far more precious than money.