I am reminded of our parents throwing away all the hockey cards we could collect and the comics too, those are worth big money today. I remember a man saying stop wasting your money on that arcade game, that joystick will hurt your arm. It’s a waist of time! I remember the kid replying it’s my ticket to the armed forces or heavy equipment operation, everything one day will be controlled with joysticks and jobs will come down to skillful control and reflexes. Things change and no one can predict the future, although it is getting easier to see the direction of the world because everything is so public these days!
It’s a valid question, isn’t it?
Do kids know best?
Like most men nearing the end of life I have been doing a lot of thinking lately as to what if. What if I had followed my childhood dreams? What if I plucked out one of the many thoughts and worked on it, would life be different and I can’t help but think despite not having computers, internet, cell phones, or most modern day convinces I believe it would have been better and very different. What happens, where do your dreams take a back seat and get forgotten? For me it was major changes and getting distracted in the many things that consume life.
Girls, work, education, trying to get ahead. When I was 14 I moved across the country pretty much on my own. Not knowing anything about credit, student loans or many of the things one really needs to prepare for adulthood. Add to that being terrified of commitment because my parents got divorced when I was very young. I didn’t feel ready to settle down and have kids. I didn’t have things figured out myself yet! I should have worked through high school returned home and taken carpentry with my father and taken over the family business or opened my own thing with my fathers guidance. Instead I struggled on my own and wasted much of my life.
Don’t get me wrong I opened and tried many ventures but there were many struggles hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost or wasted funds and many distractions all so one could waste the best years of their life working two and sometimes three jobs to get ahead and make enough cash to start some kind of business venture. It would have been so much easier if school would have taught you about finance as there were no adults to sit me down and say look idiot! In the end I did have success but I was burned out so when I had time and money I burned out instead of diversifying to overcome the downturn in the economy. Such easy lessons learned the hard way. I’m proud I did it on my own, I learned lots, but I did it the hardest way I could have and there was no need for that much stupidity.
What happened you may ask? Well as a child we were upper middle class and although not wealthy yet my father would go on to have everything he wanted in life and plenty to spare. As a child I always believed I would grow up to be a carpenter like my brothers, my father and grand father. Then came the divorce and although parents don’t believe that really effects the kids it altered my life forever. I was a kid with thousands of questions and my mother and teachers couldn’t answer any of them as they were at the time complicated. They were mostly about business, my father was a business man and that’s what I wanted to be. The Google, answer any question was a life time away, still. I wanted to be like my father a good bread winner but although I enjoyed carpentry I didn’t think that was my true calling as I hated being outside in the cold. He was more than just a carpenter though, he was a contractor, a businessman and one heck of a salesman too.
Living with my mother was for the best because if I had lived with my father I would have been a spoiled little bastard and everyone knew it. You know one of those kids handed everything on a silver platter without having to do anything to deserve it. It’s not what I really wanted for myself although life would have been a million times easier! I would have learned a lot from my father and been wiser as to the ways of the world. I would have carved out a better life for myself and I knew that even then.
Instead I experienced what it was like to live below poverty level and learned to do without. It’s hard going from wanting for nothing to wishing you just had enough to eat and nicer things to wear so kids didn’t make fun of you. I once said to my mother that I wish that there was some way that I could just get an answer to all the questions that no one seems to be able to answer for me. Today I believe that’s called Google! Wanting to open a business and be my own boss was never a secret, everyone knew, although they thought my ideas were stupid they all believed one day, I’d find success.
I often thought of investing in land or gold as a kid, I was a hell of a saver and now I wish I had. Although I only made $2.00 per hour working for my father I could make a couple of thousand a year, after school, weekends and holidays. Gold was $14.00 an ounce but would it ever really be worth anything? Silver and copper were worth next to nothing and had no real value. But I always knew land was a good investment and one my father was always spending money on. He’d say, you’ll never go wrong buying land or real estate. House lots were $10,000 but farmland in the country or woodland was only $100.00 per acre. The way I saved I could buy at least one acre per month and my father would have matched my investment dollar for dollar. I was stupid not to, it wasn’t long before hyper inflation started and any of those ideas would have given me a solid start in life!
I remember saying to my mother when I get rich I think I’ll help the world and setup factories in third world countries where wages are cheap and people really need work. That would help bring a starving nation to their feet and make me all the richer. I never did that but many large corporations did and it killed the American dream and the middle class from North America. That part I really didn’t think about, I was just a kid. We had friends who bought a farm, it was about 60 miles from town and way back in the woods away from the hi-way. We used to say it was so far back in the woods you had to come out just to hunt but the truth is, it was perfect. I was never happier than when I was on the farm!
The farm had no running water just a well, no pluming just an outhouse, no electricity just candles and oil lamps. No phone, no TV/radio, needless to say no computers or internet. I was about 6 years too young to drive! What it did have was horses, cows, chickens, pigs, and a huge garden! We got to ride the horses or snowmobile as long as we helped out and did the chores. It was hands down the best part of my life and I have always wanted to go back to that way of living, wood heating and wood stove. God I loved the wood stove, there is nothing like a meal prepared on a wood stove in a cast iron pot or pan and if anyone could bake like my mother, OMG! The baking on that stove was to die for!
I begged my mother to buy a farm like the one we spend so much time at and she just wouldn’t cave in as she thought we (us boys) would get board and leave her to run the farm by herself. I explained that would never happen, I ‘d be there help run it now and take it over later when I was ready. She figured I’d grow up, run off and get married like normal people but I never got married and if we had the farm I wouldn’t have run off! Strange thing, I hate the cold, it was the sole reason I never became a carpenter but I got up every morning and did the chores on the farm even in the winter without complaint. It was weird but I guess it’s true if you love something it’s not considered work!
My mother did give the farm idea some thought but she said she loved the thought and would love the life but she couldn’t take the risk. If we were to leave she couldn’t run the farm herself, and as an old lady she wouldn’t be able to chop enough firewood to stay warm. She’d freeze to death if she lived that long. My mother grew up on a farm and as the oldest she knew how hard the work could be. My mother was also thoughtful, caring, loving but sometimes she was too couscous which prevented her from opening a bakery when she really wanted to do and from making a living just doing all the crafts she did in her spare time that people loved so much. She felt the need to have that minimum wage steady paycheck working her ass off rather than do what she loved and make a good living. She had so many talents.
It wasn’t long before more things changed and not for the better, as a kid I helped my dad building homes everyday after school, weekends and holidays. My parents got devoiced when I was 8 so they split up when I was only 7. I was the first kid in town without 2 parents and it sucked but I continued working with my dad. When I was 10 our friends bought the farm and I started going there after school and on weekends I loved it there so much it was crazy. My mother and sister came out every other weekend and helped out. Mostly my mom would bake, cook, clean or work the garden. My sister mostly bitched about being board and how there were no boys her age around. Most of the people who ventured up the road were just out for a drive, turned around and left at the top of the road, that would be across the valley from the farm house. We never talked to any of them.
Shortly after I started spending time on the farm my father and brothers packed up and moved to Newfoundland. That really sucked I had no way of making any money at all. By the time I was 12 the guys that owned the farm sold the animals and one moved to the oil patch in Alberta so we stopped going to the farm. I would go to school and come home locking myself up in my room coming out basically for meals. I was really board and really wanted a job where I could make some money! I finally had enough and said to my mother you know I’m going to go really far back in the woods, build a cabin, grow a garden and raise my own food. I may never come out and deal with people again. She said good luck with that. How will you pay taxes, what will you do for money, get to the doctors and buy the things you need.
I said if I bought the land outright paid for seeds and the animals, built my shelter with natural materials I wouldn’t need much not even money but I could work part time at a local business if I had to. The fact is at that time I could have bought that 50 acre farm for $15,000.00 house and everything included! As it stands today the house is beat up and run down the windows broken and everything else stolen. Wrecked by hunters and kids partying The barn has blown down and is gone, no one has lived there for over 40 years. The sign on the main road is gone and mother nature has taken over. Tree branches block cars from going up what should be a county road to the farm. I told you it was secluded! Today you could likely buy the property for back taxes but the tax assessment is insane as though the house barn and farm were all still intact and operational.
I know I moved back to Nova Scotia with the dream of living a simple life. Getting a piece of land, growing and raising my own food and mostly living off the land. I know today location isn’t an issue as long as you can make a living online. The real question is, can one make a living online? The answer is yes as long as you can have a popular blog, social media and YouTube account. The question is can I??? That remains to be seen, Homesteading/prepping are very popular channels on Youtube but as an old man or what the young folks would consider old and un-hip man could I make it work? Now having back pain and a few health issues it’s hard to find work in a small place with only a hand full of jobs all paying minimum wage. I have to make some side money, I have to make money from blogging, writing books and courses or online in some way.
I have just restarted my blog and social media accounts and so far I haven’t had much luck which puts a damper on my dreams. I might have to start up one of those (GO SAVE MY ASS PAGES). By the time I make enough from books and courses or being online I may need fulltime help to run a farm as I might be too old or disabled, realistically. Have I given up on my childhood dreams… No despite my challenges I press on and hope one day before cancer or a heart attack take me away that I will make enough to acquire the land build a cabin and get started. It all has to be cash, being old I don’t believe I could make enough to make it really profitable just enjoyable with a better way of life and healthier food. As my father always said, if I live long enough, I’m gonna…
The bottom line is although I may have had many of the right answers and had I followed my hunches or thoughts buying land or gold I may have been retired wealthy a long time ago. No one knows what the future has in store and although I was on the right track several times, who knew? My father often said boy if I could go back in time and make a few investments I had a hunch about I’d never have to work again and neither would you! I guess that is why so many encourage people to follow their dreams no matter how crazy they may seem. Today many ideas we had no longer work and that includes many businesses. At the same time many things we used to pay a lot of money for are now free. Publishing books, advertising, marketing, and many others, yet so many jobs have disappeared. Shoe repair shops, video rentals, yellow pages, record stores, things just vanish and change for better or worse.