2021 goodbye to a dark and sad year with one bright exception

2021 was hardly started before the first disaster struck. One of my children needed medical help and in the process I got a parking fine which made a huge negative economical impact on our economy. Parking fines in Denmark is not a slap of 50 euros. No. Some years ago the parliament allowed people to complain and because the parking firms then risked losing most of the cases, the parliament allowed them to increase the fines. 106 euro it became. There has not been a week where we as family has not addressed this loss. Like many Danes I pay half my income in taxes and a train ticket to work is 8 euros each way which makes it difficult to make it a profit to work unless you cut down on unnecessary costs like good of new dates and dentist. We always look in the “Too good to go” department in the supermarkets, so we can avoid going to bed hungry.

2021 was really the year where I realized that I have made poor choices when I was young. After the gymnasium I got a position in a shop and spent the days working for 8 hours, using 2 hours in transport and the went to school one or two times per week in the evening. The result was the title Merconom but it was so much waste of my time because positions today in the field where I work requires a bachelor degree.

The problem back then was that the student counselors recommended getting a trade – not leaving your town in the countryside of Denmark and move to Copenhagen in order to attend a university. That was only something children of rich people did and I was born into a family in the middle class. Back then University was something for the city-people alone, not something for us living outside the 4 big cities.

I pay the price for that today. As many Danes aged above 50 everything is a question to be allowed to serve in our jobs until retirement. We want to avoid getting caught up in the job training mill where a case worker and an employer decide where you can work for your unemployment benefit not earning the right to vacation and other things which normally is a part of a normal paid job. It is a question of keeping your head down and let the young sales people and those with the university degrees run the show.

The parking ticket was only a start. Illness, homelessness combined illness at one of the children with brought us together living 4 people for one persons income together with a bit of aid from time to time. Late in the year a place in group home was granted for my child. Not a permanent place but it bring in more money. We had to second mortgage our house so we now owe the bank more than we bought it for more than 20 years ago. Strangely enough the rent is lower and we can sell the house for more than we borrowed from the bank but the clock is ticking. We need to move within the next 10 years and find a place in there to spent the few years left in our lives.

One of our cats was hit with severe illness. That was 2.400 euros.

There was problems with electricity and plumbing. The house we live in was built in 1968. We only later learning that the company which built the house went bankrupt and as result solutions in the house was made of poor quality. The house is old and tired. I am old and tired. We must depart so younger residents with the strength of youths and hopefully people around them with craftsmanship skills can take over. A new roof is needed within the next 10 years. That is the reason we have to leave as the Covid-19 pandemic has made such a work impossible to do due to lack of materials and manpower in the businesses which could do it.

On the top of it there was the pandemic with its lockdowns. It has not been a fun year for many people who was sent home. The schools only taught using online services and lessons were not taught as they should. One of my children left the university last year and while we had success of seeing the second of my children to become student which was the single joy we had this year. On the top of it was the first child who actually was able to celebrate it.

My oldest child was sick and as result prevented from celebrating with the other students. When I was young I did not attend the graduation party either for reason stated below so I did not consider it a loss.

Back in 1986 I had two reasons not to attend the graduation party. First of most I was working. The entire income of our family was based on working together running a gas station. Helping with providing for the family was more important for me that a day of celebration. I had passed my exam. It was reward enough in itself. It was not like the entire family would have joined in the celebration anyway. They were at work too.

But there was also another story to it. During my time in the gymnasium I was a senior member of the student council. Normally the chairman of the student council would be the valedictorian but at the time there were a conflict between the members of the student council. The student body of the school consisted of students from villages around the city I lived in and students from the town. The village fraction wanted to insult the town fraction by luring a student with working class background to do the valedictorian speech where the chairman was from the old more wealthy class if this person was from the city fraction. They targeted me. I would not disrupt the fine order in the city. There is a danish thing like the law of Jante which maintain the order in Denmark. So by staying away I foiled their plan and the order in the town was maintained.

Did I feel like I missed something out. No. Because the reward of serving ones family and preserve the order in the society was more important.

Back to the present year, I can say from the whole of my heart that I now am the proud father of two students. The pandemic during the summer was not severe so we even was allowed to host a party for the entire class. Never before and never in the future will I experience 40 people party all night in this house. It was the one bright part of the year.

Later we experience a setback just before Christmas. One of my children needed to pass an exam in order to be admitted to the University. The gymnasium was a small one where some courses were not offered in combinations with others. The exam which took place in December turned out to be a stop-exam. In Denmark we have some parts of the education where there seems to be political control of how many who can graduate based on the need of the firms in the business. In the old days audit firms sometime made the exam so difficult so there was a zero graduation rate. After all it was their future competitors they using this method prevented from being competitors. We do not know the result but it is too exciting. If the exam is not passed, 6 additional months is needed before an application to university can be sent.

Also the child was called to a job interview which went well. An invitation to a second interview was received but then it was announced that the manager who had made the first interview was fired and then of course the second interview did not went that good and the job opportunity was lost.

The prime minister used her speech to open for the possibility to invite more people to Denmark to pressure the salaries a bit down so now will a job not only be difficult to find for my child but the payment will be less.

No 2021 was a difficult year for us. Now where I write this entry I got to think about the parking fine and I became in a bad mood as result.

Anyhow. You might had seen a better version of 2021 than the one we got so I will wish you all a happy new year. We for sure could use a better year.

Happy New Year!

Tomorrow is V-day

Tomorrow at this time, my life might be destined for an end or my life will go on. I do not know. Tomorrow I will take the first shot of the vaccine against Covid-19.

Why has it taken so long for me to decide?

First of all, I am at the end of my life if I look at past male ancestors.

My father died aged 63. My great-grandfather died at the age of 48. Heart inflammation which over time weakened the entire system for it to shut down in the end.

There is not much left for me. I hope to spend the last few years doing the work I do now for Talentsoft in any capacity. I hope to live long enough to see my two children making their way in life. I hope for some quiet evenings relaxing together with my wife outside our home waiting for the inevitable but recent years have proven to me that nothing is certain.

Back in 2012 my education as Merkonom which at some sites is translated into english as bachelor of commerce was abolished by the Danish government. I, who back in 1986 decided to support my local community and not abandon my birthplace in the countryside, only had the option to study for Merkonom after I graduated from the Gymnasium. Should I have aimed at higher goals, I should have left my family and friends in Naestved and left for Copenhagen to live in tents like most new students do while they either find a room with some private person or are able to pay a bribe to enter some of the housing firms up there.

I had no knowledge about which kind of student grants I could get as a student. All the counselors at the school had spoken about finding a training position in a firm to learn a kind of trade and then study for the Merkonom title after work. So for a number of years, I worked daytime in Taastrup commuting for an hour and then returned to Naestved eating my dinner on the train and spent hours at the school in the evening.studying. It was not a lot of spare time I had but back then I only had like 30 m2 to live on. A single room where the kitchen was on one of the walls and small hallway with access to my private toilet. I prevailed and earned two titles in both accounting and IT.

It formed my career and it basically lasted until 2014 where my previous workplace Formula which was one of the largest printing companies shut down. Now I found myself without any merits as the Merkonom title no longer existed and the skills I had authorized with Microsoft Dynamic Business solutions XAL and C5 also on their way out as the systems used for ERP in Denmark.

I had to shift focus and I switched to the HR area where I took an entry position as customer care representative working for Talentsoft. Years later I transitioned into becoming a technical consultant. But it was back to scratch living off the leftovers from supermarkets as the globalized work means that an amount equal to unemployment benefits are seen as a good salary in other countries due to differences in living costs and tax-systems.

Then in 2016 my life took an even worse turn towards the worse. A van did not respect the signs and took an illegal turn hitting me while I was commuting 30 kilometers to my work (Public transport was too pricey for me, also taking my car to work had become out of reach for a person serving in my position.). I was wearing a helmet and it saved my life.

While I recovered from the short-term consequences of the accident, the long-term consequences haunt me today. My teeth in the left side of my mouth died from the inside. The Dentist School in Copenhagen did their best but then the Covid-19 pandemic came making visits to the school difficult. It hurts on some days, but I have learned to live with the pain without using medication.

I now sleep using a ventilator. It seems that the accident somehow damaged my throat area. Sadly it is a Philips ventilator which over time can cause cancer. Philips has recalled the ventilators but the doctors at the hospital do not have the money to replace the more than 30,000 ventilators being used all over Denmark, so I have to continue using an apparatus which potentially can damage my health. This fate I share with the other users of the same branch of ventilators.

If you are not from Denmark, you will wonder why a seemingly rich country like Denmark does not have the money. I do not know much about politics, but I do know that Denmark no longer has the money to treat all kinds of illnesses. Some say that it is caused by our increasing funding of the European Union after England’s Brexit. I do not know. I know that I am alive today and so far (I cross my fingers) I have no cancer as far as I know. I am lucky. Denmark cannot afford to buy Spinraza which children suffering from a specific illness need. Unlike me who just lingers along, they suffer real loss of quality of life.

So that is my life today. Partly restricted due to my own poor choices in the past, the development of our society which digitized our society making printed items obsolete, the globalization which means a low salary, the traffic accident where I am partly an invalid. So I had to think hard if I wanted to take the risk of taking a vaccine which had the potential to create heart inflammation which was the very cause of demise of many in my family.

I decided to take the vaccine despite this risk. So that is the reason tomorrow is V-day for me. A day marking the end for me or the day which allows me some movement in the last few years of my life in a world becoming more hostile towards unvaccinated people.

Today I will rest and build myself up for tomorrow. If things do not turn out good for me, at least I can look back to a hell of a ride. I wish you all a pleasant Sunday!