Homelessness. . .A Fear
It may be irrational but I have a fear of eventually being homeless. This, in spite of the fact that I live alone in a rather large house on a lovely big piece of farm property. I do have a small mortgage (by today's standard) which so far I have been able to continue to pay. For some this would be luxurious living.
I live close to the line economically which is no secret to my family and friends. In spite of a fine education, I have not accumulated the resources that middle class people expect to have to live out their retirement without the fear of homelessness or poverty. I arrived in this postion as a result of a series of life choices of my own choosing, which I do not regret. I accept the judgment that I am in a situation economically of my own doing. I don't expect people to feel sorry for me. I am quite happy to live in a very simple way. I can afford my way of life for now but it would not take much to push me over the line.
A homeless man. But not a hopeless man. He has some essentials: a companion, a book, adequate clothes and it look like he just finished a fresh orange. He looks clear eyed and content, not beaten down by his circumstances.
I lived the latter half of my life thinking I would die around 60 years old. (perhaps becasue my mother died at 61 unexpectedly) To my embarassment I am still here and in reasonable health. Being as an occasional depressed person, at times, I have thought if I was not dead by this time from natural circumstances I would take matters into my own hands and escape life and relieve family and friends of the burden of worrying about me. As a result, I did little planning for a retirement. Money was for the living.
Part of the fear of homelessness is the prospect of being dependent upon others or having to ask for help. I could not bring myself to ask extended family in particular for any assistance. For me, they have made it clear, over the years, such a request would be an imposition. It would be demeaning to be dependent on the kindness of strangers. So my worry goes.
Canada has a modest social safety net, so being homeless does not mean you are without financial resources, as long as you have an address, just not enough to become the "not homeless". As a life long socialist this is a disappointment for me as I believed in the ideal of government supporting people "from the cradle to the grave." Even our left wing party gave up this plank in their platform many years ago.
Recently, I have been reading a blog by a homeless man, Tony. It is very interesting. It is actually written, with his permission, by his friend, Philip, a Harvard grad (sounds like me but I identify with Tony.) who took an interest in him. They are a kind of "odd couple" of friends that meet on Tony's terms.
It is interesting to look in on Tony's life.: his daily struggle and his ideas on the World. I have often thought a lot about strategies which one could use to survive homeless in the city or in the country. If I were homeless I would prefer to be homeless in the country, where I also have some survival skills.
Tony's blog is a dose of realism of life on the street life of a homeless person.
The blog is not without humour. Tony often ends his short entries with the phrase "if you know what I mean." At least he avoids the shorter form "eh!" which so many Canadians say. If enough people read his blog it may become fashionable if you know what I mean! It made me think of the other blog I enjoy by Margaret and Helen where the entries end with "I mean it. Really.", which is hard to avoid using at times.
I recommend to you both of the blogs I have mentioned.
For now, for me, life is good, but I bet the fear of homelessness will continue to visit me in the occasion restless night or depressed time of despair. I am commited to toughing life out.
"In mean it. Really, if you know what I mean!"