Life isn’t always perfect.

None of us in our 20’s could ever imagine how things will be 30+ years down the road. We all have our dreams, great paying job, nice car, nice home, someone special to spend the rest of our lives with. Having lots of friends, going out, staying in and playing games till the wee hours of the morning. For most of us, it’s a dream.

Reality is a harsh mistress that doesn’t care if you’ve been beaten down and are at your wits end. She is there ready to lump on some more to see if you can take it.

I never thought that I would lose my father to cancer when I was 23, never thought it would take me years to dig out of debt from college, that 3 months after I bought my first car that I would get laid off for 9 months, that I would lose my apartment because it couldn’t afford rent and utilities with a car payment let alone wanting to eat.

I never thought I would meet a wonderful girl who I married 22 years ago. We worked hard to pay for our wedding, made sacrifices so we could scrape up enough to buy our home. Thought for sure we would have children but things didn’t work out for us, so we are cat parents. I never imagined I would lose my mom to cancer after she completed chemo because she didn’t take care of herself and relapsed. I’ve helped my mom and my in-laws through major health problems. Have helped family and friends going through tough times and even opened my home to give them a place to live. The list could go on for a lot longer.

None of the above was ever a thought years ago. It isn’t possible to plan for everything that could go wrong, will go wrong. You need to live your life and hope for the best. I don’t share a lot of what is going on in my life daily, because that is personal, and while I know many find comfort in sharing all of their problems, it’s not how I was raised. Growing up if we had to get my grandmother to a doctors appointment, I would drive her, because part of the privilege of being able to drive the family car was that it came with responsibilities. I lived through gas rationing, had my car run out of gas as I was pulling up to the pump.

I see on occasion younger people complain that my generation is at fault for the costs of everything. I never had a cell phone, my tv until I was in my 20’s was a black and white RCA that I paid my parents for when they had gotten a new one. My first part time job at the mall paid $1.35 to start. My first full time job, that I’m still working at 32 years later paid $5.00 an hour. I’ve been laid off for 6+ months 3 times. I have always put on a brave face and just gotten through one crisis to the next.

Life is hard, things just given to you don’t have the same value as something you’ve worked for several weeks or months to buy. People won’t always be there to help you out. If you desperately need help, ask, people are good decent human beings that will offer a hand or shoulder if they can. Later if you can help someone do so, society cannot function with those that won’t help, and those that feel they deserve help because others have more.

Right now I am dealing with a lot more than I have ever handled at one time in my life. I’m holding on, but it’s not easy. My life has never been easy. From when I was 5 having open chest surgery, with a prognosis that I might live to my 20’s but would never be able to participate in sports, to growing up, running cross country and track and field in High School, to looking at turning 60 in a few years. I’ve fought hard for what I have. And I am sorry if you feel that my generation has ruined your chances at having the same. But when you are paying your $300 bill for your new iPhone 10, going out to a bar after watching the new Avengers movie in iMax, or paying for your Uber that drove you 10 blocks. Not all of us had lives as easy as you may think, we get up every day, drive an hour to work, come home and cook and clean, try to keep ourselves from losing it all, then on the weekend care for aging parents, or help others.

I do honestly hope that in 25-30 years your lives are what you feel ours are like, I really do. But remember, to get that life takes a lot of work and sacrifice, and if you do manage to get that life? Be prepared to listen to many telling you how much better you have things compared to them.

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