Details of the #52essays2017 Challenge can be found on Vanessa Mártir's blog but, in brief, it's to write one personal essay a week.
I've never had any. There, I've said it out loud. I could point the finger, demonstrate that I wasn't set a good example but, in the end, it's me who has to take ownership for not learning. The worst bit is the shame I feel for having passed it onto my only child.
My Dad had good financial sense. He saved, he invested, he made sure his wife and his family were well taken care of. He seemed to achieve that effortlessly. There was no big drama over spending, as a family we had what we needed, we simply didn't live over our means. His way was to teach by example and I learned many valuable skills that way. For some reason, this particular skill passed me by ...
As long as I continue to work, I can support myself. But my provisions for when I stop working are pathetic, meagre, unrealistic. And that's not good. It's irresponsible. It means I'll be looking outward of myself for support - and he taught me that wasn't clever, or grown-up, or right.
For too long I've done the "oh it's too late now" thing and just kept my head in the financial sand. To be honest, it's easy to stay there, but it isn't comfortable. Because the underlying worry never goes away. So it's better to face it full-on and make whatever inroads you can.
People have helped me on this road. Oddly, the first to do so was a bankrupt. He got me to stop wallowing in shame and to grasp the nettle. He shared with me the methodology to assess how bad my debt situation was, then how to make sound re-payment arrangements. He encouraged me to select the cut-and-run option, but my father's training in principled behaviour ensured that I turned away from that short-cut. There was a lot of debt, but I've celebrated each one as it ended. Not with a financial splurge, but with a pat on the back and a growing feeling of satisfaction.
It's virtually gone now and the next step towards financial security seems just too huge to take. But I remind myself that the first step felt that huge and now it's mostly behind me. It's time to eat that elephant - one bite at a time ...