Ch-ch-ch-changes…

I know that I haven’t written anything in a fairly long time, and for that I apologize. There hasn’t really been a hell of a lot happening in my life lately that is fit to be commemorated by setting it to print. Not that you’re going to print this out, but the option is there (like on the off chance that you’re some kind of cyber-stalker, collecting things I write and downloading pics of me to print out, lay on your bed and do naughty things with… Say, if you are stalking me, let me know and I’ll send you some higher quality pics to use instead of those small ones on the poker website). I digress… What I’d like to write about today (sort of getting me back in the saddle as it were), is change.

Most of us go through life blissfully (or not so blissfully) attending to our daily routines, ticking off days on the calendar, waiting for events that mark the passage of time. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. until we start it all again the next year. Despite any grumbling we may do about work, or the place we live, our cars, etc., we’re reluctant to actually get up off our asses and do something about it, especially after you get to a certain age. We may hate our jobs, or our lack of a social life, but we don’t do anything to change things. Why? There’s comfort in the familiar and there’s a universal fear of the unknown. If I quit my job, what else could I do for money? Where else could I work and get paid the same as I’m getting now? How would I cover all of my bills? Where would I live? We might hate our situation, but we rarely have an exit strategy, so we keep plugging away, checking off those days.

In one week, I’ve had two friends have massive, life-altering change thrust upon them… They both lost their jobs. They didn’t work in the same field, or even know each other. The only thing they have in common, besides me, is a current lack of employment for reasons out of their control. Think about that for a second… What would you do if tomorrow you suddenly didn’t have a job? How terrifying that must be. I only have one friend that actually has savings. Everyone else I know, including me, lives paycheque to paycheque. Scary. Some of us have safety nets in the form of friends and family, but how humbling to have to ask for help.

Life-altering Change is always looming on the horizon, regardless of how much we delude ourselves, as two of my friends found out. Be it sudden unemployment, injury or plain old infirmity due to age, change is always there, waiting to turn our lives into turmoil. Unless we don’t let it… Make change meet you on your own terms. Sure, it’s difficult to plan for the loss of a job, or the use of your vehicle, but we can cushion the blow a bit by having a backup. What do I do to ensure I have a backup? I put a little money aside each pay. It’s not much at the moment, just a few hundred bucks, but it’s a start. If you get used to taking that money off the top of your cheque each pay, you tend not to miss it. Before too long, you’ll be surprised how much you’ll have. In recent years, this is how I’ve paid for my vacations back home to Ontario. It’s too much of a blow to pay for all at once, but incrementally, it’s not so bad.

Now that Change has reared its head within my circle of friends, it has got me thinking about my own situation. Right now, I could pay my rent out of my Superman lunch kit, but that would be it. The experts say that you should have enough of a savings to cover yourself for 3 months. Three months… That’s a quarter of a year. Yikes! At my current rate of saving, it’ll be some time before I get to that point, but I’m GOING to achieve it. Maybe I’ll step up my contributions to my Superman lunch kit. With all of the bills that I have right now, I spend about $2100 each month. Crazy. That means that my lunch kit is going to be near-bursting with the 6 grand that’s going to be in it. Heh. Maybe I’ll just aim a bit lower at first… Baby steps.

I’d like to finish my ramble with the two mottos I lived by when I was a teenager and I was scrambling for something to hold on to in a life that seemed to always be in flux… Opportunities will present themselves and Everything will work itself out in the end. Honest.

————

In other news, I’ve been playing around with some "Portable Apps" that I’ve installed on one of my USB memory sticks. My buddy Allen originally pointed them out to me. It’s cooler than ice cream… Just on this one stick, I have access to a web browser that I’ve customized for my personal use, a whole office package (a word processor fully compatible with M$ Word, spreadsheet fully compatible with M$ Excel, etc.), a multi-platform Instant Messaging program, an image editing program, a program that I can use to control my computer at home and a whole bunch of other nifty things. What’s great is that they all run directly off the memory stick, without leaving any fingerprints on the computer you have it plugged in to. What this means is that I can bring my own personalized programs with me wherever I go and use them on any PC I plug them in to – all without having to install them on the host computer. Case in point, the computers at work are pretty much crippled when it comes to using the web browser. They’ll go to the company web site and some select other ones. Too bad they aren’t terribly useful, say in regards to finding activities for the clients. I plug in my USB stick, and I have a wide open door. I can not only browse freely, but I can check my various email addresses and just about anything else my heart desires. With a little tweaking, I’m going to have Skype installed on my stick and have the ability to make phone calls from any computer. The possibilities are truly endless… I’m stoked.

-also-

I typed the entirety of this on my PDA while at work. Well, "typed" is a bit of a misnomer… tap-typed is the real way. Just imagine… all of these letters on the screen were tapped in one at a time (or at least several letters for each word before the word recognition kicked in). Feel privileged… Feel honored that I have deigned to grace you with what amounted to a couple of hours of tapping. :oP

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3 Responses to Ch-ch-ch-changes…

  1. Allen says:

    Damn! Who died in your corn flakes? Been vacationing on the
    Island of Dr Morose? Bring the happiness down a notch or two man! :oP You have
    struck upon a topic that I think a lot of us really don\’t want to stop and
    think about too much. Depending on how secure you feel in your employment
    determines how often you think about it, and since we work for the same
    company, where support from the upper part of the machine seems non-existent,
    it is something you got to visit from time-to-time. Age, too, becomes a factor.
    You really have to start thinking about how and why you spend your money, how
    much you are pissing away and how much is going toward your needs. So much of
    it is hi-jacked from us off the top; federal and provincial income tax, CPP
    (which will amount to nothing when we are of age for it), Employment Insurance
    (which if you leave your employ under certain circumstances will not be there
    for you); then whatever remaining dollars you have left are re-taxed based on
    how u use them… GST, PST, if you drink, smoke or drive you contribute tons of
    hidden taxes, plus air care and auto insurance, special taxes for
    communications and cable… and should you not spend it and leave it the bank,
    it is subject to taxation again. It’s to the point where I wish there was an
    annual premium they took and we would be done for the year, just so I know what
    I am working with to survive. How are you supposed to get ahead when at the end
    of it your dollar count is in the double digits? I know how you live, like
    myself it is certainly not extravagantly and would definitely come under the
    "within your means" umbrella, without any surplus. It is enough to
    make you entertain the idea of a life of crime just to supplement things a
    little! :o) It is easy enough for people to say "there are other jobs out
    there," but factors like how it pays, your qualifications and starting
    from the bottom up again all come into play, and no matter what way you slice
    it, unless you fall into an insanely lucky situation, you will undoubtedly be starting
    in worse position than what you were in before, financially speaking.I do know one of the people you are taking about that recently lost their job. This individual is in the unenviable position of having children as well. I for one am so glad that is not a factor for me!All right, I am effectively bummed out now! Thanx a lot fucker! :oP heh heh

  2. Unknown says:

    Jesus, now I\’m bumbed out too.  I think I make a little more than you guys, and I too feel like I\’m just living within my means.  And I have the luxury of having a second person to live with and share some of the expenses with.   We do go on a lot of trips, but that is only because Martyn works for a flight company, and we go in the off season, so hotels are stupid cheap. Also, we have friends down in Vegas, and we get to stay with them for free.
     
    I know that a huge chunck of my money goes to buying lunches everyday.  I should be making my own.  There was a period of three months last years where I brought my lunch to work. And I was actually able to save a couple of grand in the bank. I was shocked. (But obviously not shocked enough to not go back into buying my lunches. *sigh*)
     
    But that is the shitty thing about living in Canada. They take off a hell of a lot of taxes.  We are taxed into a mediocre life.  These friends of ours who live in Vegas moved from Canada for that very reason.  He had his own business up here, and barely squeaked by.  Now he lives in Vegas, has his own business, and is making more than 1 million a year.  And because they aren\’t taxed to death, he actually has a good lifestyle. (Nice for us when we go down there too. 🙂  )
     
    If worse came to worse, we could always work for Tim Hortons. 🙂  Or even Staples. I saw a "For Hire" sign in the window.  They had over 8 positions available.
     

  3. JoAnne says:

    Hey there you long time no hear from you.  I can see why now you are busy with the computer thingys again.  Boys with toys.  Boy you are right when you say it is scary losing your job and nothing to fall back onto.   Just ask me I was scared to death when it happened to me almost two years ago.   How time flies when you are having fun.  Can\’t believe time is going by so fast.  back to work soon.  Tried a shift on Monday and hurt after a couple of hours so going back this Monday to do it again.  I really need to go back to work hate this sitting around all the time.  I have watched more TV in this last 2 months than I have all my life.  Lots of crappy show on it for sure.  Do enjoy the poker and cooking shows.  Gotta run will talk to you soon

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