Used is a terrible thing.

When I was young and ugly my mother would often remind me and my siblings of an old adage her mother used to say – “used is a terrible thing”. Not used, as in second-hand, we couldn’t say that was a terrible thing because we were surrounded by second-hand everything and hand-me-downs was a way of being, without which we would have spent the early part of our lives with naked arses parked on bare floors. The ‘used’ my mother was referring to was the idea of getting used to something which ordinarily you wouldn’t touch with a proverbial barge pole, such as being in situations your inner snob might consider to be mediocre but your circumstances mean you can do nothing about it.

You might live in a town riddled with snarling dogs and fathers, but you have no choice but to get used to it. At school, there are more pupils carrying knives than books, but you ignore it because you are used to it. The words protein and nourishment might be alien to the food you eat, but rather than have your belly think your throat has been cut, you eat what you were given, because you are used to it.

We all want something better, either for ourselves or for someone close to us, or both. For most people, the opportunity to grasp that something will either never arise or will be missed or squandered when it does. Said squandering often being because we all fear changing what we are used to.

My mother’s remark has always been at the back of my mind, but very recently it has crept its way to the fore and I find myself wondering just how many of the things I do now are purely because I’ve gotten used to them.

Six months ago, the age of government sponsored retirement came to my door, although I denied it entry, mainly because I couldn’t afford to, I still can’t. As luck would have it, last month the retirement reaper forced himself in declaring that my services as a self-employed contractor were no longer required on a full-time basis, just the odd day here and there. Consequently, I find myself with a lot of spare time, which I genuinely do not know how to fill, but that’s another story.

The desire to rewrite my CV and send off pointless application forms for jobs I have no chance of getting has long since passed. Instead, I responded to one of the many letters the DWP sent to me and accepted their offer of a State pension. Although I initially suffered sizeable pangs of guilt as I watched my neighbours trotting off to work while I was still in my undies, but that guilt is starting to subside, so I suppose I must be getting used to it.

I used to get out of bed between 4:30 and 6am, depending on where I had to be that day. Yesterday I slept until 7am. I think I could get used to that.

When working, I rarely ate anything during the day, but would have a substantial meal around 7pm. Now I eat three or four times a day and my gut is literally telling me I shouldn’t allow myself to get used to that.

I had never lived in a detached property before, and as I was earning a decent living I decided to treat myself to a 2-bed bungalow on a nice street. The move also helped to reduce the number of miles I was driving every day, but that would appear to no longer be an issue. Being what it is, the rent is quite expensive, and although my piggy bank will subsidise my pension for a short while, if I don’t move soon it will rapidly end up as scratchings. So, come Monday morning I will be viewing a couple of small, one-bed flats of the affordable housing kind. I am not looking forward to even viewing them, let alone living there, but I guess, you know, I’ll get used to it.

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