March 14 – you gave my dad a chance

233/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I have yet to write a gratitude post for my dad but that one is coming in May on either his birthday or the anniversary of his passing and it will be one of the toughest ones I write but today, I have to honour the men who gave him his livelihood. Before and after his time/hospitalization/incarceration (whatever you want to call it) at Riverview, my dad did hold down a job to be able to support us. Yes, he would lose it at work due to his paranoia and delusions because of his schizophrenia and just walk off the job or not go to work for days or get into fights but the bosses/owners/managers must have known that he had a wife and two young kids and gave him countless chances. I recall my mom bestowing exorbitant Christmas gifts upon his bosses and I would complain as to why when we barely had enough to make it through but today I completely understand – those men gave my dad a job and focus and he brought in money to the house when he was working. I didn’t understand it then but I do get it now. They could have fired my dad for so many infractions but they kept him on – on until he got his pension and on so that he had benefits to cover us. I tried to search them up about a decade ago to phone them and tell them how much I, as an adult, wanted to thank them for doing what they did as I wouldn’t be who I am today if my dad wasn’t able to have held down a job to support us if not for them. Alas, I was not successful in my endeavour but this gratitude post goes out to you gentlemen – from the bottom of my heart, I truly thank you for doing the right thing and because of that, letting me and my sisters have lives that matter!

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January 14 – listen to your elders

174/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. When you’re in your 20s, you think you know it all and don’t have the need for anyone’s advice, especially unsolicited advice. This was the way I was but I was respectful about it – I’d heed the advice but as soon as it was given, it would as easily leave my cognition. However, I do remember one moment in time where I did not only pay attention but followed the person’s suggestion and here I am freshly turned 50 and I have him to thank for it. I was about 25, perhaps 26, and was sitting at a lunch table with a few new, younger fellow teachers and telling them that I had received a letter from Social Services (Welfare) and was told that I had about a $2000 pension amount with them as a result of my previous 18 month stint with them. I was telling this table group that I had the option to take it out or roll it over into the teacher’s pension but why would I do the latter when I could spend it and go to Vega$$$. As we are laughing, Ken W, the Humanities teacher sitting with his buddies playing crib at another table – who I hadn’t formally met yet since this was only my first or second year of teaching – told me that even though I didn’t know him, to take his advice and roll the money over as I would retire earlier. He went on to mention that yes, he was some 40ish year old teacher giving the newbie advice about money but when I reached his age, I would thank him. Exactly what I was thinking – I’m only starting to teach, retirement?! Yet, his message resonated on some level and since I really didn’t need the $2000 at the moment, I let the money roll over. Fast forward to today at 50 and I am so glad that I listened to Ken. Although, the government and teacher’s association are looking at pension and retirements, I am very fortunate in that the decision I made on Ken’s advice will allow me to retire with a full pension at 57 (only 7 years away) rather than 60/61 had I taken it out and spent it foolishly. Also, I still have lots more that I can possibly do at 57 so it’s a win/win for me. Yes, Ken, you are right. Here I am a little older than when you gave me the advice but you were so right – best decision I made for myself. Thank you so much for approaching me and just telling me what you thought was right. In your honour, I keep my finances all in check!