Life Lessons: Facing the difficult realities of the times we live in


I have always placed an important emphasis on my work and have been committed to doing my best and maintaining a proper balance between my work responsibilities and my family responsibilities. Given the nature of the times we live in today we are always concerned for our financial responsibilities and I most certainly feel the pressures of meeting the demands of our mortgage and monthly costs. I am so frustrated when I hear the church officials ask us to give as often as we can and to be as generous as we can and to live debt free. I believe it is impossible to live debt free unless you are independently wealthy and for most of us that is not the case. If I did not incur debt I would never realize the dream of home ownership. I truly wish I could help the less fortunate and be as generous as I can but I have to keep my own finances in order so I can provide for my family and meet my monthly payments before I can be more generous.

The times we live in are very stressful and it seems we always have to push ourselves even when we are feeling sick and it seems we have no time to enjoy our lives anymore as we are so caught up in the pressures and demands of living with need for the basic necessities of modern day life. It seems we all need a house to live in which is a major undertaking and we need a car for both husband and wife. We also have to save for our children’s’ health and educational costs.

I realize as I get older the job market will not be as friendly and the opportunities will not be as plentiful and that is where we will have to rely on our survival skills and have to believe in our system. I will need to work the rest of my life and feel retirement will not be an option unless opportunities become less plentiful for professionals in their 50’s and 60’s. It seems to me we are forced into situations where we will have to rely strictly on ourselves and develop skills that will enable us to find self employment opportunities. When you are in your senior years that seems very difficult and very intimidating.

I know that my dad had longed for retirement when he was approaching his early 50’s and felt happy about the prospect of retiring with his wife by his side. Unfortunately for my dad that was not to be as we lost our mom way to soon. This was very sad and I realized the pain, loneliness and isolation my dad felt when he no longer could work anymore because of his physical pain he endured from working as an ironworker for almost 40 years. Despite the pain and injuries he suffered and the tragedies he witnessed he truly had an amazing career as a Local 361 union ironworker.

When he did retire it was quite an adjustment for him. He worked hard his entire life and needed to have this time and he was fortunate to have a good pension and social security. He just had to occupy himself as he would become bored on occasion. He was fortunate that he had lots of grandchildren that were a big part of his life and kept him busy for so many years.

It seems that we try to do our very best in life and we are very responsible and for most of us we work very hard and with a high level of professionalism but it seems no matter how hard we work we still have to deal with the difficult times we are presently living in. The cruel reality for most of us who have saved throughout our working years is that our life’s savings we accumulated through funding our pension has lost between 40-60 % of its value since 2001. I am so discouraged by these times and sometimes I wonder why so many people have to suffer and lose so much. To me it just seems so sad and that we have officials running this country that have no clue what we as people of this country are experiencing.

I hope that we can look forward to better times ahead and that all the suffering can be eased and all who can work and wish to work can get back to what they are meant to do and that is to work so they can provide for their families. We as a country have to be strong and we as people have to band together and seek to be strong and work hard to get back on track. We have to earn the respect we once had and we need to let Washington know that things have to change!

Edward D. Iannielli III

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