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Source: (consider it) Thread: the successful life
mr cheesy
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# 3330

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Have you achieved anything in your life? If you were to die today and somehow were present to look back at your life, would you be satisfied that you had done whateveritwasthatyouwantedtodo or would you consider yourself a failure?

I don't know if this is your experience, but there are various things that I have which others crave - family, housing, financial stability - and yet these don't really feel like much of an accomplishment. It feels like one ought to be striving for something more, something more permanent, something more significant, more lasting.

I was reflecting the other day that in previous generations, it was religion which met this need. One could be a miner working long hard and dangerous shifts. One could go home to a cold and unhealthy house. But the two things you had which made it all worth it was the dream that things would be better for your children and the comfort of having achieved eternal salvation.

I was going to say something about Kierkegaard and the Knight of faith but maybe that's a bit hackneyed.

So - do you want to achieve anything specific in your life? Why is that thing so important?

Have you already achieved it?

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arse

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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Yes, I’ve raised six puppies for Guide Dogs. My aim is to achieve 20 puppies, I’ll be 74 by then as it works out at one a year so - health permitting, it should be achievable.

What could be a better legacy than giving 20 people independence?

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Garden. Room. Walk

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la vie en rouge
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I was reflecting the other day that in previous generations, it was religion which met this need. One could be a miner working long hard and dangerous shifts. One could go home to a cold and unhealthy house. But the two things you had which made it all worth it was the dream that things would be better for your children and the comfort of having achieved eternal salvation.

I think this is worthy of more reflection. Why has my parents’ generation left us so much worse off than themselves? Was it among their aspirations to improve our lot in life? My Grandad was among the miners you mention and making sure his son never had to dig coal was a major aspiration for him. But I don’t see the same motivation among the boomers. Their success apparently doesn’t require them to give their children a better life.

My generation, meanwhile, has been royally shafted by its elders. We have inherited debt, unaffordable housing and increasingly precarious employment. Whether we will (want to) make things better for our own children remains to be seen, I suppose.

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Rent my holiday home in the South of France

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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For me success is not achieving things. It lies in acceptance and presence.

If I find serenity within myself I am successful.

If you want proof that having things and being successful does not bring happiness look at the Jackass O'Lantern.

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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Speak for yourself la vie en rouge - neither of my sons would have the jobs or homes they have now without considerable financial and other help and support from us.

We paid for one to train as a pilot in the U.K. and the other a nurse in Germany. They will also inherit a house each.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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I'm fortunate enough to be a "boomer" and any advantage I have had is that after the second World War my parents didn't want anything like it again: after all, my dad served in the RAF throughout (and for thirty years after, but it was going to be a very short war then) and mum lost her first husband and father of my two brothers over Germany in 1942.

There won't be much for our children to inherit: for a start we have five of them, but we have let them down immensely by letting economic interests overrule democracy.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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North East Quine

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# 13049

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quote:
I think this is worthy of more reflection. Why has my parents’ generation left us so much worse off than themselves? Was it among their aspirations to improve our lot in life? My Grandad was among the miners you mention and making sure his son never had to dig coal was a major aspiration for him. But I don’t see the same motivation among the boomers. Their success apparently doesn’t require them to give their children a better life.
I think that "making sure his son never had to dig coal" was a clear aim, and it's harder for our parents to have a clear aim to improve the next generation's life. My parents are both pre-Boomers and much of their success came from buying a house in the late 60s which increased massively in value during the 1970s inflation. There is nothing they could do which would let us replicate their success.
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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Our parents were able to do it because they had decent jobs, pensions, and healthcare. If we don't have these things all our income is going to go towards them, and there will be no savings left for the next generation. A simple and cruel equation.

For me the successful life is defined as creativity. There are things that only I can make: paintings that no one else has executed, books that only I have imagined, projects that no one else is going to carry through into reality, words that no one else will say. Who else will cut out and hem this octagonal baptismal font cover, except I?

And having done them, I am content. Publication, viewing of the painting, not so important psychologically, although the tax people think otherwise. Although this baptismal font cover had better be used and appreciated and not get lost in the wash again. Catch me running a lace hem around these things any more, it's not worth the fussy sewing!

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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Things like success and achievement are very subjective, well, in fact, totally. I suppose our Western way of life makes us value things like career and family, but that is not inevitable. When I was young I would have valued them, plus money, but now, I feel quite different. I can see things better, for example, birds and insects, whereas 40 years ago, I couldn't see out of my own hall of mirrors. Success!

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Sipech
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# 16870

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I would say I achieved partial success. From about the age of 10-12 I realised I had quite an aptitude for maths. I wanted to carry on learning and even researching as far as possible. To that end, getting an A* in my GCSE was just a stepping stone. Getting AA in maths/further maths at A level was satisfactory. I aimed as high as possible, so when I achieved it, for me that was the minimum. I could never be overjoyed, but would be bitterly disappointed with anything less than the top grade. So I carried on at university, did an undergraduate masters (4 years) and got a 1st. I didn’t let anything get in the way of me getting that grade. The next step would be to do a PhD, but in my final year at uni, all my applications were rejected. The road simply ran out.

I had a backup plan of teaching, but again, all I had was rejection. So the highlight of my life was receiving my degree from Bill Bryson in Durham Cathedral. The next day I was homeless and unemployed. I took the first job I could get which was with an accountancy firm on a graduate programme and have worked as an accountant ever since then. I currently work in the head office of a FTSE 100 company, daily interacting with the ‘head honchos’, which some might regard as an achievement, but which for me was never the life I either foresaw nor aimed for. It’s just something I fell into.

Some might look at me and think I’ve achieved a lot; I certainly think my parents were impressed when I took them on a tour of the office and they got to sit in the boardroom. But by the standards and ambitions I had when I was younger, I fell a long way short and have never really aimed for anything since I was in my early 20s.

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlethiophile

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sabine
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# 3861

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I achieved in adulthood the three things I always mentioned as a child when people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I said I wanted to help people and became a social worker. I said I wanted to know how other people in the world lived and became an anthropologist. I said I wanted to write and became a poet.

That doesn't mean I still don't have a sense of things yet to do. I find I need to periodically consider smaller goals within the larger ones, especially now that I'm retired but still doing volunteer work in my professional areas.

And then there is also consideration of how well I'm traveling on my path. That requires almost daily discernment.

sabine

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"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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I have thought perhaps flexibility and being able to adapt, along with self-knowledge are the things one needs for a successful life. I started employment after more than a decade of university, in a recession, which worsened, and I had to leave gov't employment. Not my plan to be self-employed, but have done very well. I realized that I was comfortable with both financial and personal risks, which meant that I was able to do what was required to get things going and keep it all going. Now it seems that I won't bother retiring unless there is a compelling reason to do so, as the finances have been available for >10 years. Maybe grandchildren who need a babysitter (I love kids) would do it.
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Enoch
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# 14322

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If you'd asked me 40+ years ago, it would all have seemed far too far away to think about. Having one's own children would be as far forward as I could have imagined, and hoping they would grow up well and turn out all right. But now I've got them, it amazes me how having grandchildren outweighs anything else one might think of achieving. It's been a surprise and a joy to find how much more of a change it has been than I had imagined even when they were a possibility.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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I failed at my first profession, the law. I failed in my first attempt at lifelong spousal partnership, and I failed to reproduce. The reproduction and the law thing haunt me from time to time.

On the plus side, I laugh aloud most days, and am actually very happy and satisfied in this my second attempt at lifelong spousal partnership. I love and am loved by she whom I love.

I have no desire to achieve, and while I occasionally write, it is a victory to do a page of text before I get bored and move on. I think that's part of it for me. I am comfortable in tracksuit pants, but balk at a matching top.

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Human

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
If you'd asked me 40+ years ago, it would all have seemed far too far away to think about. Having one's own children would be as far forward as I could have imagined, and hoping they would grow up well and turn out all right. But now I've got them, it amazes me how having grandchildren outweighs anything else one might think of achieving. It's been a surprise and a joy to find how much more of a change it has been than I had imagined even when they were a possibility.

The Bible, or at least the Old Testament, puts so much emphasis on children and descendants, it's often the promise and gift God grants to people he favors. Other religions seem to share the value. I know many people who, like Enoch, are simply amazed at the joy they find in grandchildren.

On the other hand, I will never have grandchildren, and neither of my siblings have had children, so our line stops here. Yet, I seldom think of that as a terrible loss. I think this situation is becoming more common and I'm not sure why it is that what has been seen as the ultimate purpose in life for thousands of years, is becoming less common and not really talked about much.

[crossposted with Simontoad, a kindred spirit of mine.]

[ 23. November 2017, 23:05: Message edited by: Twilight ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Given that my father's family (all families of relatives to the level of trackable 3rd cousins) was entirely extinguished by war - we thought entirely until I located one cousin - the idea of extinction of our family has pretty difficult for me. But it is probably going to happen. Maybe this continuity thing play differently if you're living out the sins of fathers and mothers. Which my kids were shielded from, and have continuity via their mother's family. Maybe when my father dies, he won't transfer his trauma to me so much.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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jacobsen

seeker
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quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
.

My generation, meanwhile, has been royally shafted by its elders. We have inherited debt, unaffordable housing and increasingly precarious employment. Whether we will (want to) make things better for our own children remains to be seen, I suppose.

As has been said, LaVenR, all sorts of governmental decisions have created the present day conditions, and all the parents I know have helped or are helping their children out, if not directly financially, then with babysitting - which is also a financial help.

And it could be said, anyone who owns a country home, as is implied in your sig., is not doing too badly. If it's all through your own efforts, well done!
[Big Grin]

[ 24. November 2017, 07:07: Message edited by: jacobsen ]

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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Martin60
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# 368

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It's by luck. I have survivor guilt.

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Love wins

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sabine
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# 3861

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In the developed world (and sadly, increasingly in the developing world) we sometimes live with a manufactured dissatisfaction thanks to a consumerism, a tool of captitalism.

Earlier in the thread, I mentioned that I had accomplished the things I set out to do in life. But I did so by following my bliss, and as a result I sometimes feel I haven't been successful because I don't have the outer trappings of success as defined by the society I live in.

My feelings about success are really.mine to handle, but I wish that my society in general didn't place so much emphasis on certain markers of success.

I'm writing this on so-called Black Friday, the day after we ate encouraged to give thanks for what we have but then are encouraged to mob the stores to buy buy buy. This may be tangential and a topic for its own thread, yet I can't help thinking about success as it is defined by ability to spend.

sabine

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"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

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sabine
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# 3861

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quote:
Originally posted by sabine:


I'm writing this on so-called Black Friday, the day after we ate encouraged to give thanks...

Noticed this typo after using preview and after edit window closed. Interesting accident of words the morning after a big Thanksgiving meal. [Smile]

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"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

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Gamaliel
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All depends on how we define 'success', of course ...

I've got a wife with incurable cancer and two lovely daughters. We've paid off our mortgage but I'm earning less now than I was in my '20s. I work freelance and it's pretty hand to mouth.

My parents got divorced when I was a kid and although a single-parent, my mother's helped us a lot. We went through a sticky patch financially early in our marriage due to negative equity and my mum helped us out.

I'm not sure she'd qualify as a 'Boomer' - she's 80 this week coming, so part of the pre-War and austerity generation.

I think some 'Boomers' can be blamed but it's not as simple as la Vie en Rouge has implied.

It's not as if all the Boomers are sat there on their big fat arses going, 'Eat shit, kids ...'

There was a combination of circumstances that led to their affluence. For all we know it could have been a blip in the overall trajectory of things ...

But do we measure success that way?

How about the whole Maslov's Heirarchy of Human Needs thing?

Most of us punching away at our keyboards here are affluent by global standards.

My wife's unlikely to live long enough to see her grandkids, if we ever have any.

That puts things into perspective.

I've fallen from middle-management / nudging senior management positions to making some kind of contribution to the family budget as a freelancer and relying on my wife's regular wage - until she contracted cancer and had to give up work.

Part of our monthly income comes from benefits.

Does that make us 'failures'?

I've been offered a publishing contract (royalties only) to ghost-write a book and have negotiated a mate's rate/charity rate deal with the subject and the trustees of his charity that will enable me to park some of my itsy-bitsy ad hoc freelance work while I concentrate on writing.

That's a good turn up for the books, particularly given my wife can no longer work and has regular hospital appointments.

But is it 'success'?

I've won some poetry competitions, I've had poems published in prestigious magazines but I could wall-paper my study with rejection notices.

Does that count as success or failure?

We are all where we are. None of us here are scrabbling around on rubbish-dumps in Lima, Cairo or Nairobi trying to make a living from other people's left-overs ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Doublethink.
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I have never managed to have a long term relationship, successful or otherwise. But I have significantly improved some people's lives, I may even have cured a few people. I consider that my vocation, and it gives me purpose.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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These posts give reflection. I have done some significant wilderness travel in my youth. By canoe the biggest adventure was 82 days from Ft McMurray Alberta (Clearwater River) to the Athabasca River, into Lake Athabasca (180 miles long), across to Fort Chipewyan, then north on the Slave River, but we ran into ice about 60 miles north and had to turn around and head east on the north shore of Lake Athabasca. This was early June, it was a little cooler than normal, though we had the midnight twilight of about 2 hours where sunset flows into sunrise. We then spent 12 days going to Uranium City on the north shore with 8 days of being wind-bound (waves too big to travel). We got down through Fond du Lac, and then to Stoney Rapids, then lining canoes upstream 22 miles to swampy Black Lake, through the various swampy and rocky lakes, Hatchet Lake, Wollaston Lake (about 200 miles long_ before finishing at Southend, which is at the southern end of Reindeer Lake (almost 300 miles long). The distance between Athabasca and Wollaston is really long, taking some 50 days. Total distance was probably some 2500 miles, nothing straight, hard to really fully know.

Sorry than my canoeing buddy died (cancer). We didn't make a planned trip to the Arctic, again trying the Slave River. There's almost no possibility of finding a compatible person for such things, it's rare to have had such a friend, with whom to share life and near death, and also his death. I count close friends like this at 3 in the course of my life, but no-one who could tolerate such travel as well as we did together.

[ 24. November 2017, 19:58: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

Posts: 11176 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
sabine
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# 3861

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Gamaliel, we're you responding to my posts just before yours? Hard to tell since we both mentioned affluence. I'm really sorry about your wife, whom you've mentioned before, and heartened by the perspective you have.

I was trying to indicate that the capitalistic tool of induced consumerism in developed societies has a way of making folks feel insecure about their own worth in general and by comparison to the benefits they think they see in the lives of others (esp as portrayed in advertising).

It's not always easy to combat this stealth manipulation.

I applaud those who are able to do so, and my heart goes out to those whose circumstances require a rethinking of these "first-world" issues in light of real life troubles. They are the ones with strength.

I'm also saddened that global capitalism is spreading the "ye shall know them by how much stuff they have" message to increasing numbers of people.

sabine

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"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

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sabine
Shipmate
# 3861

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No prophet....wow! What a great memory! No amount of busy attendance at social events can replace friendship on this level.

sabine

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"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

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sabine
Shipmate
# 3861

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Doublethink, having a purpose is key, IMO. I'm glad yours is so meaningful for you.

For many years, caring for my parents was a big (and not pleasant) part of my purpose. When that ended, I had a few months of feeling that I was just wandering around in my own life. Feeling more grounded now.

sabibe

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"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

Posts: 5866 | From: the US Heartland | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

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Sabine, glad you are feeling more grounded. Especially if that means you are comfortable in your life as we would like to be in our skins.

I'm still here - that's success for a start! Many ups and downs, but some family, a few long-standing friends together with satisfying work and voluntary activities add up to pretty OK on the whole. AFAICS no-one has it all, and the major lacks, e.g. children, I can live with.

I'm not, and never will be, rich, but I manage. At the moment there is very little to complain about, which is really rather remarkable. Most of the time I feel lucky. (Hope those vengeful gods are looking the other way.)

Someone said that happiness is the ability to accept the mud huts that the shining palaces of our ambitions turn out to be. There's nothing wrong with a mud hut provided it doesn't rain too hard.

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel
I'm not sure she'd qualify as a 'Boomer' - she's 80 this week coming, so part of the pre-War and austerity generation.

We are the Silent Generation. We were born during the Depression and were children in World War 2.

I think we were blessed. We learned to get along without many store-bought toys. We made our own, and got a double satisfaction--from the making and the playing. We also got along without a lot of other things.

It made it much easier to be frugal as an adult.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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hey Moo

I caught that off my parents (your generation), and my kids have (mostly, and so far) caught it off me.

My 12-yr-old was telling me today that she enjoys being 'uncool' - for these kinds of reasons, as well as being into learning, into God, and not into swearing.

I suggested if she needed to become more cool, starting swearing would be my advice for the new trajectory [Smile]

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Maybe success is loving others and being loved in return? There's this dog and cat here abouts who seem pretty successful.

Sabine: re canoe trips, and other wilderness travel. I have a trip journal, well several, which also includes some badly drawn pictures, squished mosquitos, a few whiskers from my chin, and quite a bit of dirt. So it isn't memory just.

Back to the love/loved in return: I don't think it has to be in any particular form, it's just connection to others in any old way that works. It doesn't stop at death, which is the same as life, just a little less conversational.

[ 25. November 2017, 03:20: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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Golden Key
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lver--

quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
I think this is worthy of more reflection. Why has my parents’ generation left us so much worse off than themselves? Was it among their aspirations to improve our lot in life? My Grandad was among the miners you mention and making sure his son never had to dig coal was a major aspiration for him. But I don’t see the same motivation among the boomers. Their success apparently doesn’t require them to give their children a better life.

My generation, meanwhile, has been royally shafted by its elders. We have inherited debt, unaffordable housing and increasingly precarious employment. Whether we will (want to) make things better for our own children remains to be seen, I suppose.

Respectfully, as a late-in-the-scheme-of-things Boomer, this seems to assume that we've all had property, money, and great jobs. Most of us haven't--any more than most people do at any time in history. As usual, the gov't, powerful people, and businesses make most of the decisions, and for their own benefit. (The usual suspects.)

Is it not like that in France?

And a lot of Boomers fought hard to give their kids a better life--heck, fought hard for food and a roof. Without the kinds of vacations and benefits that are (now) common in Europe.

They fought hard to get their kids into college, or jobs better than their own. Often, that meant someone going into debt. Those kids who went to college on full financial aid assumed the debt themselves--and struggled to pay it, because the economy wasn't providing enough jobs.

Respectfully, anyone who assumes that (American) Boomers had and have it easy is misinformed. I don't know about French Boomers.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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MaryLouise
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Success is such a relative term. I wouldn't know where to start in defining my own life: I think of places, historical accidents, relationships, luck, privilege, opportunities, failure, choices, second chances, hard work, help, rejections, support, health issues, self-knowledge, laziness, maturity, traumas and recovery from traumas, life skills, faith, doubt, gratitude, unanswered questions. The jury’s out on this one.

A while back I was thinking about how differently I’ve come to read the life of the poet Emily Dickinson, one of the most original and powerful poets of the 19th century. At school I was taught that she was reclusive and a bit neurotic, a spinster, broken-hearted because of some mysterious man, a poet who couldn’t get her work published, someone who never travelled or left her parents’ home.

When I pushed a little deeper and read her correspondence and more about her life, it dawned on me that Emily Dickinson created the exact conditions she needed to write what she wrote. She was an amateur scientist, a skilled botanist and plantswoman, a mystic, someone who published a few poems and was appalled by the editing of her work and the way in which it was misunderstood and denigrated. She decided to circulate her poems only among those she could trust to exercise discernment, those able to appreciate her work. Her most satisfying, complex and intense relationships were with other women. She was able to protect herself from family dramas and find the solitude she needed. She was a self-sufficient person who liked her own company, believed deeply in communing with the transcendent as she understood the Divine in paradox and unknowability. She struggled with depression and a deep spiritual anguish perhaps akin to the Dark Night of the Soul.

Fame didn’t interest her and if she were to return now and find herself famous, she probably wouldn’t like it. I don’t think celebrity culture would mean anything to her. She knew her own worth as a writer and ranked herself, in all humility, alongside George Eliot, the Brontë sisters and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She worked in her letters and fascicles of poems to explore and push the envelope of form, what could be said, how to say it in a way never written before. She literally made her books of poems, sewing pages together, aware they had a wide circulation among her friends and their acquaintances. She knew she was admired and read with great interest. She understood her life, her suffering, her own giftedness as something distinct from conventional understandings of success or failure.

Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Whose table once a
Guest but not
The second time is set
Whose crumbs the crows inspect
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the
Farmer’s corn
Men eat of it and die

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
lver--

quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
I think this is worthy of more reflection. Why has my parents’ generation left us so much worse off than themselves? Was it among their aspirations to improve our lot in life? My Grandad was among the miners you mention and making sure his son never had to dig coal was a major aspiration for him. But I don’t see the same motivation among the boomers. Their success apparently doesn’t require them to give their children a better life.

My generation, meanwhile, has been royally shafted by its elders. We have inherited debt, unaffordable housing and increasingly precarious employment. Whether we will (want to) make things better for our own children remains to be seen, I suppose.

Respectfully, as a late-in-the-scheme-of-things Boomer, this seems to assume that we've all had property, money, and great jobs. Most of us haven't--any more than most people do at any time in history. As usual, the gov't, powerful people, and businesses make most of the decisions, and for their own benefit. (The usual suspects.)

Is it not like that in France?

And a lot of Boomers fought hard to give their kids a better life--heck, fought hard for food and a roof. Without the kinds of vacations and benefits that are (now) common in Europe.

They fought hard to get their kids into college, or jobs better than their own. Often, that meant someone going into debt. Those kids who went to college on full financial aid assumed the debt themselves--and struggled to pay it, because the economy wasn't providing enough jobs.

Respectfully, anyone who assumes that (American) Boomers had and have it easy is misinformed. I don't know about French Boomers.

I'll add my piece here, seeing as I was going to reply to LVER anyway. Judging from what she posts of her personal life, I would say that I'm about 10 years older than her, probably, so in some sense, same generation, but where on earth you draw the line with these boomer/gen X/gen Y/ whatever-whatever things, who knows...

Anyway. I've been thinking more and more, recently, about the differences in how I (and my husband) lived our youth from my (and his) parents. They (the olds) have done waaaaaaay more things than us. Way more. And I don't just mean because they're older, and so have had more time. I mean, they've been all over the world, adventuring, years at a time, venturing blithely and naively into all sorts of dangerous places before returning home to this little parochial nirvana to reproduce (in my parents case, they emigrated here, actually). Whereas us? We studied, we finished high school, we went straight to uni, we studied, we both did postgrad, one of us got a career out of it (it wasn't me), we worked, we paid off student debt, and then we started thinking about how the hell to scrape together a deposit for a mortgage. My parents helped, which makes them nicer than what LVER has experienced, I guess. But, god, it's so boring! And wondering why, I thought to myself, were we just born timid and unimaginative? Or were we taught to be timid and unimaginative? And the best answer I can come up with is no, to both. The big difference between mine and my parents' generation, the crucial, crucial, thing, is that I have always lived in a world where there aren't quite enough jobs. It's the norm. Which not only keeps wages down, it means that, if you have a job that's reasonable enough, you don't just sling it in to go backpacking around the world for a couple of years, on the triple assumption that: You'll be able to pick up some decent work anywhere you decide to stop for a while; there'll be another job waiting for you when you come back; and you're pretty much safe to go anywhere because you're white/British.

It's. Not. Like. That. Anymore. Which, for the world in general, might actually be a good thing. And at least I didn't grow up in the shadow of the looming terror of a nuclear war.

--------------------
The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Gamaliel
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Sabine, I had read your posts with interest and agree with them but I wasn't responding directly as such but simply reflecting on similar themes.

But yes, I completely agree with you on the effects of consumerism. People on the right of the political spectrum sometimes complain about what they see as a culture of 'entitlement' among the less wealthy, 'they think the state should support them, yadda yadda yadda ...'

I would submit that there's a culture of entitlement among those who are susceptible to the consumerist mindset - they feel they 'deserve' their foreign holidays, expensive restaurant meals etc.

It's a hard thing to break out of. I've certainly not succeeded, nor am I any great exemplar.

We are fortunate to have been quite frugal in the past - like Mark_in_Manchester we learned that from our 1930s-born parents.

So although we are in straitened circumstances now, we don't have mortgage payments and we aren't going to starve.

Of course, cancer and irregular income bring their own pressures but I have no desire to start climbing back up the corporate / management slippery pole.

Being comfortable in one's own skin is the key. My wife feels I'm closer to that now than I ever was in management.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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anoesis
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Aaaand to address the original point:

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Have you achieved anything in your life? If you were to die today and somehow were present to look back at your life, would you be satisfied that you had done whateveritwasthatyouwantedtodo or would you consider yourself a failure?

No, I wouldn't have done whatever it was I wanted to do - but no, I wouldn't consider myself a failure - just someone who didn't get their full allotment of years... [Biased]

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I don't know if this is your experience, but there are various things that I have which others crave - family, housing, financial stability - and yet these don't really feel like much of an accomplishment. It feels like one ought to be striving for something more, something more permanent, something more significant, more lasting.

I can tick all of those boxes too, and I know what you mean. And in some ways, it seems bloody arrogant to view having a successful relationship or healthy children as any sort of accomplishment. The relationship takes two, and kids, in my view, are following their own internal programs, and all parenting is, (apart from washing, tidying, and making endless pieces of toast), is a guiding hand here and there to steady the balance as they learn to do without training wheels.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So - do you want to achieve anything specific in your life? Why is that thing so important?

Yep. I'd like to get a book published. I've always wanted to do that, for as long I can remember. I probably have the raw ability - for what that's worth, I'm not altogether sure I have the necessary discipline, and I'm really quite shaky about whether or not I have the courage to actually come out in the open with the stuff that's in my head, as it has the potential to make all the people who think they know me,revise that notion... but as I get older, I think I'm developing - maybe not courage, but a bit more recklessness, and in a few years' time, I might be all 'to hell with this, let's just do it'.

As to the 'why?' Why is it so important? Buggered if I know. It's just a part of me. I don't really question it anymore. I guess I just feel like I have something to say.

Oddly enough, in terms of things I have actually done, the thing I would point to that really feels like an achievement, is to have, over about a decade, turned an ugly, cold, shabby, shitty, unloved dump of a house into a really pleasant home, mostly through just hours and hours and hours of elbow grease and paint stripper and plaster dust and god knows what else. Toward the end of the process we actually could have afforded to pay someone else do be doing it, but we didn't. Now, loads of people do this, nothing special about it, and you sure don't need to be clever to be successful at something like this. But still, probably the most satisfactory thing I've ever done.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Gamaliel
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That makes sense, anoesis.

I'm writing a book, so I can understand the impulse, although unlike yours it's not an imaginative thing, a novel say, but a biography/reportage thing.

Nevertheless, the idea of writing something that long and seeing in print is mind-boggling.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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rolyn
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# 16840

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As has been said 'success' is relative. It is also hard to define because it becomes confused with happiness.

I wrote a post here yesterday then deleted it. Never quite sure if it is wise to advertise one's happiness or even lack of it. As for one's personal success or lack of it? That is probably best left for others to decide or judge come the eulogy.

For example, someone may have been very successful working their whole life in the tobacco industry. Not something which would lauded over by folk at his funeral these days I shouldn’t have thought.

--------------------
Change is the only certainty of existence

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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It's odd for me to read anoesis about the older generation doing more travelling and so on, as in my family, it's definitely the other way round. The young 'uns (in their 20s), are always haring off to far corners of the earth, Vietnam is rather conservative today as a destination. They do have it hard with housing, however.

I'm probably confusing the generations however.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Gamaliel
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The travelling thing was always fairly limited. For everyone like anoesis's parents there were far, far more who stayed at home and didn't have the opportunity to back-pack and so on.

Also, it certainly wasn't the case, at least as time went on, that people who travelled around doing odd-jobs and so on would settle immediately into stable and lucrative careers. I knew a bloke who'd travelled all over and worked on cattle farms in New Zealand and so on who had to work as a window-cleaner when he got back to the UK because he didn't have any qualifications.

Anoesis describes a situation that was only ever available to a small number of people.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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When they start that writing/publishing board, maybe over on the New Ship, we shall talk, eh?

As to travel, and all experiential things (ziplining, skiing, etc.) I wonder if this is not greatly soothed in this modern age by the internet. You can view a youtube video of as much ziplining as your stomach can tolerate, and for ever so much cheaper. Admittedly Google Earthing over Paris is not the same thing as visiting the city, but it's closer than any previous generation could do, with their paintings or magic lantern slides or polaroid photographs. And many dangerous and in fact no-longer-available activities (shooting white rhinos, say) can now be vicariously and safely experienced from the comfort of your own screen.

--------------------
Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
It's odd for me to read anoesis about the older generation doing more travelling and so on, as in my family, it's definitely the other way round. The young 'uns (in their 20s), are always haring off to far corners of the earth, Vietnam is rather conservative today as a destination. They do have it hard with housing, however.

I'm probably confusing the generations however.

Yes, I'm not that sort of young'un - I'm 40. Thus my parents' generation are in their late sixties/seventies, and did their gadding in the mid-late sixties. It is possible that there's becoming another shift, in line with your observations, whereby those in their twenties are opting for experience over security-by-property, because that's just so obviously out of reach. I hate that this is happening, has been allowed to happen, in my country, in service to a free-market ideology. A whole generation of perpetual renters means a very sharp demarcation between the haves and the have-nots in society and makes any sort of retirement a pipe-dream.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Jengie jon

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Historically in the UK it has not always be normative for people to own their own home. In 1914 89% rented from private landlords source.

Realised that needed some commentary. I have mixed views on whether house ownership is per se a good thing and I just wish to note that the current rate of home ownership is rather unusual.

Jengie

[ 25. November 2017, 21:00: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

--------------------
"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

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ExclamationMark
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Might we define "success" as achieving more (or a different outcome) than is/was expected or anticipated?

As I look back on nearly 60 years I am thankful for those who eased my way and for those who stood in it. I am thankful that my working class parents - dad a Farm labourer - and a council estate upbringing, gave me insight into life in ways I'd not find elsewhere. I'm thankful that they instilled in me a love of reading and a desire to learn. I'm as thankful for those who wrote me off (and there's been lots of those: class prejudice is a terrible expression of bullying), as I am for those for placed their faith in me. I'm thankful for the Vicar who refused to Christen me as a young working class child. The unfolding years have helped to turn that to good.

I can see now that the loss of a child made me a better person. I can understand the reaction to that kind of event was typical of 37 years ago and that it's very different now. Holding another couple's child enabled me to grieve for my own. That's victory.

I'm still amazed to look at a few pieces of paper in my top to see that I have passed exams to Masters level in 3 very different disciplines. I found a yellowing telegram (remember those?) the other day: the 20 year old with a Cambridge Scholarship is surely another person, isn't it? A few grainy pictures reveal the truth.

I've worked for others, for myself and ran a significant part of a major financial institution. Several million people in the UK use a product daily that has my fingerprints in its DNA.

Unreal as it seems, successful though it might be, it all pales into insignificance as I look at a photo on my desk. Mrs M. The 3 Misses M - now married women and working to improve the lives of others in various bits of the NHS. Love just doesn't cover it

Surpassing everything else is the part faith plays in all this. What success, whatever growth, whatever goodness has come about - all owe their existence not to EM or what he's done but to what God has enabled to be done. That's success - that I am still the person God loves despite my faults and my selfishness.

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sabine
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:

Might we define "success" as achieving more (or a different outcome) than is/was expected or anticipated?

As I look back on nearly 60 years I am thankful for those who eased my way and for those who stood in it. I am thankful that my working class parents - dad a Farm labourer - and a council estate upbringing, gave me insight into life in ways I'd not find elsewhere. I'm thankful that they instilled in me a love of reading and a desire to learn. I'm as thankful for those who wrote me off (and there's been lots of those: class prejudice is a terrible expression of bullying), as I am for those for placed their faith in me. I'm thankful for the Vicar who refused to Christen me as a young working class child. The unfolding years have helped to turn that to good.

I can see now that the loss of a child made me a better person. I can understand the reaction to that kind of event was typical of 37 years ago and that it's very different now. Holding another couple's child enabled me to grieve for my own. That's victory.

I'm still amazed to look at a few pieces of paper in my top to see that I have passed exams to Masters level in 3 very different disciplines. I found a yellowing telegram (remember those?) the other day: the 20 year old with a Cambridge Scholarship is surely another person, isn't it? A few grainy pictures reveal the truth.

I've worked for others, for myself and ran a significant part of a major financial institution. Several million people in the UK use a product daily that has my fingerprints in its DNA.

Unreal as it seems, successful though it might be, it all pales into insignificance as I look at a photo on my desk. Mrs M. The 3 Misses M - now married women and working to improve the lives of others in various bits of the NHS. Love just doesn't cover it

Surpassing everything else is the part faith plays in all this. What success, whatever growth, whatever goodness has come about - all owe their existence not to EM or what he's done but to what God has enabled to be done. That's success - that I am still the person God loves despite my faults and my selfishness

[Overused]

sabine

--------------------
"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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Tangent alert: So the vicar refused to christen you because you were of working class stock?

I've known of evangelical vicars not christening kids but never heard of a vicar refusing baptism on social grounds.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Anoesis describes a situation that was only ever available to a small number of people.

This.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:

Realised that needed some commentary. I have mixed views on whether house ownership is per se a good thing and I just wish to note that the current rate of home ownership is rather unusual.

Historically in the UK, it has not been normative for people to be able to vote, and we can argue over whether it has been normative for people to be free to seek employment that suits their talents and inclinations. Certainly it hasn't been normative for the female half of the population. There's a lot about modern life that is relatively new.

This doesn't say anything about whether widespread home ownership is a good thing, but does say that the fact that it is "unusual" doesn't mean much.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Tangent alert: So the vicar refused to christen you because you were of working class stock?

I've known of evangelical vicars not christening kids but never heard of a vicar refusing baptism on social grounds.

Yep. I was actually baptised in the village where my mother had lived not in my home village. I always wondered why that was the case but didn't know until 2 years ago.

My dad told me just before he died. He'd come quietly and gently to faith in the weeks before he died and wanted to apologise to me that it had all happened as it did 58 years before. In fact he's sung in the choir as a boy, rung the bells wound the clock and my grandparents still attended the church. Dad said it was the one thing that made him lose his faith in God and trust in people - thank goodness he rediscovered both albeit at such a distance.

Mind you, I should've had some kind of idea. The next Vicar sent me home from Sunday School for asking questions.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Historically in the UK it has not always be normative for people to own their own home. In 1914 89% rented from private landlords source.

I can't find this statistic in that link - but I'd be interested to know if it is 89% of households or 89% of people.

Two things strike me: first that families were often much larger (and multi-generational). So this might be messing up the numbers.

Second, there were wide disparities in different parts of the country. In London, for example, poor people were packed into slums where they paid extortionate rent to landlords - who sometimes made massive compensation claims when they were eventually cleared.

Elsewhere, ownership was high. I understand that in the Welsh coalfield, miners very often owned housing - which apparently was different to other mining areas where the housing was owned by the mine company.

But I think the (mass) aspiration to own one's own home goes back a very long way. Presumably at least as far as the establishment of Building Societies in the UK (which, if my memory is correct began in the 1850s).

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
But I think the (mass) aspiration to own one's own home goes back a very long way. Presumably at least as far as the establishment of Building Societies in the UK (which, if my memory is correct began in the 1850s).

Mid 1830's in Rochdale. Linked to the Coop movement and popularised in Methodist and Congregational Churches
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