A lot of people think childhood years are the irresponsible ones, but in my experience it is the golden years of old age that deserve that title. When I was a child in a large family there were always chores, younger siblings to watch over and a granny to accompany on her regular trips to seven o’clock mass and the occasional trip to the circus. You probably think the circus trip was a treat for me too, but you would be wrong, I am one of the few people that find them creepy especially the clowns.
Children, even today’s over-indulged variety have a lot of, mostly concealed, responsibilities, living up to parent’s hopes, doing as well as possible in school and worrying about peer-pressure and nowadays, of course they have all the fears about drug and drink addiction.
When I left school at thirteen it was not an uncommon age to finish schooling in my social circle. Having said that, we all knew that daddy, a self-taught man, would have dug ditches as a second job if any of us had expressed an interest in further education. The only thing all six of us girls wanted to do was sewing, and we all ended up as machinists working for fashion clothier Donald Davis. The working years have a different set of responsibilities, giving a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, contributing to the household budget, clothing ourselves and paying for a social life where possible.
Then there was marriage and raising a family, in my opinion, the greatest responsibility. A lot of women of my generation reared large families on very little money. This is not the first recession we have lived through. There was very little social life when the children were little. It was a constant battle to provide nourishing food and adequate clothing for most of my middle years. While I’m on the subject of raising a family. I believe very strongly that women who leave the work force to raise children should automatically qualify for a full contributory pension and not have to settle for a means tested non-contributory as I did. And, talk about free education, even back then, it was anything but free.
Now, at last, in my golden years I can be as irresponsible as I want. Unlike my daughters, who have to organise babysitters, school mornings etc. I can swan off for weekends or even weeks whenever I feel like it, thanks to my free travel. My only responsibility nowadays is to make sure the fridge is stocked for hubby when I’m not there.
Now, I hear, our misnamed *dept of social protection* may be thinking of taking away the few perks OAPs enjoy, on the orders of *the troika* what does that say about our government. To take away our travel passes when TDs are getting more than our pensions to commute from Greystones and even nearer in some cases. The entitlement culture in our government would turn your stomach, outrageous wages are not enough for them, they claim expenses that are sometimes multiples of the wage of the people they are proposing to cut pay and services to.
Surly it can’t be long now until they deliver the final straw and bring their pampered cosy little house of cards down around their expensively styled haircuts. I think, it could be targeting us oldies that will bring them down. We deserve to enjoy our final years in dignity and comfort, after all, I could name a few ex politicians that are years younger than any of us OAPs that are enjoying a huge *pension* that we, and the rest of our fellow citizens are paying for. Let us enjoy being irresponsible in our old age, we have done our duty, and now we deserve some fun.
maria on let us enjoy our irresponsible… Karen Shiels on This is a partial narrative of… lifeatfiftysomething on Brave new century? margaretmarymurphy on The mission lifeatfiftysomething on The mission