Todays daily prompt –

My life is pretty wonderful now and that makes it hard to say what would you change about your childhood. The reason being that having life wonderful now, if I changed any part of my childhood would I be where I am now?

Growing up I went to 5 different primary schools and 1 high school. I didn’t have a lot of friends because of the moving around. We also lived away from the rest of our family, so growing up we didn’t have grand parents around like other kids did. These things had an impact, but I learned to cope with them. The two most significant things about my life that I would change or would have done differently are being bullied and spending habits.

I was the youngest of two by 11 months, and suffered a domineering brother up until my late teens. There was a time, at fifteen, when I fought back and dad had to separate us. After that dad said, “that had been coming for fifteen years!” Which looking back at now is astounding, like why didn’t you do something about it if you saw it for so long? But parents do what they do because they are learning too as we grow and trying to cope with their own lives.

My brother wasn’t the only person to make me a target, throughout my five years of high school I was verbally or physically bullied. Mainly by one or two people in particular. The problem started when I went to school in a uniform, one of only a handful who did, and I also had a Yorkshire accent, which made me a target being different. Also looking back I am different in many ways to others, I see things differently, I rarely conform to the general ways others do. I have never been a victim of peer group pressure. Maybe my brother’s domination was the only peer group pressure, forcing me to be his test pilot for his wacky ideas. Anyway I lived through it all and the character flaws I have now, or have corrected along the way, are from other things and not as a result of bullying, though one councillor did suggest that my being different and being how I am is part of the reason bullies bully me, they feel threatened by me. So I think these experiences made me a stronger person, so if I changed them or changed how I was to be less of a target, I am not sure that I would have the inner strength I have.

The other thing I would have changed is spending or saving habits. Again if I went back and changed them, I probably would have taken completely different paths in life. When I was 13 I worked as a paperboy, I made quite a bit of money because I had a lot of good customers who tipped well. I did this for three years, the first year I had to give half to my brother (he was supposed to do the household chores, but our parents found out he forced me to do them so that stopped). The rest of the money I just frittered away on magazines, books and music. Three years of earning quite a bit of money, that I didn’t need to spend. Then for the last two years of high school I worked with the night fillers in a supermarket and as a milk runner. All of which gave me lots of money, but I spent it before I got the next pay. Crazy attitude to money that has haunted me and affected my ability to look after what I earn all my life! So if I could go back and change that, maybe I would, but then I am sure my path would have been completely different had I not done it that way.

With my own kids, I would have preferred if they could spend half of the year living with us in Brunei rather than the entire time with their mother. Given I was not legally permitted to get their passports I had no option about that. I am glad their formative years had a positive impact and they are all pretty good people doing well for themselves, not sure how much of my influence helped that though.