I’ve been thinking extensively about poverty in New Zealand and how close I came to being another person stuck in a rut. Because that’s what poverty is in New Zealand. The social welfare system gives you enough to live on. Sometimes I felt that it was too much. But in all honesty, if I’d had a health crisis… or a car crisis… or an appliance crisis… I’d have been screwed. And I wasn’t dealing with an alcohol or drug addiction… and hadn’t been sucked in to getting a loan from a high interest charging finance company.
Along with the poverty stuff, I’ve been musing at the sorts of jobs that people hold, like working long hours, for crap pay, or in a job which doesn’t present any opportunity to further yourself, or a boss who couldn’t care less that your kid was sick, throwing a tantrum, or you just couldn’t get out the door on time… and I’ve been comparing that to the job I hold… I realised how easy I have it at the moment.
Life could have so easily gone the other way and I could be stuck on the Domestic Purposes Benefit as a solo mum… with no job… and no childcare… and well, nothing. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly down to luck. Getting pregnant in my second year of university with no father for the kid to be seen wasn’t exactly the smartest move I’ve ever made but somehow I’ve made it through.
Three years on, I’m in a totally different place to where I left 2004. I finished my degree, am living in a really neat house (admittedly I’m flatting – but it’s heaps cheaper, so rock on the family flat), a job that allows me to get home to Hannah at a reasonable hour, a boss who is supportive of the kid and I, and a pretty decent payrate (for a recent grad!). The very fact I got a job straight out of uni is miracle enough, let alone all the other stuff falling into place. So how the heck did it happen? And is it going to continue to happen?
As I said earlier, I think luck had a lot to do with it. But how long is that going to last? I seriously think that I’ve been taking for granted how everything has worked out for me and I’d like to start acting grateful and making the most of it. And that includes being a hard worker. And taking learning opportunities. And showing people that I am worthy of investing time and energy into. It also includes being nice to the kid. Not being grumpy for no reason or resorting to yelling before I have stopped to think about what is happening.
So. New leaf.