Middle age change….

Within the next few weeks i will turn 36 years of age. wow. I still think i look like i did as a teenager, once i look past the grey stubble. Throughout my life i have had the ethos of hard work, You get out what you put in. I have physically laboured for many years and put the hard work in, yet i see nothing back and one thought keeps coming to mind “how much of my time have i wasted already”?

On the verge of being the wrong side of 30, I do not own a car, a house, a job, or a sizeable savings account. The “improvements” i have made to our rented home are for the most part, unfinished. Where did it all go wrong? As with a huge percentage of adults, i have wasted every penny i have earned. By not saving effectively, I set myself up to fail over and over again. My car slipped the timing belt and it snapped in June 2018, the option of a repair was not available because of the extent of the damage. I became a pedestrian…well a cyclist actually. I could only afford to buy a secondhand bike from a local advert, and due to my bosses sporadic approach to paying wages, i was terrified of borrowing any money from the bank. The funny thing was, i actually got to work in the same time i could drive, and usually got home 10-20 minutes quicker. I discovered the app Strava and quickly began to get past the posterior pain and sore legs, and i actually enjoyed the journeys…autumn and winter were a different kettle of fish and the 15 mile journey often felt like 100. Regular lifts off Lesley were accepted without giving it a second thought, and i was more grateful than she would ever know.

Money has played a big and small part of my life. The small part was actually getting it, the big part was worrying i didn’t have enough. Its hard to concentrate on the things that really do matter in life when you have so much other stuff that could be solved by having money…”yeah but it doesn’t make you happy”….bullshit. Money would literally fix every problem that is rattling around most peoples heads, with the exception of medical injuries etc, money does help.

So what can i do?

According to the recruitment sites i have been scrolling through for the past month…i am mainly eligible for jobs that pay less than £10 per hour, take out the jobs that are actually within commuting distance on a bike, the ones that require specialist qualifications or education in certain areas…and i am left staring at a list of job descriptions, that could just as easily be a list of coffin options, and they may as well be. Employers are looking to maximise their productivity by “multi tasking positions”. They want someone to work “40 hours per week, with overtime as it is required,  flexible to work 2/3 weekends per month, that can the work of 2/3 people”…i mean i am all for hard work, but it seems to me, the work/life balance is tipping the scales in favour of the employer.  While it has been a sobering experience to realise how little i am qualified to do, it has made me determined to see what i am actually capable of becoming.

 

Middle age change…

man sitting on edge facing sunset
Photo by Abhiram Prakash on Pexels.com

if nothing else its going to be an interesting journey.

 

 

 

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A tree too far…..

Where do i even begin this?…

In short, i am once again back where i was 3 years ago….I am unemployed, and have been for the past 27 days. I walked out of a job ( and an industry ) that i have given as much as i am willing to. The last 12 years of my life have been consumed, both mentally and physically with a job. A job that always “dangled the carrot”, but never gave it up. It is safe for me to say, that i am well and truly done.

The time off has been enjoyable, relaxing and very much needed…but it has also been a prolonged period of reflection and i do not like what i see.

From the outside looking in, i hate the way i look! For years i have neglected my body through different mediums, namely food, alcohol and cigarettes. I have gotten into a very detrimental habit of drinking 6-8 bottles of lager per night, smoking up to 20 cigarettes per day, then stuffing god knows how many bags of crisps down my throat. I actually justified this to myself as a kind of reward for the hard days work i had just done. “i burn it off”, “i need the salt to stop me cramping up in bed”…just complete rubbish!

Its stops right now.

Looking deeper, i hate the person i have become. I am lazy, and negative. Looking around the house as i am sat here writing this, i can see so many jobs that i have half done. “That is not me”, but it is. I have become a “couch potato” in every sense of the word.

In between all of this, i have actually been actively searching and applying for jobs. Every single application i have sent has been for a job i really didn’t want to do, and not because i am workshy, but because i know i can do better than the National Minimum wage. You see, the jobs i am even half eligible for are not exactly high flying well paid careers. On a C.V, i am what you would call a “one trick pony”, and yet again, that is my own fault….Which is what has led me back here today, to carry on doing something i started 3 years ago.

I am sick of making money for other people. I am sick of living the same lifestyle, like a favourite coat. I am sick of being jealous of other peoples successes and i am sick of complaining to myself that “i never get any luck”. I saw something yesterday that hit me like a train…”time is the only thing you cannot get back”. Obviously in the last 35 years of my life i have heard this from older friends and family, but when i really thought about it i realised (for the first time in my life) how much i have wasted. Starting with the last month… if i had just got off my backside and addressed all these small unfinished jobs i am looking at, then they would be completed. I wouldn’t persecute myself every time i look at them. Its worth pointing out that after all this time off, i have achieved absolutely nothing that will enrich or better my life, or my situation. I could have lost a ton of weight, i could have done a ton of DIY, i could have gone out on my newly serviced push bike, but i haven’t done anything. I have kept the house clean and tidy, drank many brews, smoked many cigarettes and scrolled through jobs…and not much in between.

I’m going to leave this one here as a benchmark.

Nobody owes me anything if i want things to change then i need to change them.

…and so it begins.

trees with pathway
Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

Can i borrow your pants…???

Being forced to hand in your resignation with immediate effect for a job that you love is the last thing i wanted…but it happened. It happened in a very verbal and angry way, but none the less, it happened. While i currently feel “adrift without an anchor or oar” looking at job openings, i have reached a point where i am sick of questioning myself and constantly scrolling down….”not qualified”, “no experience”, “no idea”… down down down.

Not anymore!! I am qualified to do one job and that means “getting up”.

A quick phone call last night off a friend has landed me with my first climbing job since my new found unemployment..the slight matter of no longer owning my own climbing kit, helmet or chainsaw protective trousers was a minor consideration before i gladly accepted the days work on offer. Having sourced a helmet of another friend, an old pair of chainsaw climbing boots from a dusty corner, the slight problem of the trousers became an issue.

“Hi dad, yeah im fine…erm…have you still got your old chainsaw pants”…??

I am now fully kitted out ready to go.

“getting up” is a phrase used in the tree industry to describe pulling oneself up a tree, securing a good work positioning anchor point to tie your rope into, and performing the arranged works.

Tonight “getting up” means three things:

  1. 6am alarm
  2. getting up a tree
  3. getting up off my arse, and carving out a future for me and my family and never looking back..!!

 

 

 

 

Are phones the new “smoking”…

Having been without a mobile phone for only the last 24 hours or so, i cant seem to get my head around the feeling of not having one. Have phones crept into our lives so much that it has actually become an addiction for the masses..much like smoking did all those years ago? Everyone is constantly poised in their own online journey, constantly reaching for the little electronic fix hiding in their pockets or handbags at every chance they get…Myself included.

A spark in a forest can rewind the clock and force nature to carefully rebuild once again….if one day the power was turned off, would we as a race do the same thing, or perhaps do things a little differently..??

A chicken and an egg…..

Another day of being unemployed and phoneless, and i found myself stood in a chicken shed thinking “who was the first person that decided to eat a chickens egg, and under what circumstances (given where they come from)”??

Is strange how empty i feel, leaving the house knowing i don’t have a phone on my person, What if someone needs me, or wants me? How do i tell the time, what are the 300 people who i don’t see or talk to doing?

Today i have been to weigh up my options for continuing to pursue chainsaw carving as a means of income for the short term, based on a farm not far away. I have been in this position before and i am reluctant to try it for a second time, but what do i really have to loose? I still have some of my chainsaws and few bits of wood lying around…..I might even enjoy it again….??

Our house of plastic bags…

She works in a kitting supplies shop, so i can half understand her interest in this stuff at the age of 33…but this weird addiction to “collect” balls of wool stuffed in to plastic bags and stashed in random areas around our house is just plain annoying. I have found these things upstairs/downstairs/in the loft/in the car, they’re in the wardrobe, the bedroom shelves, the bookcase…..everywhere.

The “house wool” doesn’t ever get used i have noticed. When a new project is started, new wool appears….in another bag.

Its a pity she doesn’t work in  cake shop.

Number 2 with no phone..?

Before i jump in bed and get a good nights sleep (until 2am when i wake up frantically desperate for a wee…and 4am…and 5am), i was just thinking about the prospect of not having a phone for the next week or two and i suddenly thought….when nature calls (number 2 jobbie) what the hell will i do? it will literally be a case of:

  • drop kids off
  • wipe
  • flush (spray air freshener if req)
  • wash hands
  • back to reality

No more sneaky facebook checks or youtube on full volume to disguise any sounds etc.

…I can see life is going to get pretty interesting for me in today is anything to go by….onward and upwards i guess..??

Back to the stone age…..almost.

Having handed in the last of my company uniform and the iphone that belonged to them…i am phoneless!

for the first time in a long time i no longer have that portable connection to the rest of the world. What a strange feeling. How did we cope before it became a necessity to carry around those things and how do you cope nowadays without one???

My head is a jungle…

So this is my third day of unemployment and so far it would seem that:

  • i am still angry
  • i am still shocked
  • i am excited about my new direction
  • i have no idea what direction i am going in
  • a flat pack dressing table can in fact be constructed in 37 minutes
  • egg and chips are a great way to end the day

with all that said, i cant believe how difficult it can be to type a few paragraphs of how your feeling and what your day has been like. Knowing that perhaps nobody will ever read it, but trying to make it personal enough, to be appealing for somebody to read it……

“What goes up”…..

Last week i had a job, a good job, a job i loved and knew well. Today i do not, i am sat in bed at 08:26 writing this and i am unemployed.

Usually at this time  i would be crammed into the van with the other guys on my team, making our way to the first job of the day. I would be chatting away and having a laugh with the lads, but my mind would be going over the kit we had loaded, making sure we hadn’t forgotten anything. I used to be a tree surgeon.

I guess this post will be the longest one to write because i have to introduce myself and i suppose it will, in some way, let me get some of the anger, shame and upset (to name but a few) out of me. So i’ll start at the beginning and briefly sum up myself, up to last week, when everything changed.

I was born in Warrington in 1983. My dad was a joiner and my mum was, at that point a housewife. I had 2 older sisters and later, a younger sister too. My childhood was typical of a kid growing up in the 80’s, playing outside for as long as i was allowed, riding bikes, playing sports and making dens. My dad worked all the hours he could, both at the factory he was employed as a joiner at, doing overtime and doing “foreigners” after work and at weekends. I was and am hugely proud of my dad. He has always been a very hardworking and honest man. My mother is the pillar of our family. She is the most selfless woman i will ever know. I could write a whole edition of books dedicated to telling the story of my mum and dad, my early life, the times i have let them down only to be supported by them, but this is not intended for that purpose, and should anyone care to hear it, then i will en-devour to tell it. Both of my parents worked and continue to work tirelessly to rise our family. We went to church every Sunday, we all sat down at the table to eat meals, manners were paramount, money was tight and holidays were in a caravan on a field in wales, and later, Cornwall.

We all attended a Roman Catholic primary school, and then later a R.C secondary school, which i left with all my GCSE’s (apart from French). I found short term employment at a food packaging factory, until the date for my basic training with the British Army came around. A few years later and i found myself driving out of the camp gates for the last time. A veteran of operations in the middle east, but a civilian nonetheless.

After a flurry of short term jobs i found myself setting up as a tree surgeon with my dad. After securing a bank loan to finance our venture, we were off…”P.N Tree Services” was born. We both undertook the required training courses, bought the equipment we needed and found a yard to work out of. Looking back, we were so naive. We had no idea of business, no experience, no advertising strategy, and no work. The following years were a mixture of highs and lows. Our first job, our first job over £1000 etc etc. The lows i experienced are probably shared by anyone who has ever been  self employed; Worry, anger, generally questioning what the hell your doing and “is it really worth it”. In my case, it wasn’t. I had overheads i couldn’t always pay, wages were often a pipe-dream and as much as i tried and tried to pick myself up and make it work, i couldn’t. Eventually i decided enough was enough, and i evaluated the business and equipment, which was quickly snapped up by a young businessman i had known for several years who had a successful and growing gardening business. I was made an offer that at the time i could not refuse…Sell the whole business to him, work for him full time in a supervisory role and develop the tree surgery side of his business. I accepted that week.

It has now been 20 months since that day, 20 long hard months of giving my all to a never-ending list of daily tasks, mechanical problems, and everything else that comes with working for a small, fast paced growing business. Everything was business as usual until last Thursday night. After a returning home from a days work, i had taken a shower and was drying off when the phone rang. I hit answer an put it on speaker, the works office was on the other end, but they had accidentally “pocket called” me. After realizing this was the case i was about to end the call, when i heard a conversation about me…Naturally i listened. Over the next 40 minutes i heard several conversations being held between three members of the company, including the boss. I wont divulge the contents except to say i was left with no choice but to resign the very next morning.

I am not sure if i should put anything else about that matter on here or not? i do not know if it will benefit me by being a release for my anger or wind me up more by reading it in black and white. I think for now all i will say is that, after putting your everything in to something, with nothing in return, it has left me rubbing the word “MUG” off my forehead and regretting ever answering that phone call. Ignorance is bliss…. so they say.

So to wrap everything up, and as my dad would say “put it down to experience”, I am 33 next month, currently unemployed staring out into the world wondering which foot to put forwards first and in which direction. Do i change courses altogether, or is “UP” the only way to go….who knows??