Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wait 'Till Payday

I awoke this morning hearing, on the Radio, that the lumber mills in the City of Williams Lake had shut down, due to the economic downturn.

A rush of old Fear enveloped old Fear which had attached itself to me at a time in my life when my livelihood depended on the Forestry Industry.

In my twenties, during strike years or simply during the periodic shutdowns of the mills and logging divisions in my town, I had only my background to draw upon. I had grown up with strikes, layoffs and shutdowns.

It was a way of life, back then...but along with the reality of this life I was living came Fear. Was the next pay cheque going to be large enough...was there going to be a next pay cheque at all?

I learned self-sufficiency, as we all do, in really tough times. My children grew up on homemade porridge...served with mixed powdered milk and fresh. Often, there were pancakes for dinner. I canned all the fruits and vegetables I could, being lucky enough to have friends with excess produce...and determined enough that my family have proper nutrients, even in the worst of times.

My first ex-husband hunted game and fished; I learned to use bones and such to make broths and soups and stews.  I learned to use rice and potatoes and pasta in many, many different ways...knowledge I still use to this day.

It was the only way I could live,at a young age with Fear attached to me, like an Octopus with its prey. I had to fight back. I had to learn to live up to the circumstances which the Universe had presented to me.

I managed; but Fear, with its insidious Fingers, fastened itself deeply, hiding from view...until this morning.

Cycles continued, during my life...bad times and good. Fear, for all the harm it does, propelled me ever onwards on my quest to find an economic balance in my life. Finally, I faced him down, pushing him as far away from consciousness as I could.

I thought I had relaxed; I thought it was now time to enjoy the ride...

But along the way, there were a few things I had to work on before I found that balance. It took many years, but I was finally able to separate the wants from the needs. I discovered the wisdom and knowledge to do so had been there all along, in a very convoluted way.

As a child, living more by my wants than my needs, I would request a toy or a piece of candy or an ice-cream cone.  I would be told...Wait until payday.

Well. More often than not, I would forget all about the object of my desire by the time payday rolled around.It was obviously not required for the wellness of my Being. But it gave my childish mind some point, I would receive this thing I had my heart set upon.

Sometimes, as well, it seemed like a long time between paydays. Desire fades, if its not fed.

My mother and I spoke about the 'wait 'till payday' response, not long before she died.  She said...I would always remember what you had asked for, but you didn't.  And the money was never really there for me to remind you...

I said...You didn't say gave me Hope instead. And perhaps, that was all I really wanted.

And now, in uncertain times when only my faith in Creator is for sure, that Old Man Fear rears his ugly face, spitting and snarling gleefully at me.

Well, once again, I intend to face him down, close the door on his gruesome Mug.

Once again, with economic hardships facing us all, I will stand and face the future using my own resources and Hope, intuitively knowing all my needs will be met.

I'm not so sure about my wants.

I guess I'll just have to wait until payday.


  1. My parents grew up in the Depression and all my life they talked about preparing for the "next Depression." As a result they lived within their means and never took on large debts. The world might be a more secure place if we had all lived as if there might be a next Depression.

  2. Anonymous7:29 p.m.

    Hello Marion,

    To separate the wants from the needs and delaying gratification, "wait till payday," seems to be the lesson we are all having to learn.

    We may all have to live as resourcefully as you did when your children were young, which might be a good thing. We have to find balance again; we have become a wasteful society.

    I enjoy reading about your experiences and the lessons you gleaned. Great writing, Thanks!

  3. Hi Marion - Reading this makes me realize how lucky I've been to have financial security in my life, though it also makes me realize how little fear has to do with reality, for this security hasn't stopped me feeling insecure! *You* have overcome fear through your own inner wisdom, a much more reliable source of power than mere outer circumstances.

    I used to think I would one day reach a plateau in life, where I would be sorted and everything would be 'all right'. I now realize that we never reach such a plateau - or if we do than it is merely a temporary respite in the climb. The truth is that it is in the nature of life that we climb, but what is really good is when we realize that climbing is just fine.

    I wish you courage as you seek to close the door on that ugly mug! I can already hear a satisfying slam...

  4. Wonderfully said, Marion. I suspect there's something character building in learning to make do with less, to focus on needs and not wants, to not consume wastefully. In that sense, the economic storm clouds currently buffeting the planet aren't as bad as the headlines might suggest. If they pull us back from a wantonly reckless precipice, then perhaps something positive can emerge on the other side.

    Also wanted to thank you for your very kind comment on my blog this week. I never know how my media work "lands". Producers and anchors don't provide feedback, so your note was very, very appreciated. Thanks so much!

  5. Marion,
    We all need to start thinking about self sufficiency and I enjoyed reading your post. Northern Cal where I live is in a drought and it looks like there will be water rationing so no big veggie gardens. I don't know what people are going to do. It's frightening.

  6. And now you enjoy the raspberry whipped cream! What a treat, I must look for that -- or find how to make some. (saw your comment at Haiku's)

    My mother used to make something called "scrambled bread" when we were low on cash. I liked it and looked forward to it; but now I realize it was just a cheap way to fix dinner for four boys and a husband. (1) Tear bread into milk and eggs and fry (kinda like french toast).(2) Make a pot of water and add a lot of sugar to create syrup of a sort. (3) Eat.
    (come and get or i will throw it out, she would say -- with a capital "i")

    Watch for spring

  7. Jan,

    I was certainly surrounded by many people who had gone through the Depression...and it made a huge impression on all of them. There were many warnings...when times are good, put money away for the times that are bad. Until I went through difficult financial times, I could not grasp that fact.


    The thing about waiting for something is that I find that particular object is not necessary for my lifestyle in many cases. The strong...Oh, I want that!...disappears. If an object stays strong in my desires, I'll look at it again. At times, wants become needs.


    "The truth is that it is in the nature of life that we climb, but what is really good is when we realize that climbing is just fine."


    A friend once said to me...What are you going to do with the opportunity or challenge which has presented itself?...

    I have a choice, always. I would prefer to err on the side of optimism and adventure, no matter how difficult the times.


    You're very welcome! You are very good on camera and very astute.

    I believe, in order for humans to evolve, the dirt underneath all the largess has to burst like an abscess. I know I must learn to rely on inner peace much more than I do on items which give delight for only a moment or two.


    Oh! Water rationing. We have only one well, in an area of little precipitation. This year, I am going to attempt to collect what run-off from rain and snow there is, because this is the year when I will be able to focus on building a new Garden.

    Xeriscaping...but, wow! do I miss Ferns. Those gorgeously lush Ferns from the Coast won't grow here unless they have lots of Water to establish. Aaaaagh!

    Vegetables may not grow as large, but you'd be surprised at how little Water some actually require for harvest.


    Hee...I remember the brown sugar and water for syrup very well, having concocted this many times.

    And oh! Your poor mother...FIVE men to feed. There would have been a lot of spaghetti (years ago, ground round and pasta were really cheap!)being fed for dinner at my house! Over and over...can you tell we had a lot of it? I usually had four or five foster kids, waiting for placement, hanging around! All boys.

    I served a lot of French toast, but I wish I had thought of your mother's recipe...I think this recipe would have used less bread. Sounds really good!

    There are myriad ways to make raspberry whipped cream. After whipping, add fresh raspberries and a small amount of juice (small!else it will curdle). Or add raspberry essence while whipping, or add some kind of raspberry flavour or liqueur...or just eat raspberries and whipped cream!

    Spring is still hiding here...we had another blizzard yesterday, which now hides what had appeared as Snow melted during balmier days.

    Days are getting longer, though!

  8. I think having parents who grew up in a Depression and remained fairly frugal all their lives has helped me to adapt now I am retired and facing our current recession.

    I know if things get extremely bad I can survive on beans or lentils served on brown rice or other whole grain cereal. Cheap but nutritious.