Privilege

I was chatting to Gill the other day about the concept of luck. I believe very firmly that we make our own “luck” and that no fates or divine interventions are involved. Over the years various folk have remarked how very lucky I am to live where I do, having the lifestyle that I have. No luck involved whatsoever. It was an orchestrated campaign – a long-term plan involving an inspiration, the buying and selling of several properties, some arbitration, a few arguments, a leap of faith, and a great deal of financial juggling and a measure of angst and deprivation. It took many years, it was the year 2000 when Mr L first asked me: “Would you like to live in Orkney?”  but we finally got here.

Now that is not to say that I do not appreciate my situation. I most certainly do, and I am a happy woman. Better than happy, I am deeply content with my lot. I struggled, as I had this interchange with Gill, to find a better word than luck to express my situation, a term that people might understand. I normally plump for “fortunate” but there is an inherent implication in that word too –  of luck and fate.

I had forgotten all about our chat until just now when I sat at my computer and, from nowhere, the word privileged popped into my head. I believe that is the right one. I am privileged and you may allow a small tinge of envy to those who would like to be here and are not but the bottom line is that I earned that privilege, and anyone can.  No divine intervention required, no visit from the Fates, no lottery win. You graft, you save, you stick to your plan, you accept a life with less concrete things in it and you learn to live on a lot less money, then you take that immensely scary leap of faith and voilà… you too can be this privileged. You too can live in 15 year old sweat pants and ancient sweaters with holes in them. Such fun 😉

One of my many privileges is the freedom to swan off to Spinning Group on a Monday afternoon, to meet and chat and spin with like-minded people. I usually take my camera but do not often take photographs. Yesterday I had time to stop and capture the view down the hill to my home by the sea. (see larger image here)

It was a dull day, cloud-covered, heavy and muggy – not as grim as the photograph makes it look after a trip through my editing suite. A few miles away, it was a glorious day. This is the price that I pay for my privilege –  the maritime climate. Everything in life, it would seem, is a trade-off. One way or another, or perhaps both. The up side to the cloud is the lovely soft filtered light that can make for some astounding photographs.

The sun seems to be back today, for a while at least. I should like to be out and about with a camera but have spent the entire morning unpacking delivered parcels (11 of them) and now it is almost time to start work on our main meal of the day.

The delivery today consisted mainly of the plastic storage boxes into which I must fit my kitchen before work continues. The floor tiles were ordered today – 65 square metres of slate. I wrote an ad yesterday, offering our old Rayburn free to a new home. The pace seems to be picking up but it isn’t really. The first task will be to fit the doors and windows and they haven’t been made yet, let alone delivered. Leave has been booked, optimistically you may think, for August, in order to do the fitting.

It feels weird, after so many years of being cash-strapped after I quit work, to be spending money so freely. Not just weird – terrifying. On the other hand, there is some fun to be had from feeling wealthier as a pensioner than at any time in the past dozen years. Not to mention the free buses. I like those. Oh, yes. That’s something that really does make me feel lucky.

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