This is a difficult thing for me to write about but rather like all the elephants in the room, it does need to be addressed. If I can leave one thing, one thought, that will make just one person sit up and listen and make change then my time here was not a complete waste.
My whole working life has been about chasing recognition, acceptance, reward, and of course money to ensure that I am surrounded by all the material elements that feign security and admiration. Working hour after hour and pushing myself to the limit each and every day just to please the ‘CUSTOMER’ and to make sure that they can push me as hard as they like in order to squeeze my profit margins, arseholes!!!!!
The big house, the fast car, the expense account, the holidays, designer clothes, hand made suits, restaurants, all a pile of shit in the end and means nothing at all really. I can remember when my accountant said that I should now register my business as an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) in order to protect my position on my own board. That kind of felt like recognition and it felt good. More recently I was awarded my second LLP (Limited Life Prognosis) from a very stern medical consultant and that did not feel good at all, though it was recognition of the hard work I had been doing so I guess it was just another award particularly as it is a result of industrial injury from work that I had been doing back in the 1970’s can you believe.
When I lost my business back in 2015 I thought my world had ended. I found nothing but closed doors that would not open how ever hard I knocked on them. The very people that once had been pleased to be seen in my company and paid for on my expense account, were suddenly and seemingly afraid to speak to me. Maybe they thought they would be infected with what I had, I don’t know. The problem is that we are all so scared because we feel the need to keep going, to keep earning, to keep paying tax and the only pinch we give ourselves each morning is the one when we arrive at our desk or at our first meeting of the day because in our stupid little hamster wheel world that is affirmation of our existence.
Well it’s all BOLLOCKS !! and if you are easily offended, I couldn’t give a shit, snowflake !! The last three years of my life have been my lowest, I have suffered ill health, that included a heart attack and a triple bypass, depression, a nervous breakdown among other things and now this bloody diagnosis that is going to end my life rather sooner than I had wished. I am processing it right now and trying my best to deal with shouting at God and asking ‘Why me, what did I do?’
What lessons can I pass on from all of this, well the first thing in life that remains a constant source of love and encouragement, how ever much you might have neglected them whilst crawling up the corporate ladder, is family. My family have been amazing and I only wish now I had spent more time with them than with the ARSEHOLES that I bribed to spend more money with me. My partner and my closest friends have been my rocks and I know that I can depend on this mix of people to support me through my darkest days.
Look, don’t get me wrong, I had some fun working in a fast paced industry, drinking wine, eating great food and doing the deal. I met some good people and I had some laughs but I could have done more of that with my family. I recently discovered real pleasure from spending time having a beer with my older brother sitting in the local and putting the world to rights and now, I am leaning on him for the inevitable practical support that I will need.
I am on the verge of having my house repossessed, my car will have to go and of course I have just started to see what benefits I can enjoy from the forty years of higher rate tax that I paid along with my National Insurance contributions. I made my first call to these pen pushing morons last week only to be advised that I should consider selling some of my possessions and taking in lodgers. So whilst you build your empire, earn your high salary and keep on throwing caution to the wind, maybe you should stash some cash because believe me you are going to need it some day and that day could come sooner than you think.
I only discovered last week that my life limiting condition was caused by working with certain industrial elements back in the mid 1970’s and although it had been dormant and might well have remained so for many years to come, it was activated by infections caught following open heart surgery, you could not make this shit up could you. “Mr James, we have now given you the heart of an 18 year old, however, your lungs are now fucked up”
I have cried myself to sleep a few times over the last few days, hardly surprising really, I only found out a couple of weeks ago and of course this is fast paced and affecting me more each day. I am dealing with the fear and the decisions that only I can make in the coming weeks or months, amazing that during my deepest depression I considered suicide and all that I want now is the chance to wake up from this nightmare and to live. So what can I leave with you, well, life is like a deck of cards, when one falls it seems the rest follow very quickly. Remember to secure your position now, prepare yourselves for the trickery of government and the failing National Health Service. Talk to your family and friends and make them aware of your wishes but more important than that, re-evaluate your life right now, spend time with people that you love and those that love you. Look at what you have, do you really need another display cabinet to show off your trophies, our trophies should be memories not pretty things to look at.
When I went from earning around £12,000 per month down to drawing on a small savings account of around £1,000 per month, I did not starve, I still had wine, I still had the people that really count with me, I still had a roof over my head and I laughed, don’t get so caught up in the drudgery of targets, self improvement for business or simply chasing the next invoice, believe me there is so much more to life than that.
I look at the people around me now and the happiest ones are those that have alleviated themselves of pressure and are simply enjoying the art of breathing, something that I now do with some difficulty. One other piece of advice, everything comes back to bite you in the bum at some point. I have seen people on awful looking oxygen machines, people that are suffering from the effects of smoking for example and yet they gave up 20 or 30 years ago, lesson learned, don’t start smoking. Do not turn yourselves into raging health fanatics but do take care because we are what we consume.
I will continue to pop up from time to time when I can in order to leave you with snippets and smiles. For now, please do understand that life really is too short, it is something to be valued and enjoyed. If you are doing something right now that you are not enjoying , then stop, the world will still keep turning and little will change other than your happiness and contentment. Do something now before it’s too late and make the changes that you have already been thinking and dreaming about. Stop wasting any more time.
Finally, if I do knock on your door in the coming weeks, I am not looking for a job, a handout, a loan, an opportunity, I might just be looking for a chat, a laugh, a moment to talk about possibilities so leave the latch off OK. I would also like to say a big ‘I COULD NO LONGER CARE IF I OFFEND ANYONE’ to one and all, you see, I really don’t care, if you don’t like me or what I have to say because, you can’t get me anymore, God has already done that.