Has it seriously been a week since I last posted?! In my quest to prepare for holidays and sell all of my unneeded things, time has slipped away from me...not good.
I read a really interesting article last week that struck a chord with me. It's title: "Income Inequality And The Oil Sands: Fort McMurray's Rich 20-Somethings Find Hard Times Hard To Understand". I'm glad that I can still call myself a "20-something" because I feel the need to add to the message that this article is giving.
I am one of the "young people living in Alberta's northern wilderness" but I can tell you that just because I was born here, does NOT mean I've never had to worry about economic uncertainty. I feel like the story here is once again painting a picture of "streets paved with gold" and it gives an unrealistic view of the opportunities our community holds. Opportunities are abound, most definitely, but that doesn't mean you should pack up your only belongings with a one-way ticket and expect to start making $150K a year.
I can also tell you that I do not find hard times hard to understand. For those of us who grew up here in the 80's, it was not always rainbows and lollipops in terms of the job market and the average family income. I remember a time growing up when Suncor was on strike, people were being laid off left, right and centre and people were desperate for work. My mom was a letter carrier for Canada Post and my dad drove a taxi just to make ends meet. When money seems like it's falling from the sky, people are quick to forget that with every boom, there could be a bust...especially if they don't plan well.
I believe that having these "hard times" have benefitted me in many ways and I think it's important that we don't downplay the uncertainty that any person faces when it comes to the economy and our general financial health. I've done a lot of soul searching in these last few weeks as I strive to let go of so many of the material things that this "it could never happen to me" mentality has provided and I must say that I'm sometimes disgusted with just how much needless stuff has accumulated.
I've been able to sell nearly everything I no longer need on various "Fort McMurray Buy & Sell" pages on Facebook or the fail-proof Kijiji...within record time, too! I'm not going to lie, there's nothing like making some extra cash and freeing space at the same time but I can't help but wonder what all the other people in this town are going to do with that stuff? Who really needs their own chocolate fountain? Who really needs four digital cable boxes? Not I. Interestingly enough, I came across a post the other day in one of those Facebook pages and I offered my blog as an "outreach" to those who are going through the same thing I am. You can see by the question posed that I am definitely not the only one concerned about the increasing amount of stuff that was beginning to take over my life.
My only hope is that others will see the light and spend their hard-earned money and TIME on valuable things. "Things" they can truly be thankful for...like an ice-cream date with their four year old, a day of swimming at the waterpark or a grocery trip that ends with items being dropped off at the Food Bank instead of the depths of a pantry's uninhabited corners.
Up Next: Rex Murphy's Coming to Town!