Andrew in Australia went on a bit of a rant the other day. My interpretation of what he had to say, was that he is was tired of self indulgent people complaining that life requires hard work. I offered a comment there, but I am inspired to elaborate here.
I have heard it from young people, complaints that you have to start at the bottom, that education takes time, is hard work, and in some parts of the world is expensive. I also hear a similar whine from a couple of older bloggers that others had advantages in life, that others have more resources in retirement.
And you know what, all of that may be true, but life is about what we make of what we have to work with. I have done fairly well in life by pushing myself beyond what anyone would have expected. None of my grandparents finished high school. My father dropped out of school in his teens, my mother finished high school in the middle of World War II. Education was not highly valued in my family.
My first job off of the farm, paid a barely living wage, with the promise of bonuses based on profitability. For that I worked 9 hour days, plus an early morning staff meeting one day a week. Often I was called on to work six or seven days a week, being "single" with no kids I was expected to cover for those with "families." The next job after that, paid a whole lot more, but I was expected to work 60-70 hours per week. The first time I took ten days off to go to England, I returned to a lecture about needing to be serious about work (to this day, I wish I had told Bill to go %uck himself that day.)
I worked my way through college, working full time, going to school part time, paying for it as I went. I spent nearly 10 years earning a four year degree. A couple of years later, I took a leap of faith, moved 800 miles, and applied to graduate school. I was the fourth oldest in my law school class. An unhealthy fear of failure drove me to work very hard and finish in the top of my class. I also took on enough student loan debt, to pay for a Mercedes, instead of the well worn Honda I was driving. I made extra payments and paid off my student loans in less than 8 years. My first job out of law school paid $28,000 a year to start- doing work I loved - but often demanding 60 hours weeks. I ended up moonlighting doing the kind of work I do now, because I needed the extra income. A decade after law school I took another leap of faith, a job 500 miles away in DC. A job that paid very well, but in an area with a very high cost of living. And 500 miles away 30 weeks out of the year from the person I love. Our love endured and our relationship lasted.
I am look at retirement in the predictable future. We are debt free. We will have nearly as much income in retirement as I currently earn (and I am the only earner this year, J is fully retired but delayed drawing retirement income for a year - resulting in a larger retirement income for life.) Life is good. But no one gave us any of this, we earned, we were careful with what we had, we made due, we avoided mountains of debt.
It has been a hard slog along the way. I have worked insane hours, often for people who wondered why I couldn't give more. I have a lot of education, because I worked my tail off for it, and paid for it.
So to anyone thinking life is hard - it is and and you get out of it, what you put into it.
Even those born with advantages in life find that life is not easy, and that they get out of it, what they put into it. I have never assumed that someone's life was easy, because they came from a different background.
Rant over- thank you for allowing me to vent.