This could be a happy story or a sad story.. in the end, it is bittersweet and it sucks to be old. A lifetime ago (before the pandemic) I was part of dissolving a family company of forty years. Each of us shareholders received a little bonus money left in the bank after expenses. Let me say here that little bonus money would never be enough to make up for all the sweat equity, headaches, hard feelings, family squabbles, and the heartache of being in an all-family company. I think most people can relate to this.
I had plans for that money before I even got it in hand. I will never forget my son looking me in the eye and calmly stating “mom, what happens when income tax time rolls around and you spent all the money, you’re broke and can’t pay the taxes?” I was nonplussed and looked him back in the eye and said “son when income tax finally finds me I could be dead already!” True story.
The best story though is the trip I took with that money. I went on a ‘culinary learning journey’ with twenty-eight of my peers, to Portugal and Morocco. This was truly an experience of a lifetime. The culture, the food, the country was something I wouldn’t ever get to experience on my own. I made lasting friendships and my heart still skips a beat when I think of our guide ‘Miguel’ in Portugal. The sights I seen, the food I ate, the friendships made, and the miles and miles of walking were worth every cent, (I can’t believe I actually said that I hate walking) and I spent every cent of that money. A bonus to this trip was my desire these last ten years to see Paris, the city of love, with a soulmate. The soulmate never materialized but Paris did!
Seems Morocco is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from Paris and would only add a few hundred dollars to my expenses. I found a lovely bed and breakfast outside of Paris, just minutes away from Marie Antoinette’s castle. I fell in love with this lovely place and it was the highlight of my trip. I have many highlights actually, seeing the Eiffel tower up close took my breath away, I will never forget that. Sleeping in tents beneath a full moon in the desert on our way to Morocco. I didn’t ride a camel though, but the jeeps rolling along in a convoy through the desert and small towns and villages was a sight to behold. We stopped at a mountain village and were guests of our guide’s family as they served us a delicious lunch and showed us around later. The livestock resided on the ground floor of this adobe built into the mountain. We also got to tour Sir Richard Branson’s getaway on this same road trip and let me tell you this was an oasis of opulence in the desert.
This was in the fall and the very next spring the pandemic hit. How lucky was I to have experienced this trip of a lifetime when I did? A year and a half later Revenue Canada came calling and here I am not dead. To punish me further and teach me a lesson maybe, they also decided to cut my pension as well. Well, shit happens and if I was a worrier I never would have done that trip and enjoyed it as much as I did. My philosophy is simple and I live by it. I enjoy today, I can’t worry about tomorrow, I may be dead.
I need to tell you another story here, bear with me, please. I had a close call with death over ten years ago, just after I left my forty-year marriage. Speeding along a busy four-lane highway, an old man in a pickup truck pulled out in front of me at an uncontrolled very busy crossing (they now have an over-pass built there). I couldn’t slow down fast enough or miss him, I knew I was going to die right there and right then. A lot of things passed through my mind in those few seconds, the one that stands out most is “so this is how it all ends” and in my heart I accepted it.
It took me a whole year, some physical therapy but mostly counseling, to understand why I was alive when I surely should have died that day? Most of you won’t understand this but trust me, it was life-changing for me. I live each day now and sure I struggle and get depressed sometimes, I’m not Mary Poppins after all. BUT.. I always tell my kids I love them and if something happens to me and I don’t come back from a trip (yep, I changed my whole life and went off to see the world) don’t mourn for me. Life is meant to be lived today, we can’t wait to live it, what if you died this afternoon? Anyway, here I am getting off track again.
Being old sucks and the government doesn’t pay me enough to live the way I want to live. So here I am.. and I know this is a first-world problem and believe me when I say I am grateful, so grateful for all that I have and have experienced these past ten years of my life. Thing is, I couldn’t afford to live my life before Revenue Canada cut into my pension so wtf am I to do now? Well, I am a resourceful kinda gal so I will think of something. My doctor actually gave me a great idea a couple of days ago. First off he couldn’t believe I didn’t have any investments, believe me, I don’t! It’s this way I explained to him “I made a choice in my life to see the world before I died” “and now what are you going to do?” he said. I had no answer, but he had a solution that sounded pretty good to me. It involves selling my condo and investing the money in a tax-free savings account and moving into affordable housing geared to your income. Oh.. and he sent me for an x-ray of my foot that has been in pain, thank god for universal health care for all of us in Canada. We need dental now : )
I have two inventions tucked away in boxes in the back of my closets and in my son’s garage. Fifty thousand invisa-bibs that need to be out in the marketplace as well as a few thousand invisa-notes. I know, I got them to the market stage, experienced a health scare, and lost interest… it happens. I own a pair of scissors and can cut hair to earn money (I will need to get them sharpened) I was a hairstylist in my first life and owned three beauty salons (that’s what we called them back in the day) with a close girlfriend. I’m too old to be a streetwalker or a stripper, but never say never right?
I will figure something out for sure and writing about this has helped me a lot. If I ever get my elusive book finished and it becomes a bestseller that would really help but do writers actually make money if you are not JK Rowling?
In my closing remarks … ya, I was in court this week and had a real trial over a photo-radar speeding ticket. I was found guilty as charged going 42 in a 30 zone last January (278.00). I need to go to The John Howard Society to work off my fine. So put your money away for old age because your kids won’t let you live with them when you grow up. (I don’t know why we let them live with us while they were growing up) It sucks to be old but the alternative doesn’t appeal to me either. This too shall pass, I am an optimist after all and I choose to enjoy each day damn it, how about you?
Copyright July 31 2021