Saturday, 16 February 2013

4 days into the benefit lent challenge...fair to middling

In some ways not a lot to tell, although I am venturing out on 2 wheels (with no engine) today...  I also feel the need to say, and it won't be for the last time, that I am extremely aware that what I am doing doesn't even come near to the real thing which is reality day after day for, sadly, an increasing number of people.

I like coffee. I like nice coffee. I have, for four days at least, actually avoided  just poping into Costa or Nero, or, for tasteful Londoners, Fleet River Bakery on a whim. I have been counting though, and on Thursday, without thinking, I found myself on seven, yes seven, occasions about to stroll in and order goodies...OK, I didn't, but it was only day 2!!
Anyway, the coffee has a more serious point... Today, at breakfast, I went straight for the nice coffee, which was in the house so that's OK (but when it's gone it's gone.. . ) and then remembered we have sachets of instant, filched from hotels, - what to do?  Well, it wasn't the outcome that got me (I am drinking the nice coffee as I type this - but when it's gone.. . ) but the thought process.

The speed with which thoughts such as 'why shouldn't I?', 'I deserve some nice coffee' and so on leaped into my mind was quite startling. Now, if I really was going through the hardship of actually having to survive on benefits I absolutely know that, because the situation would not have been my own doing and I would be seriously looking for a job, I would very soon be thinking, not that I 'deserve' something, but definitely that 'I don't deserve this'!

And that would be the first step to accepting the undeclared cash in hand job, or the looking for ways in which one could 'leverage' (hate that word, but it fits the purpose) extra benefits. That is said without any judgement whatsoever simply an acknowledgement of the reality of a situation and what you would do for yourself and your family.

It may well be that people of stronger character would not follow that path whatever the circumstances, but the purpose of this challenge was to gain just a glimpse of what it is like to 'walk a mile in someone elses shoes' and, on reflection, what the experience teaches me about myself.

It looks like rain, should I go out on the bike?....or not?

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